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People are still having trouble believing that Anne Hathaway — noted lover of rom-coms, show tunes (she won an Oscar for Les Misérables) and Kate Middleton — made a monster movie.
“I’ve gotten a lot of questions today, people being like, ‘Oh, this is a departure for you,’” Hathaway told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday night at the New York premiere of Colossal, wearing a black gown outfitted with a crinoline panel that — from certain angles — obscured the bottom half of her face. “I sort of feel like [it’s] a coming home. I think I’m probably a lot weirder on the inside than I’ve let out, so maybe this is the beginning of the freak flag flying.”
In the Nacho Vigalondo-written/directed/executive produced film, Hathaway plays Gloria, an under-employed, alcoholic writer booted from her boyfriend’s (Dan Stevens) New York apartment after a night astray. She repairs to her hometown, picking up part-time work at a bar owned by her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). But her life-reassembling efforts are soon upended with a discovery: If she happens to be in a local park at 8:05 a.m., a many-storied creature with skin like a slimy tree trunk materializes on the streets of Seoul. After studying international news reports, she confides in Oscar, who becomes exploitative, jealous and abusive when he realizes he possesses his own South Korean avatar, which resembles a one-eyed Transformer. “Nobody expects what Jason Sudeikis does here,” said Vigalondo, who shot the project over 30 days in fall 2015, once a lawsuit brought by Godzilla copyright holder Toho was settled.
At the time, Hathaway, also one of Colossal’s executive producers, was pregnant with her now-1-year-old son. “I liked that [Gloria] was selfish and caring at the same time, self-absorbed but also totally accessible,” she told reporters.
Despite her character’s zany sci-fi circumstances, “I think she’s like a lot of us. You know, nobody has it together all the time.”
As Vigalondo told THR, “Part of the movie is seriously stuff [that] comes from real life, and the other part is just beautiful monster movie madness,” an homage to the films he loved while growing up in Spain. “This is as smart and emotionally impactful a monster movie as you will see,” said Tim Blake Nelson, who co-stars as Oscar’s drinking buddy, Garth, and attended the premiere with his son, Eli, age 12. “[Vigalondo] has the professionalism of an auteur filmmaker and the imagination of a 12-year-old. And it’s a great combination.”
With its April 7 release, Colossal is the first film from Neon, a distributor established this year by Tom Quinn, the former president and co-founder of The Weinstein Co. subset RADiUS, and Tim League, who owns the Alamo Drafthouse cinema chain. Before the screening — which was presented by Fiji Water and sponsored by Legion M — Quinn reveled in a decade’s worth of kismet: In 2007, he distributed Vigalondo’s first feature film, Timecrimes, after attending its premiere at Fantastic Fest, the Austin, Texas, film festival co-founded by League.
“It’s been a wild ride through these years,” Vigalondo told the audience. “I had the suspicions of this being this elaborate kind of Candid Camera joke that focused on me as the victim. … The movie exists, the cast is real, this is actually happening. I’m really frightened but really excited.”
He then introduced the cast, and Hathaway — who’d changed into a red polka-dot dress after riding AMC Lincoln Square’s escalator upstairs from the red carpet — took the microphone to praise his “freedom of imagination.”
“You are who you are, and you’re so creative, but to those of us who are still trying to find our way in that arena, it means the world to have people like you to guide us, so thank you.”
Two hours later, guests including filmmaker Tony Gilroy and actor Dylan Baker waded through three rain-slicked Manhattan blocks to Lincoln Ristorante, where serving stations were kept stocked with Tuscan fried chicken, skirt steak and more Italian fare.
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Melvin Van Peebles