Vincenzo Natali on Splice
By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros
The history of movie creatures always seems to catch up with technology. There were the old school Frankenstein monsters, the radiation creatures and now the genetic anomalies of the past few decades. Splice follows with Dren (Delphine Chaneac) created by splicing human and animal DNA.
Vincenzo Natali Attempts to Splice
“Really, I have to say Dren is Delphine’s creation,” director Vincenzo Natali said. “I suggested things. I felt that she would be quite birdlike actually. In fact, really in terms of her evolution, Dren begins with her eyes on the side of her head denoting that she’s prey. Then over time, the eyes migrate to the front of her head so she becomes predator. So inevitably there’s a doe-like quality.”
In whatever evolution you see Dren, you’ll notice Chaneac. Even when it’s CGI or other actors, it’s actually Chaneac. “It’s truly Delphine. She spent quite a bit of time training, spent quite a bit of time by herself defining how Dren would move. In fact, she trained Abigail Chu who played child Dren and I even videotaped Delphine performing the baby and toddler Dren stages as reference for the animator. And it’s Delphine’s eyes that are used in every stage, so really she is Dren. It’s her throughout every stage.”
In person, Chaneac is a glamorous French beauty. Even in the film, she’s not bad looking, for a mutant. “In terms of designing Dren, there was always going to be a line between her being alluring but not wanting to be too sexual, on the other side of the line being too creature-like and repulsive. I feel like with Dren she walks that line, that we’re at once attracted to her and repulsed by her at the same time. That’s what makes her so fascinating as a creation. But really, it has everything to do with Delphine Cheneac who I think is just so wonderful and we were so fortunate to find because she just has all of those qualities. She has a sort of androgynous beauty but she’s very childlike. Yet she could be quite dangerous and you sense all those things are part of her DNA really. So yeah, really, Delphine in many respects informed our design.”
If you’re really into Dren, you’ll even get to see her naked, complete with CGI additions. However, the stripping of Dren is not a glamorous nude scene. “The scene which is the most disturbing scene for me, when Elsa cuts off Dren’s clothes, was a decision I made quite late in the process. At one point, I had decided that Dren would have hair and that Elsa would cut off Dren’s hair. But for aesthetic and pragmatic reasons, we decided to make Dren bald. So I felt that Elsa had to do something else to dehumanize her and it occurred to me well, she should cut off her clothes. I think when people watch the film they really respond to that moment when child Dren shows up in a dress and you suddenly realize that this is like Elsa’s child and it humanizes Dren. For me, the most disturbing scene in the entire film is that scene because she’s turning Dren back into an experiment. To me, that represents the most disturbing part of the human psyche, our ability to objectify each other and turn each other into something less than human. So that’s why the dress is cut off.”
Splice opens to theaters on June 4th.
For the trailers and more movie info, go the Splice
Sources: Image property of Warner Bros
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