Anne Hathaway teams with Timecrimes director Nacho Vigalondo for a mind-controlled-monster movie. Red Alert gets the scoop
Making a Monster Movie was a dream come true for nacho vigalondo
“i can’t avoid the fear that i’ll stop making movies at some point,” spanish director vigalondo confides to red alert when we meet at the toronto international film festival. “so somehow, any time i get to make a movie, i try to fulfil a dream, in case i stop making films.” the latest tick on his bucket list is a giant kaiju movie, albeit with a twist. Colossal, which premiered at tiff, sees recovering alcoholic gloria (anne hathaway) discovering that she has a bizarre, psychic connection with the monster that’s suddenly started appearing in seoul.
it was weirdly easy to Make
“honestly, i feel like making movies is never easy,” says vigalondo. “in this case, it’s been kind of easy.” Production company voltage Pictures boosted the budget after seeing an early cut so that more could be made of the korean sequences, and having a star like hathaway on board helped. the Dark Knight Rises actress was convinced after checking out his early work. “i realised he could pull off all these ambitious and crazy ideas that were [in the script],” she says. co-star Jason sudeikis, who plays gloria’s bar-owner friend, adds, “i watched a collection of [his short films]. after the first three i was like, ‘oh, this guy can do it.’”
vigalondo loves to twist genres
Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial… vigalondo likes to subvert sci-fi tropes in his work, and Colossal is no different. it plays like a small-budget mumblecore movie crossed with Pacific Rim, and the fact that the us characters continue with their lives while disaster rages on in seoul adds a bizarre realism. “from a childish point of view, [flipping the genre] makes me alive for the process,” says vigalondo. “But when i make a movie that changes the tropes or uses the tropes in a twisted way, i know some people will not enjoy it.”
his direction is… odd
Perhaps unsurprising, given his bonkers back catalogue, but vigalondo gives some bizarre on-set notes to his actors. “it’s kind of synaesthetic in that he’s abstract,” says hathaway. “he’ll come up to you and be like, ‘i really saw the colour blue when i wrote this scene.’ i’ll walk away and be like, ‘oh...’” sudeikis agrees. “he’s that 12-year-old you see in the playground and go, ‘what’s he doing?’ you’re really curious about him.” he has a unique way to destress too. “nacho would just pull out comic books,” adds hathaway. “that was his way of handling it and staying calm.” “or playing iPad games,” butts in sudeikis, “he’s a big gamer.”
the filM is oPen to interPretation
the premise might be bizarre, but Colossal resonates deeply under the surface. Many critics who saw the film in toronto praised the underlying feminist connotations, as the men in gloria’s life project their ideals on her. “when we were making it, i thought it was a movie about addiction,” admits hathaway, “but i missed all that.” vigalondo describes himself as a “feminist ally” but doesn’t want to label the film. “i just want it to live by itself,” he says. “i want the movie to be its own statement. i don’t want to politicise the audience.”
Colossal played at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and is expected to open next year.