Interview med Drew Goddard – manden bag ‘Bad Times at The El Royale’

INTERVIEW: Thrilleren ‘Bad Times at The El Royale’ udkommer nu på både dvd, Blu-ray og 4K her i landet den 14. marts. I den forbindelse bringer vi et interview med filmens instruktør, Drew Goddard.

Why choose to set this film in a location that straddles two places?

It all came out from writing. The movie started with characters, I knew I wanted a hotel but I didn’t have this idea that it would be a bi-state hotel until I started getting into the script. At the beginning the core idea was to show 7 people, from very different backgrounds, arriving to one hotel and probably trying to kill each other. The hotel happened organically. When I was thinking how I wanted to design the film and what were the emotions of the characters, there the theme of duality kept coming up, and very organically arrived the idea of the hotel reflecting that duality.

How important is the era in which this film is set?

I very much wanted to set this film in 1969 for a reason. The 60s were very much a time for turmoil and in rapid success, in just a five year period, Martin Luther King, John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. Then Nixon signed in. So this movie takes place at the dawn of the Nixon years because I wanted to show the time when the great darkness started to descend after a time of great hope. I wanted to deal with that specific place and time.

We know that there was a certain mood in the 60s in California, but what was the mood in Nevada?

In a weird way those states were the opposite of what they are right now. Nevada in the 60s was very much about hope and opportunity: the idea that you can roll the dices and change your life. There was a swingin vibe, it was the era of the Rat Pack and Frank Sinatra. Whereas California was different. California was a darker place. You had the cults like the Charles Manson’s one coming out in the 60s, you had politicians like Richard Nixon coming out from California. There was a golden seduction of California that is very different from the California of today.

What do you feel audiences at home will take away from this film?

The film is designed to warrant close details. The thing I like when I watch a movie at home is that I can really study the movie, you can really get into the details and the meanings and the nuances by watching the movie in the intimacy of your home. I’m not a purist I love both the theatre and the home experience and I hope the movie does play well in both.

You directed Chris Hemsworth in his first non-heroic role. What was it about him that made him perfect for this role?

That’s good to hear. Yes, I hope that’s true! I’ve known Chris now for like a decade, when we worked on ‘Cabin In The Woods’ it was before he got the role on ‘Thor’, so I’ve seen him evolve as a performer and I know how talented he is and how much range he has. He doesn’t get the chance to do that all the time. Because he’s so busy saving the world you know…

What was the process of creating that long scene of Jon Hamm discovering the secret passage and looking at every guest behind glass? What steps did you take and what were the challenges of that shot?

That shot was the most complicated shot I’ve ever tackled in my career. It took us 8 months of planning, because we had to build the entire set around the shot. Everything that you see happening in that shot is in the set.. You even see outdoors, you see into the parking lot, so we had to build all that as well. We did not use visual effects for all the things you’re seeing, the only visual effects is the wall behind Jon Hamm because that’s where the camera track goes. And we had to hide it. Other than that we’re just doing everything for real, because we wanted the audience to feel that they’re in that moment with Jon Hamm, experiencing the movie.  

With every twist and turn of the film, viewers learn more and more about each character. What was your process in creating characters with such depth and history?

All the story starts from the Jeff Bridges’ priest. He was the first character I thought of, there was something about the idea of a priest who is lying that was sitting right with the drama for me. And so he was the first piece to fall into place, the second was the singer. The movie is much about the two of them: the false spirituality of the priest and the false spirituality of the artist.

‘Bad Times at The El Royale’ udkommer på dvd, Blu-ray og 4K d. 14/3.