Canadian auteur Vincenzo Natali, the writer/director of the 1997 indie-horror mind-fuck Cube, is back with a provocative new sci-fi/horror morality tale set in the cold world of genetics research. Splice stars Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley as ambitious, albeit ethically-compromised, geneticists who find themselves in over their heads when they successfully splice human and animal DNA to create a hybrid female named Dren.
The film makes its long-awaited U.S. debut on Jan. 22 at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, Utah as part of the Sundance Film Festival’s Midnight Movie screenings.
In an exclusive Sundance Diary for Twitch, Natali describes his movie as:
… a meditation on the relationship between creature and creators. The story revolves around two brilliant geneticists who create hybrid organisms spliced from the genes of various animals. Their research has medical applications, and being young and adventurous, they target the top of the food chain: human DNA. Needless-to-say, mayhem ensues. But what makes SPLICE unique is that the true nature of the horror is emotional. And the ties that bind the scientists to their manufactured offspring is familial.
It is fusion of these two strands of cinematic DNA: creature feature and relationship story, that excited me about SPLICE. It’s also what made it a very hard film to finance.
Natali has been trying to get Splice made for nearly a decade. Budgeting issues and concern over the movie’s controversial themes had kept the project grounded. Natali writes:
Studios (and believe me, I met with every one them) were uncomfortable with the bizarre love triangle that formed the core of the story. And yet given the cost of creating Dren, a creature who we watch grow from a single cell to a fully mature adult, SPLICE was never going to be a low budget affair. Most of my ten years seeking this personal grail was spent on my knees. Begging for money.
It was only when Gaumont (France’s oldest film studio) showed interest that I dared to believe SPLICE would really become more than a script gathering dust in my office. It probably helps that the French are not squeamish about sex, and when confronted with human-hybrid relations… pourquoi pas? Add to that the involvement of the ubiquitous and magnificent Guillermo Del Toro, who championed the film in the States, and my extraordinary producer Steve Hoban along with Telefilm Canada, and I had an unholy trifecta of passion from across the globe, without which the impossible would never have been possible.
Guillermo del Toro, who serves as executive producer on the film, sums things up this way:
Vincenzo is taking Splice to really edgy places. He understands that true horror needs to be morally dangerous.
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