Warner Bros. Will Take On Ryan Gosling’s ‘How to Catch a Monster’ + More From ‘Only God Forgives’

Between the production announcements for Wim Wender’s Every Thing Will Be Fine and Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs, this has been a great week for anticipating 2014’s most coveted releases. But just in time for Ryan Gosling to head to Cannes for the premiere of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives, it’s been announced that his directorial debut How to Catch a Monster, has been picked up by Warner Bros. Back in January, we reported that English actor Matt Smith, best known for Dr. Who would be leading the picture opposite Christina Hendricks and alongside Eva Mendes and Ben Mendelsohn. 

Penned by Gosling, How to Catch a Monster is a surrealist dreamscape of a film that takes place in a vanishing city, centering on a single mother being swept into a macabre and dark fantasy underworld when her teenage son discovers a secret road leading to an under watch town. It was alluded to a few months ago that the film had some "Lynchian" elements about it—but nowadays that just means it’s probably psychologically stirring with haunting surrealist undertones. However, if it is indeed "Lynchian" in the term’s most academic definition, that would a delight. And for an actor that has been working for over a decade now alongside some of film’s most acclaimed and beloved directors—from Refn to Terrence Malick and Derek Cianfrance—one can only hope that he’s absorbed a bit of their craft, technical skill, and eye for telling authentic and emotional stories in a wonderfully cinematic way. 
 
But before we can even get our selves excited for How to Catch a Monster, we’re still counting down the days until Only God Forgives rolls into US theaters this July to punch is right in the gut and pack that Refn sense of style and kinetic energy we’ve been missing. So although we’ve seen about a million photos, trailers, clips, etc. for the Thai boxing thriller, there are still more rolling out. Today we’re graced with another poster for the film—a tinted blue design that’s not quite as enticing as the last, but it’s Ryan Gosling, so who’s complaining? The type harkens back to Drive‘s incredible hot pink credits but we’ve been assured by Gosling that this film is much, much different.
 
So check out the new look at the film, along with a few more photos and read Refn’s full director’s statement below.
The original concept for the film was to make a movie about a man who wants to fight God. That is, of course, a very vast obstacle but when I was writing the film, I was going through some very existential times in my life – we were expecting our second child and it was a difficult pregnancy – and the idea of having a character who wants to fight God without knowing why very much appealed to me.
 
With that as the concept, I elaborated by adding a character who believes he is God (Chang), obviously the antagonist, with the protagonist being a gangster who is looking for religion to believe in (Julian). This itself is, of course, very existential because faith is based on the need for a higher answer but most of the time, we don’t know what the question is. When the answer comes, then, we must backtrack our lives in order to find the question. In this way, the film is conceived as an answer, with the question revealed at the end.
 
With hindsight, I am able to see the similarities between Chang and One Eye in Valhalla Rising, and Driver in Drive – all are rooted in fairytale mythology and have difficulties living in the everyday world. I can see that technically, there is a resemblance in their stoic behavior, silence, and fetishistic portraits even though they live in different times and are portrayed by different actors. In Valhalla Rising, One Eye is enigmatic – we don’t know his past but he is defined by his name. In Drive, Driver is defined by his function. And in Only God Forgives, Chang is first of all defined by his enigmatic behaviour, to such an extent that he becomes a disembodied character, an ‘it’, defined not by his name but solely by his image.
 
In a way, Only God Forgives is like an accumulation of all the films I’ve made so far. I think I was heading toward a creative collision, full speed ahead, in order to change everything around me and to see what would come after. I have always said that I set out to make films about women but I end up making films about violent men. Now that everything is colliding, it may end up turning things upside-down for me. This collision is exciting because everything around me becomes so uncertain and we must not forget that the second enemy of creativity, after having ‘good taste’, is being safe.
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