Bad Times At The El Royale: Chris Hemsworth And Drew Goddard Interview

Bad Times At The El Royale – Chris Hemsworth interview

by Ben Travis |
Published on

Drew Goddard is a filmmaker who knows genre inside-out. He displayed his fantasy chops on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, honed character-based mythical sci-fi on Lost, and brought a new perspective to monster movies as the writer of Cloverfield. And with his directorial debut, The Cabin In The Woods, he teamed up with Joss Whedon to provide a love letter and savage critique of horror movies in playful, thrilling style. Now he’s back with Bad Times At The El Royale, an original crime-noir that twists tropes, time and place into a bold and gripping story.

Bad Times At The El Royale – Exclusive

“I’ve always loved crime fiction, I’ve always loved film noir,” he tells Empire, citing authors including Agatha Christie, Graham Greene, Dashiell Hammett, and James Ellroy as influences. “I wanted to play around in that space. This movie’s very much my love letter to crime fiction, and I wanted to take the very things that I loved about the genre and give my own spin on it.”

Bad Times takes place in 1969 at a hotel that straddles the state line between California and Nevada, bringing a set of mysterious strangers together for a night of double-triple-quadruple-crossing, secret identities, and violent cults. “We had this time of intense political turmoil in the United States, you watched John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy all get murdered in a five-year period,” says Goddard of the film’s very specific sense of time. “And then Richard Nixon took over and brought a unique kind of darkness to the land. And at the same time you saw this real renaissance of art and music, and I love that juxtaposition.”

Bad Times At The El Royale – Exclusive

For all its cultural observation and detail-oriented design, the film is at heart a genre ride, full of surprises and altering viewpoints. “It’s a type of film you don’t see very often these days, which I found hugely refreshing,” says Chris Hemsworth, who plays the shadowy (and shirtless) cult leader Billy Lee. “I love the psychological journey it takes you on. It’s the kind of film you see two or three times and you pick up more and more details, which I think is pretty special.”

Watch Empire’s full Drew Goddard and Chris Hemsworth interview here:

Bad Times At The El Royale is in cinemas now. Read the Empire review.

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