After his success on bigger movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean and The Ring, Gore Verbinski returns behind the camera to bring us A Cure For Wellness, a project that the director helped to create with writer Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road). You can read Stefan Pape’s review of the film here.

Dane DeHaan and Gore Verbinski - A Cure For Wellness

The film follows Lockhart (DeHaan), a Wall Street stockbroker who travels to the Swiss Alps to find his company’s CEO from a medical centre that is surrounded in mystery and soon he begins to suspect that not everything is what it seems. For Verbinski, who co-wrote the story, it was the traditional nature of the horror genre that excited him with the project rather than going for “jump scares”:

“I’m a fan of the genre but these days we tend to distill horror into a series of scares that have to happen every two and half minutes or something and I think the origins of this genre took time and we are returning to that slow-cooking of the audience and we are able to conduct experiments on the audience – you’re watching a patient go through this process but you’re really the patient in this journey.”

In finding his leading man, Verbinski had settled on DeHaan after seeing him in Derek Cianfrance’s superb A Place Beyond The Pines and while the character was not immediately likeable, the director says he needed an actor who was above all else honest so that you would want to follow him through the film, saying:

“I saw Dane in The Place Beyond The Pines and he really popped for me and find his performances always very honest but there’s something about him where you want to see where he is going. Lockhart was written as a bit of an arsehole – he’s a young stockbroker and he’s going to do whatever it takes to get ahead and is ripe for diagnosis but we’re intentionally writing somebody who isn’t immediately likeable so it’s important to cast someone who you’re gonna stay with.”

Related: Gore Verbinski talks Rango

Aside from films such as Rango, The Mexican and The Lone Ranger, Verbinski is best known to audiences as the director of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films before he “jumped ship” before the fourth entry, On Stranger Tides, was made. Looking back, the filmmaker said he felt he had nothing new to bring to the franchise and doesn’t keep up with it now he has departed:

“I’m not that engaged in it. The interesting thing for me is the unknown – there was a reason for me to do three Pirates movies as I still felt there was more to learn but you then start to feel like you get to a place where things are known and the characters are known and what the audiences likes are known. When studio executives aren’t nervous anymore then it’s time to move on and I think it’s better to be in a place where you’re on the brink somehow.”

A Cure For Wellness opens in UK cinemas on February 24th.