Anne Hathaway may have her greatest-ever role in the “Colossal.”
Yet Spanish-born writer-director Nacho Vigalondo (“Timecrimes,” “V/H/S: Viral”) never even envisioned her in the part of Gloria, a woman who discovers she’s somehow linked to a giant monster on the rampage in Seoul, Korea.
Vigalondo’s first draft featured a lead male character and a third-wheel female character.
“It didn’t feel refreshing at all. It was an OK story, but it felt like the premise was bigger,” he says.
With a woman in the lead, he adds, “it becomes really interesting and really scary.”
When Hathaway contacted him, expressing interest in the role, Vigalondo (calling himself a “micro-budget, indie guy”) says, “I was blown away. Even if they gave me an Oscar, that would be smaller than Anne wanting to play the role.”
Vigalondo describes how Hathaway brings joy and energy to Gloria, a hard-drinking party girl who loses her job and her boyfriend on the same day, and moves back into her family home. There, she meets a childhood friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who also has a deep-rooted connection to the strange happenings.
Aside from its unique conceit, “Colossal” is also blessed with a clever design, its characters constantly occupying visually interesting spaces.
For example, Gloria moves into a totally empty house, Oscar runs a half-decorated bar, and the monsters are somehow connected to a children’s playground.
Vigalondo, who received a 2005 Oscar nomination for Best Live Action Short, says he tries to find real locations rather than building sets: “That way you can receive information from reality,” he says.
“I really love to read locations as like a person,” he says. “That’s the reason that, rather than making close shots, I prefer the medium shots, to see the way a character relates to his environment.”
Asked to elaborate on themes in his strange, bracing and wonderful concoction (in the league of “Swiss Army Man” or “Being John Malkovich”), Vigalondo says, “All movies are about their times. I feel like movies are more interesting than filmmakers. I don’t feel that clever. If you want an answer about the meaning or the relevance of a film, it’s better to look at the film.”
IF YOU GO
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Austin Stowell, Tim Blake Nelson, Dan Stevens
Written and directed by: Nacho Vigalondo
Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes