The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Each applicant is told: “You are being considered for the amazing opportunity of life.” 

It isn’t some infomercial pitch, though it is literally the opportunity of a lifetime. The applicants are souls, existing in a kind of ethereal waiting-room, a limbo outside the fishbowl of our reality. They are auditioning for the amazing opportunity to be born. 

The person telling them this is the protagonist of Nine Days: Will, played by Winston Duke in a sharp departure from his most famous role as a Wakandan warlord in Black Panther. Will is a kind of divine bureaucrat, an admissions officer to the school of life. His job—“duty” or “fate” are probably better words—is to interview souls to determine which ones should make the cut. There are a lot more souls seeking admission to life than there are spots available. If a soul gets picked, he or she will show up on Earth as a baby. “No memories,” Will tells each of them. “But you’ll still be you.”

Will is just one of presumably countless “interviewers” each assigned a dozen or so souls to select and then monitor, on old-fashioned TV sets, until they die. He records their lives on VHS tapes he stores in filing cabinets, presumably for eternity. When their lives end, the TV screen suddenly switches to one of those old test patterns until a new selection can be made.

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