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While the European Film Market won’t come around for another seven months, the Barcelona-based distributor Film Factory Entertainment already has a potential project ready for buyers to snatch up with the Spanish psychological thriller Purgatorio from Apaches Entertainment. And since it always helps to attract actors with international appeal, they’ve lucked out in landing Game of Thrones actress Oona Chaplin for the lead role, which will transfer her from Westeros to the most haunting place of all: the home. (Cue the thunder and lightning.)
Chaplin, the daughter of actress Geraldine Chaplin and granddaughter of the legendary Charlie Chaplin, will play a young woman who does her neighbor the kind service of babysitting his son Daniel (Sergi Mendez) for the evening. And how does that neighbor show appreciation? By never returning. As Daniel’s behavior turns erratic and violent, he begins to insist there is another boy lurking around the house, one only he can see. The limited cast is rounded out by Andrews Gertrudix (The Orphanage) and Ana Fernandez (Talk to Her). This sounds a hell of a lot better than most of the babysitter movies that plague the horror/thriller landscape, and it’s got some talent behind it.
While this will be the first feature for director Catalan Pau Teixidor, who landed the job after an online campaign from Cine365 and Apaches, he created the short film Leyenda, which won the Jury Prize at 2012’s genre-centric Fantasia Festival. As well, the script for Purgatorio was written by Luis Moreno (Lalola) with some script doctoring by Sergio G. Sánchez, who wrote J.A. Bayona’s spooky 2007 thriller The Orphanage and Bayona’s 2012 disaster drama The Impossible. The script was chosen out of 200 candidates by BoxOffice Script, a Spanish consulting agency. It goes without saying this had better be a damned spooky affair.
Producers are hoping Chaplin’s name is enough to bring in audiences, as the Spanish box office is nothing to be jealous of, slammed with piracy and exorbitant sales tax on movie tickets. On the bright side, Spanish filmmakers are still something of an untapped source of genius, and most genre efforts tend to be thrillers that retain their darkness despite telling stories that don’t require hard R ratings. As well, there’s a stronger female presence in Spanish cinema, which attracts female audiences.
And those audiences, at least those in the U.K., probably recognize Chaplin, whose father is famed Chilean cinematographer Patricio Castilla, from more than just Game of Thrones. She starred in the Golden Globe-nominated Cold War drama The Hour and as Dr. Watson’s girlfriend in an episode of the BBC’s Sherlock. She’s currently starring in the raunchy romantic drama Dates, from the creators of Skins, and will soon star with her mother in the mystery thriller Remember It.
English subtitles included, here is Teixidor’s short Leyenda for your viewing pleasure.