Guillermo del Toro movies have wonderful, awesome creatures in them, so if he's saying you have to see Splice, there may be something to it. He produced the film because he felt writer/director Vincenzo Natali took the creature feature in bold new directions.
"It takes you places where normally movies in the genre want to play it safe," del Toro said in a conference call on May 27, while he was in New Zealand, and before we learned that he'd quit The Hobbit. "It's not very often that a major release also gets to tamper with the moral borders that we dare not to cross."
In Natali's film, scientists create a new species by splicing human and animal DNA. Where it goes from there, well, you've just got to see it.
"There is always a line in the whole structure of the creator/monster myth," del Toro said. "There's a line that never gets crossed, from the earliest myth of Frankenstein, for the Golem, there is always a familial relationship. There can be father and son or neglected son and father. There's always family dynamics at the center. With Splice, Vincenzo has made a really sick family dynamic within the characters of the piece that is Splice. If they do want to see a couple of those lines crossed, fully crossed by the filmmakers, they should go see Splice."
Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley play the scientists who create Dren (Delphine Chaneac) and care for her as she grows up in a matter of weeks. Talk about a dysfunctional family. "The father/daughter, mother/daughter dynamics are incredibly sick, and they are incredibly accelerated by the growth rate of the creature," del Toro said. "So you can see a lot of the dynamic [of] that sort of a fable about responsibility, but it's also a fable about family and the sickness that can bind a family or destroy it."
How bold is Splice? It's so wild that del Toro says even he wouldn't dare to make a film like that himself. "When I produce, I'm trying to produce movies that take you to places that are different than I would," del Toro said. "When I was reading Splice, there is a particular scene towards the end, there was a left turn that shocked the hell out of me. It shocked the hell out of me and challenged me. I would have never been as brave or as crazy as Vincenzo was in doing that scene. But, reading it, I felt if it's jolting me, that means it has enormous power, but I don't know how he's going to solve it. I was intrigued in seeing this absolutely insane scene come to life. I would have been too prudish and too timid to do that scene."
So there you have it from Guillermo del Toro. You should see Splice for a creature movie sicker and more twisted than even Pan's Labyrinth or Hellboy. "There are certain areas that I'm very timid about exploring," del Toro admitted. "[Pedro] Almodovar used to joke, saying, 'You can kill 50 people but you cannot show a normal lovemaking scene.' I don't know if I will ever be inclined to go into a really daring direction in that sense. I have tried crazy stuff in a movie. God knows that I can go and push the limits in certain things, but it's just not my inclination to do that. When I'm curious about something like that, I do try to get involved as producer."
Also, del Toro is a Vincenzo Natali fan. He wants the world to know this filmmaker. Maybe with Splice, del Toro can help.
"The main thing for me is not so much for my fans as people that should know Vincenzo," del Toro said. "Vincenzo impressed the hell out of me with Cube, and I was very, very impressed by Cypher which was sadly a movie that became sort of invisible. It didn't reach much of an audience, but I think it's a really good movie that people should seek, as well as his other smaller ventures. When the hell are we going to get a DVD of his movie Nothing, which is a really, really unique and beautiful movie he created?"
Splice opens June 4.