Bad Times at the El Royale (New Still)

Hey there, we just added the first production still from Cailee’s upcoming movie Bad Times at the El Royale to the photogallery. The movie seems very interesting, can’t wait to see it.

In this fall’s mystery-box thriller Bad Times at the El Royale, from writer-director Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods), seven strangers — all with secrets to bury — meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Already on hand to welcome them is a young concierge (Lewis Pullman).

Among the gathered rogues: a down-on-his-luck priest (Jeff Bridges), a singer named Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo), an impressionable Southern girl (Cailee Spaeny) and her older sister (Dakota Johnson), a vacuum cleaner salesman (Jon Hamm), and — perhaps most enigmatically — a charismatic and shirt-averse cult leader, played by Chris Hemsworth.

Over the course of one eventful night, each of these shady characters is offered a shot at redemption — that is, before everything goes to hell.

If that sounds vague, Goddard’s well-aware. “Like everything I do, it’s hard to describe in one sentence,” the writer-director tells EW, which can share three exclusive first look photos from the film (above and below). Goddard is wary of revealing too much about Bad Times, which he calls a “love letter” to ’60s film noir and crime fiction, as well as his shot at making a big ensemble picture.

“Rather than starting from an idea and a logline, this started from a basic premise: A bunch of characters check into a hotel on one night in 1969, and nobody is who they appear,” explains Goddard, who was Oscar-nominated for writing The Martian. “I started with that very simple concept, wrote the roles, and then let the characters dictate the story.”

Like The Cabin in the Woods, a gloriously meta riff on the horror genre, Bad Times takes place over the course of one eventful night, at a mysterious locale within which its characters are being watched (but by who exactly?), and features Hemsworth in a prominent role.

But don’t look for too many similarities between the projects, says Goddard. “The Cabin in the Woods was very much about the genre itself; this certainly is not. It’s more of a straightforward narrative.” What they have in common, he says, is a shared “sense of danger,” something he often finds is lacking in big-budget, franchise productions. “It definitely shares the boldness in choice that Cabin has,” he says of Bad Times. “We certainly don’t play it safe.”

Goddard was drawn to a setting he felt could evoke neon-stroked noir cinema while representing the same moral turmoil contained in his characters. “This is a country going through transition, a country whose dreams and hopes had been shattered and was facing darkness,” explains Goddard. “I found that background very interesting. 1969 was just a tumultuous time.”

Goddard is tight-lipped about which real-life historical figures could turn up at the El Royale, though he teases that “certain characters who were alive at the time” do appear.

Primarily, he sees Bad Times as a workout for his stars, a chance to pit some of his favorite actors against one another. “It really stems from wanting to give these actors a stage and let it explode outward from there,” he says.

Bad Times at the El Royale opens Oct. 5, but expect a trailer in the near future.

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