Exclusive BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE interviews, impressions and posters!

One of the most mysterious films slated for release over the next few months is definitely Drew Goddard’s BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE. While a prolific writer (“Buffy: The Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”, “Lost”, “Daredevil” and THE MARTIAN), this is only his second feature, following the cult classic CABIN IN THE WOODS. By design an enigmatic film, with only a short trailer so far to clue us in to what kind of film we’ll be watching, Fox, clearly high on the project, invited some press out to Lake Tahoe this weekend to take a look at some footage, as well as interview Goddard and cast members Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm and Dakota Johnson.

I was lucky enough to attend for JoBlo.com, and while I only got to see a few minutes of footage (basically one scene) and a new trailer, I do have a little more insight as to what it’s about that I can share. As shown by the first trailer, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo and Callee Spaeny are strangers staying at the run down El Royale Hotel (in mid 1969), to be joined later by an enigmatic figure played by Chris Hemsworth. None of them are who they say they are, with Hamm posing as a Mississippi accented vacuum cleaner salesman, Bridges a priest, Erivo a soul singer, and Johnson and Spaeny hippies.

The sequence we saw showed Hamm’s character taking apart his room to discover numerous listening devices (bugs), while also finding a secret passage that connects all rooms and spies on them, allowing him to see all the guests have similarly dismantled their rooms to find the bugs, followed by a revelation I won’t spoil here. The whole thing is done as a dazzling tracking shot, where Erivo, who seems like a rising star (and also appears in Steve McQueen’s WIDOWS) sings “This Old Heart of Mine” by the Isley Brothers. The quick presentation was wrapped up by a new, soon-to-be released trailer, scored to Frankie Valli’s haunting, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”

Despite having seen the footage, I still can’t really say what it’s about, except that it ties into the chaos of the era (following the MLK Jr and RFK assassinations, escalation in Vietnam and the Manson Family murders), as well as the mob ties of the famous Cal-Neva resort, which apparently inspired the El Royale. With so much of it shrouded in mystery, I asked the cast members on-hand how they’d describe the film, and each had high praise for the its originality.

Meanwhile, Drew Goddard, after confirming to me that, yes, he’s still doing X-FORCE (although an actual production start is in his words “a way’s off”), gave me a little insight into the project, and what he thinks of spoiler culture in general.

The new trailer should drop soon, but to tide you over, here are some new character posters from the film, which comes out this fall, and may have a presence on the fall festival circuit, given how amazing the finished version apparently is. It certainly looks like a unique crime thriller with plenty of surprises in-store, and certainly after being on this junket, it’s rocketed up to the top of my must-see list.

Source: Joblo.com



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