“The Orphanage” director Juan Antonio Bayona and writer Sergio Sanchez talked a lot about the film’s ambiguity after the pic unspooled at Variety’s Screening Series on Thursday at the ArcLight.
Sanchez sent the script to many production companies and workshops who told him that the script wasn’t worth being made.
“They said it was an impossible mixture of drama and horror and those two were like oil and water. They said it was way too ambiguous,” he explained. “Basically, all the things we liked about the script, they hated.”
Bayona agreed — that concoction was what drew him to the project. “It was a perfect balance between horror and emotion. There were all these deep feelings about faith and about spirituality. It was like a perfect puzzle.”
Sanchez’s main inspiration for putting “The Orphanage’s” pieces together was a picture in “Peter Pan” where a mother sits by the window waiting for her children to return from Neverland.
“When I saw that, I thought that was a very haunting image,” the scribe recalls. “I thought that if you told ‘Peter Pan’ from the point of view of the mother, then you had a horror story. ‘Peter Pan’ isn’t a horror story as it is but if you just turn it upside down.”