Remember that famous song by The Eagles? “Hotel california” — yeah, and that creepy line in the song: “You can check in anytime you want, but you can never leave?” That’s definitely the case in the movie “Bad Times at the El Royale.” Tonight, I’m talking to the cast about their suspenseful and blood-spattering new movie.
Jon Hamm (as Laramie): “First time at the El Royale?”
Seven strangers get to know each other way more than they ever wanted to in “Bad Times at the El Royale.”
Lewis Pullman (as Miles): “This is not a place for a priest, father. You shouldn’t be here.”
Each character is drawn to the hotel looking for some kind of redemption, so they check in.
Shireen Sandoval: “Ultimately, why do you think these seven people were drawn together in one place, in a most unusual place?”
Jeff Bridges: “It was the juke box.”
Shireen Sandoval (waving her arms): “It was the music.”
Jeff Bridges: “The hotel was like a character in the movie.”
Shireen Sandoval: “Yes, of course.”
Jeff Bridges: “I think it has almost a magical aspect to it. It’s like drawing people. It’s part of the great mystery.”
Cynthia Erivo: “They are all lost and they are all searching for something, and this hotel happens to be what draws them all in.”
While the ensemble cast is dripping with well-known actors, it’s theater star, Cynthia Erivo, who steals the show. She plays singer Darlene Sweet.
Shireen Sandoval: “Your voice! I’m beside myself.”
Cynthia Erivo: “Thank you.”
Shireen Sandoval: “Revelation.”
Jeff Bridges: “Whoa, what a treat to work with.”
Shireen Sandoval: “Did you go home singing anything from the movie? Like humming, you couldn’t get it out of your mind?”
Cynthia Erivo: “Yeah, there were a couple of songs I couldn’t get out of my mind. The one (singing), ‘You can’t hurry love.'”
Shireen Sandoval: “Yeah”
Cynthia Erivo: “It’s the one I auditioned with.”
Shireen Sandoval (singing): “You can’t hurry love.”
Cynthia Erivo (singing): “You just have…”
Shireen Sandoval (singing): “…to wait”
Cynthia Erivo: “It was always in my head.”
Shireen “Yes, yes.”
Cynthia Erivo: “But they are all such beautiful songs because they’re all from that time.”
While the movie starts out fairly normal, it turns into a blood-spattering thriller. And the hotel? Two-way mirrors, secret rooms and spying on guests are the way things roll here.
Shireen Sandoval: “If there was a moment in history you could see from behind a two-way mirror, no one would know you were there, what would it be?”
Cynthia Erivo: “Oh, that’s a good question.”
Jeff Bridges: “That meeting with the Russians.”
Shireen Sandoval: “That would be good!”
Cynthia Erivo: “I think I’d like to peer into the ’30s just to see…”
Shireen Sandoval: “…what it would be like.”
Lewis Pullman: “Probably the Elvis and Nixon meeting.”
Shireen Sandoval: “Oh, that’s a good one.”
The cast wanted to know what Shireen would want to see.
Shireen Sandoval: “Mine would be Walter Cronkite, his last news program when he signed off. I would want to know what happened after.”
Jon Hamm: “You would want to know what happens post Cronkite’s farewell.”
Shireen Sandoval: “Yeah, I would love to see that.”
Dakota Johnson: “Wow, that’s cool. That’s a really good answer.”
John Hamm: “I would wanna be behind to see Lee Harvey Oswald on the sixth floor of the Texas school book depository.”
Shireen Sandoval: “That’s a good one.”
John Hamm: “To see where he goes and why he does it.”
“Bad Times at the El Royal” is beautifully shot. The lighting, the editing — it’s magic. But some of its violent scenes get long in the tooth.
Luckily, the stellar acting saves it. Glamorous, gruesome and great — “Bad Times at the El Royale” is definitely worth seeing.
“Bad Times at the El Royal” hits theaters this Friday.
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