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Comic-Con '11: Nicolas Winding Refn Says Getting His Cast Together For 'Drive' Was "Like Sex"

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist July 21, 2011 at 11:02AM

Panels and press conferences are pretty straightforward: get together the cast and crew, show some footage and answer some questions. But the folks at FilmDistrict had a bit of a light bulb "Eureka!" moment, deciding to pair up their films "Drive" and "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark" in one panel and let two very chatty folks in Nicolas Winding Refn and Guillermo Del Toro share the stage and the result was one of the most entertaining panels of this still young Comic-Con, providing enough quips and quotes to fill a phone book. So here are some of the highlights.
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Panels and press conferences are pretty straightforward: get together the cast and crew, show some footage and answer some questions. But the folks at FilmDistrict had a bit of a light bulb "Eureka!" moment, deciding to pair up their films "Drive" and "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark" in one panel and let two very chatty folks in Nicolas Winding Refn and Guillermo Del Toro share the stage and the result was one of the most entertaining panels of this still young Comic-Con, providing enough quips and quotes to fill a phone book. So here are some of the highlights.

"It's like playing Russian roulette. Once you realize the casting is in place, it's like sex. You realize it's not going to get any better," said Refn about his film that boasts Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston and Oscar Isaac. Based on the novel by James Sallis, Refn’s reportedly lean-and-mean picture stars Ryan Gosling in the lead role as a stunt driver moonlighting as a getaway-driver-for-hire who gets mixed up with the wrong people. Reviews from Cannes were ecstatic with Refn taking home Best Director.

And if you have any doubts or hesitations just listen to Del Toro who said, quite simply, "Go see this fucking movie now." And indeed, Comic-Can fans are in for a treat as a surprise screening followed by a Q&A was announced for tonight in San Diego.

For this terse, stoic film, Refn compared it to a Brothers Grimm fairy tale saying, "Ryan would be the knight, Carey would be the princess who needs to be saved, and Ron is the dragon." But Perlman didn't quite get the comparison. Pressed to talk about his character, the actor said, "When I read the script, Nino didn't exist. He was just a sketch...When you say 'action,' some shit's going to happen."

As for the delicate seeming Mulligan, she reveals that she pursued the project pretty heavily, eager just to do something with a bit of edge to it. "It wasn't initially anything to do with the script or the character. It was Nic," she said. "I had seen 'Bronson,' and last August I saw 'Valhalla Rising.' I emailed my agent and said, 'I just want to work with someone like Nic'....I went to Nic's house and sort of muscled my way into the part."

At any rate Refn and Del Toro seemed to get on smashingly, with the former saying, "On 'Logan's Run,' I may call Guillermo to help me out with a few tricks." On some level, they at least seem to share the same philosophy of uncompromising films with Del Toro saying about 'Afraid Of The Dark' that, "One of the first duties of a horror movie is to be a fuck you." Harsh dude.

"Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark" opens on August 26th, while "Drive" hits on September 16th. --reporting by Kimber Myers

This article is related to: Films, Actresses, Foreign Directors, Guillermo del Toro, Modern Horror, Drive, Carey Mulligan, Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark, Nicolas Winding Refn


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