Gore Verbinski’s A Cure for Wellness has been highly anticipated for months now. Trailers slowly reveal a richly imagined and ominous world where an eager executive is sent on a seemingly simple task to fetch his ailing CEO from an “idyllic but mysterious” medical center in the Swiss mountains.
The revered director recently hopped onto Reddit’s r/movies sub-reddit to answer some questions from eager fans in anticipation of A Cure for Wellness’ release this Friday. As Reddit is notoriously hard to dig through, we’ve sifted through the dirt for those nuggets of gold revealing more about the director’s influences and philosophies.
See below for 10 Things We Learned from Gore Verbinski’s Reddit AMA:
1. He likes doing movies other people think won’t work. When asked if he had any anxiety around doing a movie loosely based on a theme park ride (Pirates), Verbinski responded:
“…there’s something really enjoyable and slightly perverse about being told you shouldn’t do something … when people say you shouldn’t make a pirate movie, they haven’t worked in 30 years. It just makes you lean into it that much more when they say you don’t have to make an animated movie.”
2. A Cure for Wellness was inspired by literature, as writer Justin Haythe and Verbinski are “both fans of Thomas Mann’s novel The Magic Mountain and all things HP Lovecraft”
3. A key piece of advice he has is to “ABS” i.e., “Always Be Shooting”. Throughout the AMA Verbinski continued to emphasize that storytelling wouldn’t always be great or easy, but that filmmakers improve with time.
4. If he could be any character from his movies, it would be Rango (although he notes it’s subject to change):
“As soon as I answer this question, it’s going to be the wrong answer. Today I’m going to go with Rango the chameleon because he gets to be many things.”
5. The Lobster is one of his favorite films of last year.
6. He hasn’t ruled out doing an animated film again.
7. He got his start as a PA and playing in bands, then making music videos. This led to doing a few commercials and eventually it was his commercial reel which caught the eye of Steven Spielberg for Mouse Hunt.
8. Punk music has influenced his approach:
“Yeah, I think there’s a spirit [of music] that is sort of pushing against the forces of homogenization and I think that’s something that is important to me. I love a great story when it’s told from a singular person. When we’re sitting around a campfire and you hear the voice of one person telling you the narrative, as opposed to a committee or some process that has diluted it.”
9. He believes the key to frightening viewers is tapping into parallel societal fears:
“Well, I think it’s really important when the curtain closes you’ve tapped into some contemporary fear. It’s very easy to sort of dismiss a movie as an experience that is outside of your world or outside of the realm of your existence, and I think if we can tap into some contemporary issue, the film tends to linger or stay with you. With a film like The Ring, I believe that that film came out after 9/11, and the film was very much about the sort of transferable nature of hatred, and in order to save yourself you’re making a copy of this videotape and making sure somebody else watches it. I think we were dealing with a real palpable sense of ‘what did I do to deserve this’, ‘why me’, and that sort of horror of terrorism it doesn’t really go after the culprit.
He adds that A Cure for Wellness taps into society’s need to be diagnosed and our prayers to, say, “the pharmaceutical industry or the kale smoothie”
10. Although he was a musician, he has never considered scoring his own films:
“Absolutely not, because I have such a wonderful opportunity to work with composers and musicians that are so much better than I am. In the same way that I really enjoy writing and working on the structure of a movie when it comes to the actual wordsmithery. I’m the type of person who circles a sentence in Moby Dick or whatever novel I’m reading… and you really appreciate the construction of a great sentence. In the same way, I can discuss music openly and specifically regarding a scene and everything from instrumentation, to key, to time signature, and to the emotion of it, but when it comes down to actually writing the notes, performing the tune, I really love that I get to work with these people who are so much more talented than I could ever be at their job.”
Make sure to check out A Cure for Wellness on Friday, February 17.