A Cure For Wellness is director Gore Verhbisnki’s (The Ring/ Pirates of the Caribbean) suspense thriller about a young executive (Lockhart) who is sent by the companies executive board to retrieve his company’s CEO from a plush but peculiar “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. Lockhart 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.
I had the opportunity to speak with Mia Goth (Hannah) Dane DeHaan (Lockhart) and director Gore Verbinski about their experiences working on A Cure For Wellness.
First, I spoke with Mia Goth who plays Hannah, I asked about her experience and how she became involved in the project.
Robert Garcia: How did you become involved in the project? Were you presented with the full script?
Mia Goth: I remember it very clearly, I got an email from my agent with the audition and the script and so I read the script that night in one sitting from front to back. One of the things that struck me first was how well written it was. I would think I knew where it [story] was going then it would take a completely different turn and it wouldn’t let you predict what was going to happen at all. It was really exciting to me and to work with Gore on a genre he helped define back with The Ring, that was really exciting for me too.
Robert Garcia: In preparation for your character, did you research any case studies of children who experienced traumatic instances or who were sheltered and deprived from peer contact?
Mia Goth: No, because I never saw Hannah as someone who felt that she was deprived. I never felt Hannah was a victim, she’s a product of her environment and Jason Isaacs character is very much her hope, she very much believes in the things that he’s telling her. This is just the route to get there. It’s difficult because I don’t want to give too much away (laughs). That’s a very good question!
Our next conversation was with Dane DeHaan who plays Lockhart, the young protagonist in search of the company’s CEO.
Robert Garcia: In reference to principle photography, there are some beautiful locations in this film, do you prefer a more sterilized environment working on set in a studio or do you prefer working on location, which do you believe helps you in your performance?
Dane DeHaan: I think it helps whenever I can be in a real place, I guess ultimately I prefer that. But also I like to challenge myself in different ways so sometimes the challenge can be having to use my imagination more. In a movie like this a lot of the stuff was practical and there was a lot of other stuff to worry about so the fact that we were mostly in real locations or even that the sets looked so real was a huge help for sure.
Finally, I spoke to director Gore Verbisnki about the protagonist Lockhart and the development of this character.
Robert Garcia: In the beginning of the movie, Lockhart is discovered to have done some type of illegal maneuvering to secure his position as an up and coming executive at his firm. Did you find it difficult to have your main character start as unlikable then transition to the person your rooting for on the movie?
Gore Verbinski: Well the place is designed to prey upon people like that. this is like oligarchs and heads of industries and people who have achieved things at all cost. It’s people who say, I’m going to succeed at all cost, but the bills come due, you know, what is wellness? Is it money? Is it success? What is wellness? I think he (Lockhart) has the sickness and he’s younger than the rest of him but he has the sickness. Look, when he’s reading the letter from Pembroke (Harry Groener), I feel like it’s speaking to his core being, even when you’re in denial you sense something. He (Lockhart) probably would not articulate it but he knows he doesn’t make a clay pot, he doesn’t make shoes or make guitars, he makes money off of other people who make money off of other people, who make money off of other people, who make things. So I think he (Lockhart) has a real identity issue there like, who am I? What is my net worth versus my self worth? What is my purpose? He’s almost reversed engineered to be susceptible to this diagnosis.
A Cure For Wellness is a dark, gothic style fairytale that goes against the grain in terms of storytelling. It hearkens to the old style British Hammer Horror films and sets an eerie mood from the first act. The climactic ending provides viewers with an unexpected twist to this suspenseful and captivating film.
A Cure For Wellness hits theaters February 17.