The Predator in Matthew Goode: “STOKER”

STK-4596.NEFOn her 18th birthday, India Stoker’s (Mia Wasikowska) father dies in a tragic car accident. Her only source of strength and comfort now gone, India now finds herself lost and unable to connect to the people around including her unstable mother Evie, played by Nicole Kidman. On the day of her father’s funeral, her father’s long lost brother Uncle Charlie surfaces and decides to stay with them. At first doubtful of her Uncle Charlie, Mia surprisingly finds herself drawn to him in a fascinating way she never thought possible.

As Uncle Charlie reveals himself to her, India becomes increasingly infatuated with her charismatic relative and comes to realize that his arrival is no coincidence. With her uncle to guide her, she is about to find out that in her blood runs a stream of evil that her father had long protected her from.

The enigmatic man at the center of the family conflict is played by Matthew Goode, a British import previously seen in Tom Ford’s critically acclaimed “A Single Man,” opposite Oscar® winner Colin Firth, and as the Greek god-like super hero Ozymandias in “Watchmen.” “Matthew is just so much fun,” says Wasikowska. “Our relationship off-screen was the polar opposite of what it was on screen. He can be really goofy, so it was a challenge to keep a straight face working with him.”

STK-1057.NEFUncle Charlie is shrouded in mystery throughout the film. His motives remain hidden until nearly the end. “The audience never knows for sure what goes on in his mind,” says director Park. “He loved his brother so much, and his love for his brother is transferred to India. He is a mentor figure who turns up to complete India. Matthew matched the image I had in my head—the innocence, humor, elfishness. He has the mischievous sparkle and elegant delicacy of someone who can’t hurt a fly. These are all the perfect qualities for Uncle Charlie.”

Goode was equally certain that he wanted to be part of Park’s English language debut. “This is an example of Hollywood drawing on the best talent from all around the world, which I think is a brilliant thing,” Goode says. “Director Park is a master of psychology, which is one of the reasons his films are so intelligent and believable.”

“This kind of script doesn’t come around every day,” Goode continues. “It has all the right ingredients to move an audience, as well as to scare and provoke them. It’s a beautiful love story, in a twisted way. Charlie has been waiting for years, keeping in touch with Mrs. McGarrick, the housekeeper, to learn all about India. At first you think you know who Charlie is, but as the story evolves, you realize he’s extremely complicated and dangerous,” he says. “Nothing is what it appears. He wants to be around his family, so he uses Evie. He can’t really stay there unless she is attracted to him. But Charlie is extremely unbalanced and he has feelings for India that are not at all uncle-like. The challenge for me was that rather than being simply evil, he has to have a center to him that we like, which is disorienting and quite scary.”

“Matthew is compellingly attractive as Charlie,” Kidman adds. “That’s really such a good thing for Uncle Charlie to be. You believe that Evie would desire him and want his attention. He’s the first person for a long time to give her attention. And then Matthew, of course, has such talent. I expect to see him become a huge star.”

 

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“Stoker” opens March 1 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

KOREAN FILMMAKER PARK CHAN-WOOK DIRECTS HIS FIRST ENGLISH MOVIE – “STOKER”

STK-8778.RW2Chan-Wook – who goes by the name Director Park on set – is one of the most celebrated and popular filmmakers in Korea, his work known for its very precise framing and violent subject matter. His earliest films were not a huge success, and he initially supplemented his income as a film critic. It was 2000’s “Joint Security Area” that would help him break through, and by 2004 he’d won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival for “Oldboy.” Director – and fan – Quentin Tarantino, as head judge, personally pushed for him to also be awarded the Palme d’Or.
Filmmaker Park Chan-Wook has created a singular b  ody of work during his more than 20 years as a writer, director and producer of some of Korean cinema’s most innovative and original movies, crafting feverish scenarios that combine lyrical beauty with shattering acts of violence and operatic emotion.  “Stoker” is a dark and disturbing thriller about a mysterious and isolated American family.  Even the film’s title makes metaphorical allusion to evil, invoking the name of Dracula author Bram Stoker, whose groundbreaking novel is as much about an opportunist who preys on the innocent as it is the supernatural world of the vampire.
Best known for his “The Vengeance Trilogy” in his native South Korea – including 2003’s critically lauded Oldboy – director, screenwriter and producer Park Chan-Wook tackles his first American movie with “Stoker.”  He continued to have great success – three of his movies are in the thirty highest grossing films of all time in South Korea – and continued to push boundaries: his 2011 film Paranmanjang was shot entirely on an iPhone.
Now he brings his incredible talents for the first time to the States, directing a script by former “Prison Break” star Wentworth Miller. Stoker follows the story of India Stoker (Wasikowska), whose father dies in an auto accident. Soon after, her Uncle Charlie (Goode), who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her emotionally unstable mother Evie (Kidman). Soon after his arrival, she comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives, but instead of feeling outrage or horror, this friendless girl becomes increasingly infatuated with him.
Over the past two decades, Park Chan-Wook has established a rotating troupe of actors with whom he works regularly in Korea. He has developed an intensely collaborative method of working hand-in-hand with his favorite performers to flesh out and fully define the unusual and original characters that people his films. For his first American movie, he had to put together a new creative family of actors with the same kind of sensitivity, intelligence and talent.
“I am especially excited for audiences to see this film for the performances by these wonderful actors,” says the director. “They are each at different stages of their lives and careers, and are rather different kinds of actors from each other. Seeing how they come together so successfully is worth experiencing.”
Park’s extensive preparation makes it easier for him to shoot quickly and precisely. “My style of filmmaking involves very specific camera movements,” he explains. “I edit the film in my head well in advance, so working in the conventional manner, with long masters and lots of coverage, does not work for me.”
The film’s shooting schedule was abbreviated compared to the customary pace in Korea, which also affected the way the camera was used. “Having to capture the scenes so quickly made it difficult to use the long elaborate camera movements I am known for,” Park says. “But this may have a better effect on the film. When such shots are used only in the most memorable way, it increases the tension.”
“Stoker” is a fitting addition to Park’s acclaimed canon of work, according to producer Costigan. “Like all of Director Park’s films, it is primal, but also poetic and human. It’s about overwhelming emotion and its intersection with violence. He was able to craft Wentworth Miller’s riveting script into something even scarier, surprising, beautiful and lush, even funny at times. Everyone involved with the film feels very proud to have been able to help director Park make a true ‘Park Chan-Wook film’ in America.”
Startling family secrets are about to be revealed when “Stoker” opens March 1 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.