Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis star in the upcoming genre-bending film “Colossal,” the brainchild of Spanish writer and director Nacho Vigalondo. The film finds Gloria (Hathaway), a young woman with a drinking problem, hitting rock bottom as her boyfriend kicks her out and she returns to her hometown. Bumping into her childhood chum Oscar (Sudeikis), their friendship is renewed, but the deep, dark secrets ever so slowly are revealed as, coincidentally, a monster is wreaking havoc in Seoul, Korea. The ingeniously creative film is a new spin on good, old-fashioned monster films integrating psychology and horror into one amazingly entertaining movie.
I had a chance to talk with Sudeikis and Hathaway at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and Vigalondo just recently about creating this monstrously fun yet meaningful movie.
The origins stem from Vigalondo’s love of the science-fiction author Phillip K. Dick. While the concept of the film began as a note on a scrap of paper put into a drawer for a later date, Vigalondo certainly sees the similarities in the completed “Colossal” with Dick’s books. With larger than life backgrounds, the characters, initially seeming rather ordinary, become extraordinary.
Hathaway and Vigalondo each shared with me how she become connected with the script and while they both eventually had the same story of her agent finding him, it is Vigalondo’s fanciful recollection that was quite humorous. “I would love to tell you an amazing story right now,” he said. “Like I decided to go to her place and bring drinks and my guitar. And I sang a song in front of her porch and she fell in love with me,” he laughed out loud.” He confided with a bit of remorse, “If I was the kind of person I would want to be, that story would be real.”
Being able to create this film, according to Hathaway, couldn’t have been done in her early career. She said, “I felt ready to take on that responsibility. I was ready to stand up and say this is my sense of humor. This is what I believe in. This is a filmmaker I’m backing [and] this is a script I think should be made.” Regarding women taking on more lead roles and being more proactive in the film industry, Hathaway said, “So much of it’s on the audience. If you want to see more women in movies, support movies that have women in them. I try to do my part by getting them made and hopefully making them fun to watch.”
In the beginning, “Colossal” appears to be the fun, light-hearted, predictably sweet reconnection between Sudeikis and Hathaway’s characters. Not the case. In fact, it’s quite
the opposite. While the film is at all times entertaining, there are actual fight scenes between the two actors, who reportedly are very good friends off-screen. Vigalondo recalls rehearsing these scenes, “…to shoot it so that nobody is going to be hurt.” Sudeikis had reassuring words, “There’s a lot of movie magic…No Hathaways were harmed during the filming of this project.” Thankfully, as she was in her second trimester of pregnancy during the shooting of “Colossal.”
Sudeikis is not his typical, funny, sweet self in “Colossal.” He’s dark—like we’ve never seen him before. Vigalondo said, “It’s really exciting when you are giving a talented actor the first villain of his career. He’s not the kind of…villain that everybody wants to play in a movie. He just acted like a real asshole that’s really scary [and gets] darker and darker.” Sudeikis said, “I guess he (Vigalondo) saw this guy in me!” He laughed that he wasn’t sure if it was a compliment or not.
Both Hathaway and Sudeikis described Vigalondo in rather unusual but very positive ways as they recalled the director took dressing up for Halloween during filming to all-time new level (picture a cat suit with ears), however, the seriousness of one of the film’s topics was addressed…abuse. Hathaway said, “Nacho’s purpose for making this movie was showing how unnecessary toxic macho energy is.” She continued to explain this idea, “…where it’s gone too far [and there’s a] toxic pattern of abuse and remorse. I think we need to examine that as individuals, as a society, and we should not be afraid of doing better.” Vigalondo said, “The movie deals with some very delicate [and] deep issues…violence in relationships” and he wanted to be sure to be respectful of these issues.
While the film deals with some deeper and very meaningful issues, there’s a lot of laughter, suspense, and fun in the film as well. “Colossal” transports you to an impossible situation and you willingly suspend belief as the characters and the story take you on a most entertaining trip that you won’t soon forget. Vigalondo wanted to share one last thought with potential viewers. “To people who haven’t seen the film, don’t worry. Even though you’ve read a lot of spoilers, the movie still has a lot of surprises for you.”