Giant Monsters Mag Sneak Peek: An Interview With COLOSSAL Director Nacho Vigalondo

The filmmaker on Anne Hathaway, abusive men and innocence through art.

This week, we're giving you a little hint of the juicy editorial you can get in our new Giant Monsters issue of Birth.Movies.Death. magazine. In this new larger-than-life issue, we go BIG - we talk all sorts of kaijus and mechs, in honor of Colossal and Kong: Skull Island. You'll read about 50-ft Women, kaiju of both American and UK stripes, King Ghidorah, Godzilla and much, much more - as well as, of course, tons of info on both King Kong and the kaiju of Colossal, including incredible interviews with Kong and Colossal directors Jordan Vogt-Roberts and Nacho Vigalondo. 

Get your copy of the magazine HERE

Get tickets to Colossal HERE

Today's sneak peek is courtesy of Jacob Q. Knight, who interviewed Colossal director and Fantastic Fest forever family Nacho Vigalondo. 

Nacho Vigalondo is a Spanish filmmaker who used to make small genre movies filled with BIG humanist ideas. Now, he's that same down-to-earth dreamer who's finally been given a budget, and COLOSSAL is the result. It's best to not know too much before sitting down with Vigolondo's latest experiment. Just understand that alcoholic, down and out blogger, Gloria (Anne Hathaway), and her small town bar-owning buddy, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), have a really bad week after realizing there's two kaiju stomping through Seoul, Korea. To make matters worse, these drunks may be in control of the rampaging beasts halfway around the globe, and now have to come to terms with what that immense power they've been gifted means. COLOSSAL is an incredibly smart, funny marriage of old school GODZILLA-esque destruction and painful, empathetic soul searching. It's stupendous.

We had the privilege to speak with Nacho about his new movie, and what followed was an insightful, warm conversation about Anne Hathaway, abusive men and how the writer/director strives to remain "innocent" through his art...

Q:  Even though COLOSSAL is a larger movie, in terms of budget and scale, than anything you’ve done before, it still very much feels like a “Nacho Vigalondo Film.” What do you think is the unifying element that ties all your pictures together?

A: Every time I start working on a movie, I promise myself that I’m going to maintain a certain level of innocence while making it. Ultimately, I’m just this guy from a little town in Spain creating a film. So I don’t want to ever approach it like a corporation when I make anything. I’m just trying to do something new and excite myself while attempting it.

So, when I wrote [COLOSSAL], I approached it the same way. To be honest, I never expected it to become this larger film. Initially, it was supposed to be a smaller movie, set in Spain, like my second feature, EXTRATERRESTRIAL. It was supposed to be a really modestly made movie. But that all changed when Anne Hathaway kind of appeared out of the blue and decided she wanted to do it. Then she invited all of these other great actors to come along, and COLOSSAL became something totally different from what I initially envisioned. Basically, what I’m trying to say is: if you like the film, you owe a huge thanks to Anne Hathaway. But the spirit of what I was trying to do with the project remained the same.  I am eternally grateful for that. 

Q: Did you always want to make a kaiju movie? Or was it the organic result of crafting this story about alcoholics? Essentially, which came first, and how did the two end up married together?

A: I have a drawer in my house filled with stupid ideas that I want to become movies. But in order for those stupid ideas to become movies, I have to discover an emotional core, some meaning – something that triggers me as a director to want to express the ideas in an original way. Being “original” can be dangerous, because [originality] is not going to always survive. Originality has to have something else attached to it in order for the movie to deliver meaning for audience members.

I had an idea some time ago about inserting a human dilemma inside of a kaiju film. Because I really love old school kaiju movies, but oftentimes the human storylines and the monster storylines don’t have a whole lot to do with one another, you know? The climaxes of those movies boil down to two monsters doing battle, and the humans are just kind of around, watching; waiting for the battle to end so they can clap. They’re insignificant to the thematic core of the movie. So I just came up with this idea of using the kaiju as an avatar for the human element, so we can examine this emotional dilemma in a new way. I wanted the climax to be about the monster and the people, simultaneously.

Think of it this way: kaiju movies are like a sandwich. Humans are the bread, and the monsters are the meat. The bread is OK, but you always want to get to the meat. How do we make both the humans and kaiju the meat?

Q: You made a Paleo Diet picture!

A: [laughs] And I personally eat tofu and no meat, but you get what I’m saying. 

You can read the rest of the interview in the Giant Monsters issue of Birth.Movies.Death. magazine, and don't forget to nab tickets to Colossal this week