On the surface, Nacho Vigalondo’s “Colossal” is a genre-bending monster movie. But smash through the surface (like a marauding giant) and you will find a dark comedy built on nostalgia and quirky humor. Dig deeper and you’ll find that the monsters that actors Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis embody are in fact a well-crafted conceit for their very human struggles.
In the film, out Friday, Hathaway plays city girl Gloria, who’s trying to find her place in life after losing her job as a writer. She returns to her hometown where she rekindles a friendship with Oscar (Sudeikis), who generously offers her a job at his bar. What seems like a fresh start for Gloria turns into booze-fueled benders with Godzilla-sized consequences.
amNewYork sat down with the stars to discuss the film.
Nacho had such a specific perspective. How was it to jump into this film?
Anne Hathaway: I was ready for something. I didn’t know I was ready for something like this, and then I saw Ben Wheatley’s “A Field In England” and it just really spoke to me. It’s this crazy, imaginative, psychedelic film that’s not trying to win an Oscar or break a box office. So I was in the right place to read [Colossal] and Nacho followed up the script by having made wonderful films. I fell in love with him and then Jason came on board. It was just an easy yes after an easy yes.
This film deals with alcoholism but not in an obvious way. Was that refreshing to see?
Jason Sudeikis: Yeah, it buries its own lead over and over again. I think it was refreshing. I thought it was really inventive and a clever way to get your point across. It’s literally a base of the song “A Spoon Full of Sugar.” It’s what I know from my Second City training in Chicago. We always talk about sketches as being like, “Okay what’s this sketch really about?“ And sometimes with storytelling, something can come across as preachy or on the nose. If you come at something like a knight move, it allows people to lean in a little bit more and see what they want to see.
AH: We’re very lucky. We’ve seen so much definitive cinema in our lives and we’re all so burdened by that because it’s so difficult to say something new. So when something new is said it resonates so differently.
They’re both relatable characters to a certain extent. He’s a small town guy that never left and she’s in her struggling industry. How did you relate to your own characters if at all?
JS: I think I relate to every single character. I think that’s one of the benefits of having a director and writer where English is his second language. He speaks in themes and tones versus the minutiae of the American English vernacular. Even though he had this in his head he was always open to our variation of it and I think that’s partly his artistic soul but also the endeavor of trying to direct people outside of your language.
Hathaway: Can I just thank you? So many people come in and said, “Gloria’s a mess!“ and you said she’s struggling and I really thank you for making that distinction. What human being is not struggling? People draw bold outlines of things so they say she’s a mess, and she’s not. She’s just having a messy moment.
The movie plays with physical comedy and then that physicality really veers off into this dark place. How was it to go head to head with each other? Was it technical?
AH: It had to be because I was pregnant. I’m the kind of performer who will always lean into it. In this one that wasn’t available to me. I couldn’t go as hard or as fast. I couldn’t take it to the mat. It was lovely to be working with people who understood that. The only stress was “Am I going to fall?“ and I did. That was terrifying. It’s the shot in the movie. I tripped and it was this sickening moment. You felt it go through everyone.
Anne, we saw your character come into her own at the end, so Jason where would you like to see him land? Either figuratively or otherwise.
JS: Boy, oh boy. He’s landing far, far away but did he get all of the anger out? The only thing that would fuel him to get back would be, unfortunately, anger, but I hope for him that there’s not enough anger in him to feel that throughout the whole journey. I think at some point that he would replace that anger with a little more self-love, and it wouldn’t be in reaction to what happened to him.