I first fell in love with filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo’s work when I discovered Timecrimes in late 2008. Ever since then, he’s continually raised the bar for indie filmmakers worldwide with his thought-provoking approach to genre material. Starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, his latest movie, Colossal, arrives in limited theaters this weekend in New York and Los Angeles, and will continue to roll out in subsequent cities throughout the rest of April, courtesy of Neon.

Daily Dead recently had the opportunity to chat with Vigalondo during the Los Angeles press day for Colossal, and he discussed creating an emotionally driven monster movie, how genre labels never factor into his script-writing process, and the sheer joy he experienced while working on his latest project. Read on for more from Vigalondo, and check here for a full list of where and when you can see Colossal at a theater near you this month.

Congratulations on Colossal, Nacho. I’ve been a big fan of yours for a while, but this movie in particular is probably now my favorite. I saw it at Sundance, and I didn't know whether I wanted to laugh or cry at the end, and I love that feeling.

Nacho Vigalondo: Oh, good. Good. Hearing that feels like what I’ve done is a big, massive success then, to me. If you don't know if you have to cry or laugh, I can’t imagine a better response.

I'd love to hear about what inspired your approach to this story. We've seen monsters as allegories before, but never on this kind of personal level. They've always been for something bigger, something more political.

Nacho Vigalondo: Yes, it’s usually something like a social issue, or addressing national fears. It’s usually something that feels more global, too. The thing is, when I started writing this, I was actually trying to make my own personal monster movie without having to spend a big budget. That's how I started writing this. Like, what if these kaijus attack the city, but we are far from it, so we watch it in the news and on our cellphones and through the Internet? What if things are far from us, but we are linked to them somehow? So I wrote this kind of silly story as a way for me to shoot my monster movie without having to wait for a studio to finance it.

I started on the scale of a humble perspective, but the story was waiting in the stupid ideas drawer, waiting for me to turn it into something more interesting. It needed to become something more interesting, something that could trigger a movie. What it needed was a character arc, a character in the middle that meant something to me at the moment. And when I found Gloria as the main character, she led me to Oscar, the other guy. When I got those two characters and I knew why they were fighting, it's just like “boom,” the movie was there.

The movie has become something that wasn't there from the beginning, but something that makes the whole thing make sense in a way. So, that's the order of things. At the end, because I didn't want anyone to think I was making a satire monster movie, or a spoof, I didn't want it to be smarter than those other monster films. I would never try to do that. Plus, the movie then became like a commentary on romantic comedies, too, so that's the genre that I am trying to just point to with a finger somehow. It was surprising to me, because that wasn't there from the beginning. It was something that happened later.

That's interesting. You've always done interesting genre-blending stories that end up working on various levels. Does that always happen to you when going through the story process, or was this a new experience for you as you were going through the story?

Nacho Vigalondo: I understand those words are tools of analysis. I understand that and appreciate that. But when you are writing, when you go from zero, where you start writing something, you are not thinking in terms of, “Okay, let's mix these two genres and see what happens.” It's like, “Ah! Wouldn't it be cool if...”

That’s the thing that you're actually doing. “Wouldn't it be cool if this happened in South Korea, and you're here and you're drunk, but then you feel guilty and you want to go to jail?” So you have to reframe the whole position from a different point of view, and you are not thinking of the same words that would be applied to you when other people analyze your films.

Filmmaking shouldn't really be different from playing with your favorite toys. I remember being a kid and having this bucket filled with different toys. You have He-Man from Masters of the Universe, and a G.I. Joe guy, and then one of those cheap soldiers, and this cheap plastic cowboy. You play with all of those because that's what you have.

So the difference is really big, but you don't care. You're making them play together, and you don't care about the brands. You are playing with toys without being worried about the brands behind them. You're just messing with things. You're having fun. There are people out there who don't like what I'm doing, but I wanted to show them that I had fun making this film, that I still have that kind of innocence as a director.

You've always been really ambitious with your storytelling. And regardless of whatever budget you’re working out, you’ve always pushed boundaries, and I really appreciate that. To me, Colossal seems to be your most ambitious project you've done so far. Can you talk about the challenges, because you had beautiful monsters in this, but you didn't have $140 million or anything like that to try and create these amazing creatures.

Nacho Vigalondo: It's funny, because from all the other people around me’s perspective, Colossal is a small film. From my perspective, it's a big film. This is the biggest film that I've made so far. Sometimes it feels like a blockbuster dreaming of itself as a Sundance small indie film. Sometimes it feels like this kind of indie, small-budget film dreaming of itself as a blockbuster. That is something that followed me when I was making the film. I was making my biggest film, but for all the other people it was their smallest film. It was really funny in that sense.

Sometimes, I would be shooting and I would take a step back, and honestly, I said to myself, “Am I really making this film? What?! What has happened with my life?” I can understand why you would say this is my most ambitious film. At the same time, I want to prove to myself that this is just me trying to make another film, and it can be cool or it could fail.

And that's what I like. Sometimes it's tough to think in terms of ambition. I'm getting bigger and bigger and bigger with the films I’m making, so what's the end of the line? Is it making the most expensive movie ever, with the biggest advertising behind it and the biggest cast ever? I don't think so. I just want to keep making films, and however ambitious they are, or not, is completely coincidental.


In case you missed it, read Heather's Sundance review of Colossal, and to see if the film will be playing at a theater near you, visit:

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.