Splice, opening Friday, deals with the abuse of science and the ways in which genetic engineering could go horribly wrong. But it's not an anti-science film, insists director Vincenzo Natali, who talked to us at Wondercon.
Natali points out that he worked with scientists in the making of this film, and the more he worked on it, the more he realized that "truth is stranger than fiction." The real-life science that's happening now is much more bizarre and exotic than the work that's depicted in Splice. And it's important work that helps people.
So in no way do I want this film to be interpreted as an anti-biotechnology, anti-biomedicine film. What these people do is important, great work. What the film, I think, does say is that these are very powerful tools that we're working with, very powerful forces. And we have to approach them in the mature and cautious way. And the lead characters, played by Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, are very young, very smart, very ambitious, and they understand life in its chemical form, but they don't really understand the essence of what life means, what life is. And that's where things go wrong.
And really, in some ways, this is a movie about discovering the human in the monster and the monster in the humans. And it's really about what emerges in the scientists after they create this thing, and what kind of doors this creation unlocks in them. So that's really what this film is focusing on. It's not necessarily saying the science is bad, or even the pursuit of that kind of science is bad - it's really a question of what human being do with that kind of technology.
And Natali stresses that the movie is very close to real-life science, and while he was working on it, researchers managed to clone Dolly the sheep and the U.K. legalized the creation of human-animal hybrids, so it's not far off from what's really happening.
Natali also explains that the extra editing that took place after Warner Bros. picked the film up was only aimed at improving it and strengthening a few sections, now that Natali had some more money to work with - everything that was dangerous and disturbing about the film remains intact in the final version. And in fact, producer Joel Silver's main fear was that Natali would tone the movie down in the final edit.
Here's a new internet-only trailer that just came out:
The messed-up, edgy nature of the film's material was the main reason why Polley was so eager to star in it, Natali told a group of reporters off-camera. She kept reading through the script, thinking it couldn't possibly go there — and then it did. And Natali described this film as a reversal of Frankenstein — Mary Shelley's tale of mad science is a father-son story, but Splice is entirely a mother-daughter story, with Polley's character and her genetically engineered "daughter" at the center of the film.
Splice is in theaters this Friday, June 4.