A Cure For Wellness is a mind-bending psychological thriller that will leave you with lingering thoughts and an after-taste. It stars Dane DeHaan as Lockhart, a stockbroker who is sent by his firm to a remote medical spa to retrieve the companies CEO Pembroke, who has no plans of returning to New York. He arrives at the sanitarium where the patients are supposedly receiving a cure for their illnesses, however they only seem to be getting sicker. Lockhart starts investigating the spa and meets Hannah, played by Mia Goth. Soon after Lockhart is diagnosed with the same condition as the other patients rendering him trapped. He starts to lose his grip on reality while enduring unimaginable ordeals during the course of his own treatment. We spoke to Mia Goth, Dane DeHaan, and Gore Verbinski about the underlining stories, challenges, and impressions of the film.
How did you prepare for the role?
Mia Goth: One of the things that stuck me was that Hannah is much younger than anyone else in the sanitarium and she doesn’t quite fit in to this puzzle. One thing that I thought would be a good idea was to volunteer at an old persons home, to try to have an understanding of what it would be like to be around elderly people and to kind of get accustomed to that. I took a lot from that.
What was it like working with Gore Verbinski and Dane DeHaan?
Goth: Good, it was amazing. It really was. With Dane, I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time and I’ve always wanted to work with him. Gore, really knows what he wants. Always, like he would start work each day and he would know exactly what he would want from each shot and he wouldn’t compromise from that. That just makes you feel very safe and you know you can trust him. He’s got the whole film in his head at all times.
Hannah is so isolated, how did you approach that aspect of her?
Goth: I think that has to do with understanding Hannah’s a whole, do you know what I mean? She never left the sanitarium and so as a result of that her perspective of the world and her position in it and the people is quite peculiar and naive at times and maybe sometimes too trusting. So I kind of try and look at it from lens. A big part of that is being able to tap into my inner kid in many ways.
Were you presented with the full script when presented with the role?
Goth: I remember it very clearly, I got an email from my agent with the audition and the script. So I read the script that night, in one sitting from front to back. One of the things that struck me first was how well written it was. And I’d think I know where it was going and it took me to a completely different turn and it wouldn’t let you predict what was gonna happen at all. That was really exciting. To work with Gore in a genre he helped define with The Ring that was really exciting.
Seeing you in a tub full of Eels, was there something in the tub? What was it like shooting that scene?
Goth: No, no actually there was nothing in the tub, makes it sound more boring now doesn’t it. It was all CGI. They put a mold of me and my body in the bathtub and I had to lay in this awkward position for four hours and I watched Good Will Hunting and they fed me a Coca- Cola with a straw. The lower half was [CGI] and then some things i still don’t understand how they did it.
Was the bike ride easy?
Goth: After maybe seven tries then it got easy, but no, it was quite difficult at first. And the rig almost fell off the first time, that was pretty dangerous. It was a steep hill, it was pretty fun.
Do you enjoy beer? Did you have a real beer for the scene?
Goth: Yeah, I do. Heineken. I’m from London and that’s what we’d drink as teenagers. No, but I remember I said to Gore ‘I really like beer, gotta put something, it wasn’t beer, in here so I can react to it.’ So they put a lot of vinegar in it. Otherwise i’d be like yum.
What was the most surprising part when you read the script?
Goth: See if I answer that we’d be talking about spoilers and I don’t want to do that. I want to leave all the surprises.
What do you think of people trying to pursue wellness, trying to stay young?
Goth: It’s a thought-provoking film, every thing from the title on is really sparking a conversation. And it’s asking you some uncomfortable questions. Are you happy with your life? Are you content? Is this relentless pursuit of power and wealth are actually pointless. I think it’s very relevant in the climate that we’re in these days today and relatable. One of the people who people leave with when watching our movie it’s gonna make them think about the society we live in. That’s the other thing too, Gore doesn’t under estimate the audience. You really have to come into the movie with your head turned on, you probably have to watch it a couple of times.
This could possibly be a love story, not the typical run of the mill story. However Hannah could possibly be a hero.
Goth: I never read it and saw myself as the hero in any way, but I can see how you can see that. I see it more of her being the purity and the cure that everyone in the film is so desperately seeking. And I saw the relationship between Lockhart and Hannah, they were like a pin prick to one another, they were a mirror to one another. The good things and the not so good things. It’s only when they meet each other that this unraveling begins.
How do you feel about eternal life?
Goth: I wouldn’t seek out to extend my life. It’s about being in gratitude for what you have in the time you’re given. I think people can live and 80 year life and never be grateful. And only when you’re grateful can you be happy. It’s about being present and living in the moment and enjoying your day as it’s your last. It sounds cheesy, it’s a good philosophy to try and live by. I think that’s what the cure for wellness is, It’s gratitude. With the money you have, life and health.
Is there anything you learned from Hannah?
Goth: Patience. I think Hannah is an incredibly patient young woman and that’s something i’m still trying to work on myself.