Spanish filmmaker Ignacio "Nacho" Vigalondo has built an international reputation for the singular vision he's displayed on films like Timecrimes and Open Windows, but his latest project is undoubtedly his most far-reaching. Starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, Colossal is a kaiju monster movie that uses familiar rom-com beats to develop dramatic tension about the ways men try to maintain control over women.
Initially, Vigalondo just wanted to try his hand in the low-budget monster genre. He started with a concept where a person could miraculously control a monster on the opposite side of the world. The final version of Colossal offers so much more than that initial pitch, dismantling the male ego and emerging with a staunchly feminist message.
"I didn't attempt to write this until I found out what was the movie about, and what was happening with the two characters," he says. "I'm a male, and I was born in 1977, and I tend to question myself and my ways. For me, the big transition was when I had the wit to turn the main character into a female character. Once I had that change, the movie had a different kind of power."
Placing social issues within the context of a popcorn movie puts Colossal in a similar position as Jordan Peele's wildly successful Get Out.
"When I think of my childhood, it felt like you had to make either a genre film or a social commentary," Vigalondo says. "It felt like those two kinds of films were separated: you can make a funny film with horror or monsters, or you could make a drama about social issues. It felt like there was a big frontier between those two choices. But there's space for movies to be really funny and relevant at the same time."