Matthew Goode and Mia Wasikowska share a very strange relationship in their new drama Stoker. Directed by Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook, Wasikowska portrays India Stoker, who loses her father Richard (Dermot Mulroney) in a car accident on her 18th birthday. Goode plays India’s uncle Charlie, who after many years mysteriously arrives at Richard’s funeral.
Both India and her emotionally unstable mother, Evie (Nicole Kidman), are attracted to Charlie. But does he have an ulterior motive?
I spoke with Matthew and Mia about the movie and working with Park Chan-Wook, whom they affectionately call ‘Director Park.’
What was it about your characters that made you want to portray them?
Matthew: The role is so psychologically interesting, and you got to go on a little trip with it. It was confusing and brilliant.
I wanted to be involved with it, and luckily Director Park said I could be, which was thrilling.
Mia: For me it was the same thing, to work with Director Park and the cast.
India was a very different character to anything that I’ve played before, so I was excited about that.
It is such a strong piece of writing. The story is something I have never seen before. The dynamic between the characters is quite mysterious.
India is a really complex young woman. Without her father, she is completely disconnected from the world.
She is still a young girl, but she’s becoming a woman with dreams and fantasies, although they’re of a different nature than other girls’ dreams.
What is India’s relationship with her Uncle Charlie?
Mia: She’s not sure what he wants from her at first, and as she slowly finds out how much alike they are, it’s both terrifying and appealing. There’s a definite sexual tension between Charlie and Evie, as well as Charlie and India, so it’s up in the air as to who and what he’s really there for. You are never really sure – until you are.
How difficult is it when you have a cast that speaks a different language than the director?
Matthew: One of the first films I did was in Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish, and that’s as hard as it’s going to get doing a film in a different language. But this was really easy, when we got on set I didn’t think about it at all.
This is an example of Hollywood drawing on the best talent from all around the world, which I think is a brilliant thing. Director Park is a master of psychology, which is one of the reasons his films are so intelligent and believable.
Mia: During shooting, he let us sit for long moments in silence where seemingly not much was happening, but there was always a strong underlying tension. The longer we were there, the more it built. That approach was perfect for this material.
What was the set like between scenes, did you do anything to lighten up the atmosphere?
Mia: I’ve often found on the films that have a more serious nature, the more goofy, lightheaded and silly it becomes in between scenes, almost out of necessity to counter the intensity of the material. So I feel like we were pretty good at that.
Matthew is so much fun. 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.