Recently we had the pleasure of sitting down briefly with Nacho Vigalondo, the director of the time travel film everyone’s talking about, TimeCrimes (review), to get the skinny on the flick! Dig it!
Uncle Creepy: How did you decide on Timecrimes for your feature length debut?
Nacho Vigalondo: It came through my love with hard sci-fi, the twisted one, more than the space opera stuff. I wanted to exploit paradoxes, impossible twists, putting a character against the edge again and again… And doing it with the shape of an old cheap crime B-movie.
UC: What most interested you about the story?
NV: First, I wrote several drafts in which I tried to prove myself my skills trying to make a real time-time travel-one location story about a lone character that becomes the victim, the killer and the man behind the curtain. It was only a private challenge. But when the girl came to the story, and I found out that the main character would have to re-create an erotic fantasy to chase himself… Well, that was the moment I found there was a movie there.
UC: How did you decide on Karra Elejalde for the role of Hector?
NV: When his name came, I couldn’t help thinking of him as Hector. He has played awesome ambiguous characters more than one in the past. For example, in “The Dead Mother” (the Juanma Bajo Ulloa film from the Nineties), he is a clown and a serial killer at the same time. He can be friendly and creepy simultaneously, with apparently no effort.
UC: What was the hardest element of the shoot?
NV: When you are dealing with such a story like this you have to be very careful shoot-by-shoot about what to show and what to hide. The whole technical script was, somehow, a puzzle I had to solve.
UC: How long did it take you to map out the various events so nothing contradicted anything else?
NV: More drafts of the script than I would like. Anyway, making everything match is complicated, but the whole challenge is giving dramatic nature to all the elements. It had to match, but at the same time it had to be feel and mean something.
UC: Timecrimes has played all over the world at this point and we’re sure fans have had plenty to say about it and its theories. What’s the best, coolest, or most outrageous reaction the film has received?
NV: Well, the Japanese audience asked me about my Catholic roots. Man, I have to assume those guys were right!
UC: What are your thoughts on time travel as an actual reality?
NV: I´m obsessed with the narrative possibilities of time travel more than the actual possibilities of making the machine. I´m more interested in teleportation. Please, scientists, rush your investigations on this! I want to teleport before I die!
UC: How do you feel Magnolia has dealt with the film’s release?
NV: Incredibly surprised and honored. This is my first film, and I was ready to assume this movie could end its trip showed in ten festivals and down to Spanish DVD, period. Magnolia has turned my first flick into the dream of every young director.
UC: Any thoughts on the proposed remake?
NV: I tell you the same, this is my first film. Maybe if I were an angry old European filmmaker with a long career and a big prestige I would be skeptical about an American remake, but, man… Steve Zaillian produces and Tim Sexton (Children of Men) writes! And they will let me visit the set one morning! Don´t forget that I´m a director, but I´m still a nerd.
UC: And most importantly; if you could travel through time to any era, where would you go?
NV: I would visit myself ten years ago and I would tell to myself “Stop crying, you´ll make a film some day. It will be cheap, but you won´t be very embarrassed”.