“Only when we know what ails us can we hope to find the cure”
From visionary director, Gore Verbinski, A CURE FOR WELLNESS is a chilling and mind-bending psychological thriller. Dane DeHaan stars as Lockhart, a driven Wall Street stockbroker who is sent by his firm to a remote alpine medical spa. Lockhart is on a mission to retrieve the company’s CEO, Pembroke (Harry Groener), a patient at the spa, who has told his staff that he has no intention of returning to New York. Lockhart arrives at the tranquil sanitarium where the residents are supposedly receiving a miracle cure. In fact though, they seem to be getting sicker. As he investigates the dark and baffling secrets behind the spa, he meets a young woman, the hauntingly beautiful Hannah (Mia Goth), a patient herself. He also gets to know another patient, the eccentric Mrs. Watkins, played by Celia Imrie, who has done some detective work of her own. Soon, Lockhart is diagnosed with the same condition as the other patients by the institution’s director, the ominous Dr. Volmer (Jason Isaacs), and finds that he is trapped in the alpine retreat. Lockhart begins to lose his grip on reality and has to endure unimaginable ordeals during the course of his own ‘treatment’.
In the tradition of Verbinski’s indelible 2002 classic, THE RING, the Academy Award® winning filmmaker brings his inimitable style and vision to A CURE FOR WELLNESS. Atmospheric and visually breathtaking, the film is compelling and thought provoking, exploring the true meaning of wellness and the trappings of avarice and power, while asking what fulfillment really means.
Embarking on A CURE FOR WELLNESS, Verbinski wanted to make a thriller with the depth, insight and power of classics in the genre that he admired, such as THE SHINING (Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film), DON’T LOOK NOW (Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 film) and ROSEMARY’S BABY (Roman Polanski’s 1968 film). The idea of a quick fix cure, together with society’s malaise and the obsession with perfect health were topics that fascinated Verbinski, whose films include the hugely successful PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise and the Academy Award® winning animated film, RANGO. “We started exploring the notion of a health spa in the Alps, a wellness center that doesn’t actually make you well,” says Verbinski, “and it slowly evolved from there. It became pretty clear to us that this was going to be a genre piece, and we started playing around with the concept of inevitability. It’s the sense that there is a sickness, a sort of black spot on your x-ray that won’t go away!”
Verbinski sat down with screenwriter Justin Haythe (THE LONE RANGER, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD). “I had an idea bouncing around in my head for some time from various influences and preoccupations, but it mostly came from a suspicion of medicine,” says Haythe, who was inspired by the work of German writer Thomas Mann and by psychiatrist Carl Jung. “The film really concerns the pollution of our minds and bodies in the modern world and our obsession with purity as a result of that.”
One of Hollywood’s most exciting young actors, the gifted and charismatic Dane DeHaan (KILL YOUR DARLINGS, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, LIFE) was thrilled about taking on the role of Lockhart and working with Verbinski. “To listen to Gore’s vision and hear how passionate he was about it, and then to read the script and understand what a challenging role it was—that was irresistible,” says DeHaan. “My character goes through so much in this film, it’s crazy. And this was an opportunity to work with a great filmmaker.”