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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 03.06.16] scifi horror action thriller

Nacho Vigalondo is one of the most interesting filmmakers working today. Breaking into the scene with his modern classic Timecrimes, his output since has been consistently challenging both formally and thematically. From his prescient hacking/stalking thriller Open Windows, which takes place entirely on one computer screen, to his intimate alien invasion romance, Extraterrestrial, his films never fail to come at genre with a new spin.

But before Vigalondo became known for his own films, he was an actor in Spain. In his latest role, he plays the villain in the new jungle survival thriller Camino (Review). It's an unforgettable performance full of both big and small moments and proves Vigalondo hasn't lost his chops since moving behind the camera.

Below, Nacho answers some questions for us about Camino (in theatres now), his other projects and what kind of cinema he loves.


Most people know you as a writer/director before an actor? What was it about Camino that made you want to get in front of the camera this time around?

You gotta believe this, I started working as an actor years before I went into filmmaking for good. In fact, when I became an Oscar nominee the news were "That weird guy that appears in glasses and hamburger commercials is going to the Oscars".

The thing is I love Josh, Daniel, SpectreVision and of course the idea of working with this cast. I would have said "I´m in" even if the character was an anecdote, but, to my surprise, they wer offering me this huge, dark and funny character.

You play Guillermo like a lovable psychopath. Was that always on the page, or was that your take?

It was all in the Daniel Noah script, all was there. My only contribution was the Spanish background to the character. He is latin, but comes from Europa, he feels he comes from a higher place and treats all the Colombian characters with condescension. That is 100% Spain.

Your death scene is remarkable; full of pathos and regret. There's a lot going on behind Guillermo's eyes. Was that a challenging place to get to?

(I´m going to say SPOILER ALERT for you) Shooting that scene was truly emotional, not only because of the events of camera, it was also the last scene, the last day, after a long intense and unforgettable shooting. And a big, massive storm was coming. It started raining one second after Josh screamed "cut". Everything was damn emotional.

I know you are in production on your monster movie, Colossal. I'm curious what your reaction to Toho's lawsuit was at the time, and if that's all over and done with.

Everything is settled and fine now, and the movie is wrapped!

I'm a big fan of Open Windows and would love to get your take on what's going on at the end.

Thank you! Since I'm the author, my take is the less valuable of all. The audience interpretation or perspective of what the movie is about and how it deals with is much more poignant. All I can tell you is I tried to make a movie in constant mutation.

Will we ever see a Dark Sky feature, or was that whole idea simply a parody?

It was a satire of young adult fiction, with out-of-place erotism and B movie feeling. A commentary on Open Windows itself, maybe.

I'm curious if you have a competitive nature as a creator. When you see a film that blows you away does it light a fire under you creatively, or make you re-evaluate what you're working on?

Good question! I hate the idea of competition as something inherent to filmmaking, or any kind of art. I don't want to become one of those guys obsessed with having the best reviews or the best numbers at the box office. I just want to offer the best that I can craft, trying to express something that comes from a true place and taking interesting risks if it´s possible.

Having said that, yes, watching amazing films fuels me. Movies like It Follows, Blue Ruin or Magical Girl make me think deep, "Why does this movies work so well? What can I learn about them?." It's not artistic castration, but the total opposite. Every time a contemporary filmmaker does something that blows my mind I feel privileged, both as an audience and as a director.

What is your favourite kind of film? Era? Genre? We've entered pure curiosity territory now...

Just like Josh (C. Waller, the director), I´m one of those who love the seventies. Even the bad films from that era feel edgy and dry. And I have a fetish for the texture of celluloid during those years. I´d love to rewatch Charlie Varrick right now.

Thanks, Nacho!

Camino is in theaters now and will be available on VOD AND iTUNES March 8, 2016.

Recommended Release: Timecrimes

Follow Christopher Webster on Twitter.

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Lenny (5 years ago) Reply

Sweet, I'll be watching this tomorrow!

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