Sarah Polley on Being the Bad Mommy of ‘Splice’

On Elsa being an actor’s dream role:

It was the best character I’ve ever read for a woman. I’ve never wanted to play a part that badly. What’s great about her is there is something very human and damaged about her, but she also just goes to places where her sense of ambition and manipulation and drive is so overwhelmingly human. I think that’s such an amazing thing to have to try and connect with and empathize with and play. It was a pretty amazing experience.

On playing an unsympathetic character:

I think that there aren’t enough unsympathetic characters to play in movies generally. I think that there’s this huge pressure – “How can we make what she does sympathetic?” Whenever you’re making a film, the script notes are always about how to make people more sympathetic. But I think ultimately we all run into people in our lives that aren’t at all. It’s interesting to get to know why, but it’s not necessarily interesting to make them likable. So I think we can understand why Elsa is the way she is. She’s had a pretty neglectful, isolating childhood that she never dealt with, and instead, like many people do, she just tried to zoom out of it and make it go away by drowning it in ambition and achievement and accomplishment, and living life too fast. I think we can understand how she gets where she gets. But I don’t think we have to like her all the time. [Laughs.]

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Why Guillermo del Toro says you MUST see Splice

Guillermo del Toro movies have wonderful, awesome creatures in them, so if he’s saying you have to see Splice, there may be something to it. He produced the film because he felt writer/director Vincenzo Natali took the creature feature in bold new directions.

“It takes you places where normally movies in the genre want to play it safe,” del Toro said in a conference call on May 27, while he was in New Zealand, and before we learned that he’d quit The Hobbit. “It’s not very often that a major release also gets to tamper with the moral borders that we dare not to cross.”

In Natali’s film, scientists create a new species by splicing human and animal DNA. Where it goes from there, well, you’ve just got to see it.

“There is always a line in the whole structure of the creator/monster myth,” del Toro said. “There’s a line that never gets crossed, from the earliest myth of Frankenstein, for the Golem, there is always a familial relationship. There can be father and son or neglected son and father. There’s always family dynamics at the center. With Splice, Vincenzo has made a really sick family dynamic within the characters of the piece that is Splice. If they do want to see a couple of those lines crossed, fully crossed by the filmmakers, they should go see Splice.”

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Splice looks freaky from the previews I’ve seen. Do you plan on seeing it after all you’ve heard and seen?