Exclusive Interview – Vincenzo Natali Talks Splice, Sex and The Monster of...

Exclusive Interview – Vincenzo Natali Talks Splice, Sex and The Monster of Neuromancer

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vincenzo natali 220x150 Exclusive Interview   Vincenzo Natali Talks Splice, Sex and The Monster of NeuromancerVincenzo Natali has made some of the most interesting science fiction films of the last fifteen years.

His first short film, Elevated, is a wonderfully paranoid peek into Natali’s own particular Twilight Zone (and you can watch the whole film here) and Cube is an established cult classic, with derivatives still being released years later.

His latest film, Splice, is a dark and delicious cautionary tale of the collision of science and morality with some incredible creature designs and we were lucky enough to speak with Mr. Natali about pushing boundaries and inter-species sex.

There are some spoilers for Splice contained in here, but for the initiated or the fearless please read on.

HeyUGuys
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us, I imagine you’re doing a lot of interviews for Splice?

Vincenzo Natali
Let me tell you…(laughs)…I started doing interviews in April, but it’s great – really, this movie is my baby and I can’t get bored talking about it

HeyUGuys
I’m very pleased to hear it! Is it gratifying to see Splice get such a wide release?

Vincenzo Natali
I can’t quanitfy it in words, because I’ve been working on this film for over a decade and there were numerous moments along the way where I just thought it’s never going to happen. Even when the movie was finished, there were moments I thought it’s never going to get released so, to have had the film picked up by Warner Bros and get a wide release in the States and in the UK, is beyond any expectation I ever had it’s so exciting. So, yeah – it’s a miracle.

HeyUGuys
Over here there’s a good buzz about it, people are talking about it and they’ve heard a lot about certain aspects of the film, certain scenes that are in the film, and I’m sure you know what I’m speaking about. But to go back to the origins of the film, why did it take so long to get to the screen?

Vincenzo Natali
It was a number of factors, primarily it was because the film is very dangerous and transgressive so, if were just a Frankenstein movie, if it were just like Species then I think I could have got the film made a lot sooner. But what made the movie exciting for me was that it has elements of those stories but it goes somewhere that none of those films would dare to go. It’s important for the story because if you’re realistically going to talk about creating a new species, a new animal-human hybrid species then the issue of sex is inevitably going to emerge. And I was fascinated by how it really had its roots in mythology, the notion of falling in love with, or being attracted to something that is more than human is a very ancient concept, and now here we are at the beginning of the new millennium ad these creatures are entering our world courtesy of new science for real. So that was always very important to me, and I always felt that if I can’t do that then I wouldn’t want to do the movie. Also, I think that I had to wait for the technology to become good enough and as inexpensive enough for me to make this film independently, seeing as it was never going to be a studio produced movie.

HeyUGuys
When Joel Silver saw it at Sundance and must have seen something pretty extraordinary in it, was there any pressure to change any part of it?

Vincenzo Natali
No, not in any way that would effect was is dangerous about the movie. Joel, and the studio to their credit embraced everything that was bizarre and crazy about the film. We did do some work to it after Sundance but it purely cosmetic. It was all led by me, little changes that were mostly to do with the mix, and I actually shortened the film a little, but in now way that changed the content. Where you can really credit Joel, I mean he’s the reason the film got the release it did, I think he’s a visionary guy and one of the few who has the power in Hollywood to do something like this, to make a wild release happen.

HeyUGuys
It’s nice to have someone that powerful on your side.

Vincenzo Natali
It makes ALL the difference. It was a great experience, but when it was sold I had no idea what was going to happen to it, I didn’t have a say – the film was sold to him and Warner Bros, so as well as being pleased about it I was a little afraid because he could have changed it. He might not have wanted the sex scene, it would have been very hard for me to fight that.

HeyUGuys
And it’s interesting when you look at the marketing of the film and how it really is in the cinema, it’s good because it will bring people ino the cinemas and they’ll experience something new. In particular the infamous sex scene – it’s a complex scene in terms of the morals and also in terms of pushing the boundaries of what people expect to see when they go into a cinema – was it a crucial scene?

Vincenzo Natali
It was and it was always there, it was kind of the raison d’etre of the movie precisely because it hasn’t been seen before, and I felt it tapped into the very essence of what the film is about – that we’re going to watch the scientists turns into monsters and we’re going to find humanity in our creature, and that scene typifies that. Generally where these stories go is that about half way through the monster escapes and then it wreaks havoc in the civilised world. I intentionally wanted Splice to go in the opposite direction and it ends up being about the scientists imprisoning their creature and they then lose track of their moral compass, and then begin to embark on some very questionable behaviour and the scene you’re referring to typifies that. It’s the scene which separates the men form the boys. No matter where I am, and I’ve traveled through the States with the film and people go crazy, they scream, they laugh, they yell at the screen. I knew that the scene would get a response but I never expected that level of response and it’s clearly tweaking some nerves.

HeyUGuys
It certainly does – the audience I saw it with did react in all those ways, and in terms of your earlier work, and I’m thinking of Cube and your short film Elevated, there’s the notion of environment and how it affects the characters. How was that theme continued with Splice?

Vincenzo Natali
Yeah, all my films go back to this theme, partly because all my movies have very small budgets so I can’t a lot of locations and actors so they always take place in a small setting. But it goes deeper than that, I am fascinated by the notion of how the monster can rise from within and how people behave in extreme situations where they’re trapped together, and the psychological dynamic which results from that. I’m Canadian! I spend a lot of time indoors!

HeyUGuys
The ending of the film is left open, and given the proliferation of sequels flying around at the moment, is there a sequel for Splice in our future?

Vincenzo Natali
I don’t think so, it could happen, but it would have required the movie to make a lot of money in the States, but even though the ending of the film appears to be setting up a sequel that was never my intention. All of my films end with a question, and somewhat ambiguously, and they always imply the beginning of another story, I like to leave the audience with something to ponder.

HeyUGuys
Are you working on the Blu-ray release right now, can we expect a commentary or any deleted scenes?

Vincenzo Natali
I did a commentary track in France, but there’s not that much in the way of deleted scenes because my films are made so economically that I can’t afford to shoot a lot. So eighty-five percent of what was shot is in the movie, and the other fifteen percent is very poorly directed so I’d never want anyone to see it!

HeyUGuys
One last question, you’re next project is Neuromancer, how far along with that are you – are you still rewriting the script?

Vincenzo Natali
Yeah, that’s amazing – there’s another monster out there and it’s the Internet, information travels so fast. In the case of Neuromancer people were announcing it before it was a done deal, but it is now and I’m writing it and it’s very exciting. I really hope I can get the movie to happen, it’s at the stage where it’s a script that is looking for money, so we’ll see what actually happens. But I consider it to be one of the most influential science fiction novels, perhaps any kind of novel, from the last twenty five years and I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of it.

HeyUGuys would like to thank Mr. Natali for taking the time to speak to us, he was a very cool guy and Splice is out in the UK on the 23rd of July and you can read our review here.

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