We've heard a lot on the news lately about scientists like Craig Venter creating synthetic life, but the new movie Splice goes places you won't see on the news. Like, if the new life form is kind of attractive, would humans consider sleeping with it?
Writer/director Vincenzo Natali made a good old-fashioned monster movie, but with a twist. We don't want to spoil the craziest parts, but Natali wants you to know that, yes, Splice does go ... there.
[Mild spoilers follow.]
"I think it's okay to say there's sex in the movie, but I wouldn't define what the sex is," Natali said in a group interview on May 22 in Hollywood. "Let people find out on their own, because I think on some level when you're watching the film, you kind of get a hint of where it's going, but you think, 'No, no, no, it can't go there. It can't possibly go there.' Then, when it does, it's sort of delightful, in a kind of perverse way."
In the film, two scientists (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) create a new species by splicing human DNA with their previous genetic experiments. Dren (Delphine Chaneac) is born and quickly grows up into an adult. As beautiful as Chaneac is, would you consider her seductive with a bald head, a tail and some sort of bird/goat legs?
Brody had to consider that question in order to portray a character struggling with his attraction to Dren. "It's very exciting to get to do something like that, and it's so wrong on so many levels," Brody said. "That's what's wonderful about making movies. You get to do things that just push the limits. It's very exciting. It's fun and it's strange."
For the actress, it wasn't about being seductive. "I didn't think of it this way," Chaneac said. "Dren makes love with a guy, but since she's mixed with animal and a woman, she has no reference. She loves him, but she doesn't know how to love. She wants just to make love because she loves him."
Maybe you'd find Dren attractive despite her mutations. Even so, it's pretty outrageous to imagine Hollywood releasing a movie where humans have sex with a creature. Films like Species had aliens seduce earthlings while in human form, but Dren is definitely not human. That's where Academy Award winner Brody comes in. You can laugh about the implications of Dren's sexuality, but he's got to make you believe it's possible.
"Making it [the film], it's much more serious, and you have to deal with it with a level of integrity," Brody said. "When you're watching it, I think it's so messed up. [Playing it,] it's a difficult thing to absorb, but it's temporary. You have to consider all the levels of it, of what got you to that point, what got the character to that point, the levels of immorality and temptation."
Chaneac did film a love scene for Splice. It's the most tasteful love scene involving a genetic mutant ever filmed. "I'm shy a little bit with the body, so that was the worst," Chaneac said. "Love scenes are easier when your partner is cool and nice. There was music, like nice music. That was cool. It was very precise. We enjoyed doing it because it was funny, but it was very precise. It was like 'Okay, you go like this. After that, you go on your back. You make two turns around.' So it was very precise, and Vincenzo is very precise."
The film's surprises impressed producer Joel Silver. He bought Splice after it was already completed and screened at the Sundance Film Festival.
"My reaction was, 'They're not going to do that' and then 'They are going to do that' and then 'Oh my God, I can't believe [they did that,]'" Silver said. "I think that's what's so great about it, what's so fun about it. I mean, it's something that you can't accept and that they're showing it to you. I think that's the brilliance of what Vincenzo did. He created this dynamic among these people. You had this parental issue. You had this child growing up. You had all this going on there. It's all this stuff right in front of you, and then look where it goes. I think it works."
The producer of Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and The Matrix isn't afraid to release a horror film that asks scary questions, too. "We're telling the audience that it's a little disturbing," Silver said.
Splice opens June 4.