Cinemas opened their doors today to Gore Verbinski’s disturbing and visually striking film A Cure For Wellness. A young man is chosen to retrieve a co-worker from a resort to complete a final business venture; however, he will quickly realize that this resort is nothing that it seems and tragedy will strike and show no mercy. Soon this young man will find himself in a scenario that will cause participation in something he cannot possibly comprehend. Will he get out in time and uncover the secrets that this wellness resort uses to sustain life? Find out as the story plays out and bare witness to the beautiful imagery that the cinematography has created. Let’s find the cure…The Cure For Wellness.
Director, Writer, and Producer Gore Verbinski is no stranger to the magical core filmmaking. About fifteen years ago Verbinski terrified moviegoers with the haunting Samara from The Ring. His directorial debut was with Mousehunt (1997), The Mexican (2001) followed, with The Ring (2002) next on the list. Verbinski has been responsible for three of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, now how is that for a kick ass resume? iHororr was granted the opportunity to speak to Verbinski about his newest thriller A Cure For Wellness. We chatted about the inspiration, the casting process, and why he waited almost fifteen years to return to the thriller/horror genre.
An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. He soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests here longing for the cure. From Gore Verbinski, the visionary director of THE RING, comes the new psychological thriller, A CURE FOR WELLNESS.
Interview With Gore Verbinski
Gore Verbinski: Hey Ryan.
Ryan T. Cusick: Hey Gore, how are you?
GV: I’m good, how you doin?
RTC: I’m doing well. Thank You so much for speaking with me today.
GV: It’s a pleasure.
RTC: Unfortunately I have not viewed the whole film yet, I have seen about twenty, twenty-five minutes of it.
GV: aww, okay.
RTC: When the screening was cut, I was like “Aww man, I am going to for a while to see it,” so I am really looking forward to the release on February 17th.
RTC: I will go ahead and get started, my first question is where did this idea come from?
GV: Well the writer, Justin Haythe and I were talking about this place high up in the Alps that has been watching humanity for a very long time and is there to offer a diagnosis. We live in this increasingly irrational world; I think of this the idea of diagnosing modern man is the origin. And we are both fans of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, a novel and all things Lovecraft, you know it is kind of a blunder, and it starts there, and then we realize we are firmly rooting in the genre, and yeah it kind of just evolved from that place.
RTC: Yeah, I mean this is something really different, really unique, I have not seen anything that has tackled this, and just the imagery is beautiful, where did you film at?
GV: Well, I went to Germany in 2015, actually, all over once I had written the screenplay. I started scouting Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Prague, and Romania looking for this castle. And to convey the sense of Lockhart, Dane DeHaan’s character almost had to be summoned to this place, slipping into kind of a dream logic he is appearing not so much in the waking state anymore. And the movie really is about two worlds. So try to find something that felt ancient and could have been there for a long time, sort of watching mankind through the industrial revolution. Yeah, I found this castle in southern Germany. It was clear that it was not going to work for the interior, so I found this hospital outside of Berlin, covered in graffiti, all the windows were smashed, we just painted that up and changed it.
RTC: It looks amazing.
GV: It is actually a bunch of pieces put together
RTC: As soon as we [The Audience] arrive at the Asylum it felt like you had said about two different worlds existing, it felt as though it was deliberately out of the present and in some sort of time period, there was no tech, and everything stopped working.
GV: Yeah, we really wanted to disconnect these people from the modern world. In fact, that is kind of one of the ideas of the treatment, the strings are no longer attached, and Lockhart’s computer stops working, his phone stops working, his watch stops, you are really slipping out of time.
RTC: I know for most, including myself, if my stuff stopped working that would be scary in itself, we rely on that stuff so much.
GV: Throw it, throw it in a lake.
RTC: How was the casting process for characters Hannah & Lockhart?
GV: Well we had written Lockhart as kind of an asshole intentionally. He is really right for diagnosis. He has this disease of modern man if you will. So we wrote him to do whatever it takes to get ahead, a stockbroker. He is going to be on that board of directors in no time; he has the skill set to get there. It was important to cast Dane because I didn’t want to throw you off the rails.Getting Dane was very important to me I had been watching him for a while. And then with Mia, with Hannah is a very tricky part because she is just not naive and she has a world view, she has been there a long time, she is almost a ghost that inhabits this place, at least that is what it seems like at first. She has witnessed these old people come and get processed, but she has never had someone like Lockhart around. As he gets put to sleep, he is really awakening her. Mia came in and read for it, and if you have ever met her, that is her, she is Hannah. As soon as she came in and read it was a no brainer.
RTC: That is awesome when it happens that quick. With my short viewing of the film, I did not get to see too much of Hannah, but like you said you need to cast someone who was kind of like that asshole for Lockhart just because of all the money on Wall Street kind of changes a person. Brilliant, brilliant casting. And the film is pretty long, I think about 2 hours and 20 or 25 minutes, were there any scenes from the film that you did not want to see get cut, or did everything just pan out the way you saw it.
GV: Well, I did cut some stuff out you always do, it is a really interesting process when you start the cutting process, and you stop throwing attention at, and you start listening to it. This movie was really made outside the system. We tried to do something different, and it is important when you do that. We are trying to say remember what it was like going to a movie theater and not know what you are going to see, so often now we have played the video game, we have been on the ride, or we have read the comic book. We are trying to get back to the times when we were like “we don’t know anything about this.” And to also make it for a specific audience for fans of the genre.
RTC: Going in and the short time I have spent with this film so far, I had no idea what to expect. So I believe the design worked because I had no clue.
GV: Well, yeah we try and keep it that way as much as we can, we are a week out.
RTC: So, what’s next for you?
GV: Umm, got a few things. I am going to get back into writing some stuff that I kinda got on the back burner that I am going to bring forward; it is a little too early to say exactly how that is going to go.
RTC: Okay, no problem. Well I know it has been about fifteen years since you did The Ring. I wouldn’t really describe [A Cure For Wellness] as a horror film more like a psychological thriller, but similar to ways of The Ring as far as the genre. What took you so long to come back to this type of film? Were you too busy the past few years?
GV: Well you know it is a dark place. I have been here for three years now almost, on this one. You know that it is kind of nice to break away from that, for a while and not to sort of rely on the tropes and not get too comfortable with the language. But I do like this idea; there is really no other genre where you really get to conduct this sort of psychological experiment from the audience, you know? You’re watching Lockhart, this character locked in as a patient at this place but you are really the patient, the audience in the darkened room, the sound, the imagery to create an experiment on the audience. So that aspect I really do enjoy.
RTC: That’s great. I cannot wait to see it.
GV: Yeah, I hope you like it. It is different
RTC: I am sure that I will. Well you, I think that even if this is not for someone, if they do not like this genre, I think just the sheer beauty of the film would be enough for someone to go and see it.
GV: Yeah, well we put everything that we could into it. It is really a labor of love.
RTC: And you said it was all on location, no sets or sound stages?
GV: Oh no, there were some sound stages we had for the water work.
RTC: Thank you so much for speaking with me today
GV: Pleasure, Ryan. Take Care.
A Cure For Wellness Trailer