If you’re looking for a surprising new thriller this Summer, then I’d say Crawl should be your top pick!
Once Alexandre Aja, director from The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha 3D, received the script for Crawl he felt that no one had ever done anything like this before and knew he had to direct the movie himself. Crawl takes place in Florida during a Category 5 hurricane and its main actress is Kaya Scodelario, who stars as Haley- a college student and competitive swimmer whose father (Barry Pepper) has gone missing and she goes out in the midst of the hurricane to find him. However, once she happens to find her father, she finds that he is unconscious in a crawl space located under the house. But, as she tries to drag her father to safety, she encounters a large alligator. The large alligator, nevertheless, is not the only problem Haley faces throughout the movie and if you’d like to know what happens, then make sure to catch Crawl in theaters nationwide July 12th! This movie will have you on the edge of your seat this Summer!
The Knockturnal: I saw the movie last night and I have to say that the movie had me on the edge of the seat! The whole night; I mean my whole row was screaming! And, I wanted to know what inspires you to make these concepts, to bring these concepts to life because I’m pretty sure it’s not an easy one compared to other themes of movies.
Alexandre Aja: That’s exactly what you described! I wanted to create an experience for the audience. I wanted to create something for the audience member- me- that would enjoy being on the edge of my seat. But you feel the temperature rising in the room and you’re in the middle of the experience. There’s no more distance between you and the screen. And that’s what really attracted me to this survival story. I was looking for a long time to find the right story to go back to something very scary. My previous movies were more under- Piranha 3D was more of a comedy and Horns was more of a fable. But, I wanted to do something very scary and fun! And when I received the script of Crawl- the log line got me. The simple story of that woman who has to save her dad during a Category 5 hurricane in Florida, in a zone flooded and invested with alligators, was all I needed. It was so simple. I couldn’t believe no one did it before!
The Knockturnal: Now that you said the relationship between the father and the daughter, everybody was talking about that dynamic- of how their relationship grew and unfolded throughout the movie. So, what inspired you to bring this concept more to life?
Alexandre Aja: I wanted to dibble up the relationship- that’s what I did as a filmmaker. That was one of the most challenging elements in making the movie. It was to find the balance between the drama and the survival. And, it was kind of tricky. Because me, as an audience member, I wasn’t sure between the 15 year old audience member that I was- that only wanted to see alligator action and the 40 year old audience member that I am- who wanted to see more of the relationship. I wanted to find that right balance.
The Knockturnal: Like the best of both worlds.
Alexandre Aja: Yes! Exactly!
The Knockturnal: I noticed with the shots it was like wide shots, great camera angles, the camera angles were quick in a lot of the scenes- were there any challenges in filming those challenging scenes?
Alexandre Aja: We had to build like seven tanks for each of the set that will float with water. So, to film them you don’t have that many choices. You can be in the water with the camera or above. And we build every set to have the crane to dive in and go above the water while the water was rising.
The Knockturnal: So, everything was in studio?
Alexandre Aja: Everything was on stage! We build every single thing!
The Knockturnal: Because it really looked like they were in Florida, outside!
Alexandre Aja: Yeah, but you cannot shoot in a real hurricane! So, we had to create this giant- like the biggest set we had was 60 meters by 80 meters on the outside, with full blue screen. So, every time outside of the house, it was on stage!
The Knockturnal: Wow! That’s pretty cool!
Alexandre Aja: That was pretty insane!
The Knockturnal: I know you’ve done pass horror films, Piranha 3D, this one, among many others, I was wondering if you had to remake a classic horror film, what would it be and why?
Alexandre Aja: I did a lot of remakes. I did Maniac and The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha 3D- I’m trying to stay away from remakes! But, there is a lot of them! Like, the classics!
The Knockturnal: Yes, the classics! If you had to name just one, just one classic!
Alexandre Aja: I like The Birds.
The Knockturnal: Ohh, ok! From the 60’s!?
Alexandre Aja: Yes!
The Knockturnal: Omg! Ok!
Alexandre Aja: But, I will not do it because it’s too challenging and it’s like one of the best movies ever made! But I think it’s something that has this interesting potential and also a subtext that is has on our society!
The Knockturnal: The movie had me on the edge of my seat! And I loved that it was very female empowering. A lot of females in the theater got that vibe- that a man doesn’t have to come and save you. So, how was it playing that role?
Kaya Scodelario: Well, that was precisely why I wanted to do it! It was the first script I read, probably in ten years, where I’m not someone’s girlfriend or I’m not having to kiss someone or just be in my underwear for no reason! I wanted a part that was a character! And she definitely is- there’s a story behind her, there’s a motivation, there’s survival. She’s just as badass as anyone else around her- even kind of more so than the one’s who don’t quite make it. That’s what I loved about her and that’s why I wanted to do it!
The Knockturnal: Did you have to do any training, any specific training? Especially in learning how to swim? Because you swam pretty fast!
Kaya Scodelario: Yes! I wanted to get the technicalities on the swimming down because it’s important to believe that she’s an athlete and she’s able to survive this situation. I trained at the London Aquatic Center for an hour everyday for like six weeks leading up to shooting. I worked out with a personal trainer to get my core strength up, and to just be able to swim eight hours a day in a tank- to just get through it. I was in the best shape of my life by the end of it. And, then I drank a whole lotta beer and..
The Knockturnal: [Laughs] And then gained that weight again!?
Kaya Scodelario: [Laughs] Yes!
The Knockturnal: I was wondering for actors: What mindset do you put yourself in when doing a horror film? Because it’s more of a heavier, darker kind of topic rather than these lighter movies. And, so what mindset would you put yourself in?
Kaya Scodelario: I wasn’t really prepared in how dark I was going to get or how depressing it was going to be! Because it really is intense everyday having to project fear and loneliness and all those things. But it was easy to tap into that; it was the first movie where I’m kind of on my own- I felt really lonely. Because I love being on set with people and boys are my best friends. I love that vibe with people on set. So, I’ve really dealt with the loneliness of it and the cold. The set was really realistic and made me feel like I was in this claustrophobic space. Then I would go home and my mom would make me dinner and I would cry and should would make me feel better [laughs].
The Knockturnal: Oh, how nice! That’s perfect! There’s a photo booth outside and we went and it was really interactive. And, the guy was like make believe this is your acting debut, and you’re falling in the water. And, so I have a picture of it [laughs].
Kaya Scodelario: [Laughs] Oh, me see!
The Knockturnal: [Shows photo] Well, this is a still shot. He said: “Yeah, this is more like Spring break mode!”
Kaya Scodelario: [Laughs] Yeah, you were like: “Yasss!” [Waves arms in air]
The Knockturnal: He was like: “Look scared!” And, I’m like: “I think I’m going to go in a different direction because we’re in Florida!” [Laughs]
Kaya Scodelario: I like that!!
The Knockturnal: Were there any pranks going on on set? Any scare pranks?
Kaya Scadelario: It was only really me there. You could say the biggest prank was people peeing in the water all the time. But I think that was just out of necessity. But that was what we had to do to get through the day.
The Knockturnal: Any projects upcoming?
Kaya Scodelario: I just finished shooting a Netflix series in Canada. I’m playing a bipolar figure-skater. So, slightly different.
The Knockturnal: [Laughs] Did you have to learn how to figure-skate for that role?
Kaya Scodelario: [Laughs] I had to learn how to figure-skate for that role. So, for my next role I want to be a competitive sunbather or TV watcher. I want to do something that I don’t have to train for. That’s a project that I’m really proud of; mental health is something that is very important to me, something that is close to my family. I’ve been looking for a project that I can represent that honestly and with integrity and I feel like this is it. It’s called Spinning Out and it should be out next year!