Last year, news broke that Anne Hathaway had signed on to star in Colossal, a mysterious project from Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo described as a cross between classic kaiju monster flicks and quirky small-town drama.
Now, Colossal is ready to make its premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, and even now, Vigalondo says he’s not always sure how to best explain the concept to people.
“The movie’s coming from my obvious love towards monster movies, and I was always intrigued by the possibility of setting a monster movie story in a human scale,” he tells EW. “This is a monster movie that collides with a small indie drama, which is an interesting collision.”
Hathaway stars as Gloria, a boozy New Yorker whose hard-partying ways catch up to her when she loses her job and her fiancé (Dan Stevens). So, she goes to the only place she has left: her northeastern hometown, which Vigalondo says is the U.S. equivalent of his own small town in northern Spain. There, Gloria reconnects with her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who owns the local bar. Not exactly the best situation for an alcoholic trying to get clean.
Things take a turn for the strange, however, when Gloria learns that a giant monster is currently stomping through Seoul — and she soon realizes that she has an unusual connection to this otherworldly creature.
Last fall, Colossal came under fire from Godzilla copyrights holders Toho, who sued the production for copyright infringement. The suit was eventually settled, and Vigalondo says that the legal drama didn’t affect the story as he initially envisioned it. Still, he’s keeping tight-lipped for now about the exact nature of the monster or Gloria’s connection with it.
“We tried to come up with a new monster,” he says. “We’ve seen some of those in many films, and we tried to find something that feels unique. As the movie goes on, and you realize how this monster is connected to Gloria, you understand the nature of the beast from a new angle. So yeah, the monster has a twist.”
The one thing he will say is that there’s a certain similarity to King Kong, mainly because of the iconic ape’s emotional resonance.
“From all the creatures that you can remember on screen, King Kong is the only one who is in love, so he has a really emotional dimension that sometimes other monsters lack,” Vigalondo says. “What I love about King Kong is that his motivations are human and raw and wild, so we can identify with him.”
Other than that, we’ll have to wait and see Colossal’s mysterious monster on the big screen.
“So far, I’m enjoying the sense of mystery that’s around the film!” Vigalondo says, laughing. “Apart from the main character and her relationship with the monster, the movie is planned to work as a series of surprises. So I’m just enjoying this moment in life where nobody knows where the movie is going.”
Colossal premieres Friday at the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs through Sept. 18.