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Crawl: The Summer Thriller We Needed

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By: Dantee Ramos

July 10, 2019

Crawl is the summer thriller we didn’t know we needed. Where is the Buzz had the chance to sit down with the lead actress Kaya Scodelario who plays Haley and Director Alexandre Aja. Crawl delivers big time with edge of your seat scenes. Hold on to your popcorn because you will jump out of your seats. This installments reminds us that what’s beneath the surface is much scarier than we think.

Dantee: Before watching the movie I wasn’t afraid of gators but afterwards I walked out with a whole new fear.

Kaya: Good (laughs)

Dantee: What was your preparation like going into this film?

Kaya: Alligators were never something I had to worry about because I’m from London, it never crossed my mind.

Dantee: You worry about the rain (laughs)

Kaya: Exactly, (laughs) the rain, the rats, and drunk people but not gators but my husbands family is from south Georgia and they had some experience with gators, some tall tales of knowing someone they knew coming home to a gator in their kitchen but I was a little bit afraid

Dantee: What goes into working with the alligators?. Are they machines or are you in a green screen?

Kaya: The alligator themselves were stunt guys, dressed head to toe in green suit, which left very little to imagination and when it came to the biting it was pure imagination, I literally had to imagine and react to it. Sometimes Alex  (director) would get on the megaphone and scream at me to scare me and build the tension within my own mind, but by the end of the shoot we were also miserable and broken and destroyed that it was really easy t tap into that angst and emotion because we all felt like that by the end.

Dantee: In the movie, Haley’s dad prepares her for this moment without even knowing it, how did you tap into Haley’s character?

Kaya: The relationship with her father is the core of it all. I think it’s really important. She has been trained from a young age, she’s an athlete, that’s why she is use to being pushed to the brink of her abilities and having to push through that. That’s what made her a great swimmer, I think in this situation she’s reminded of that. I spoke to Alex a lot and we didn’t want it to be that she was just a regular person. We wanted the reason of her being a trained athlete as the reason of her survival.  She’s a swimmer and she’s willing to push herself to the absolute extreme and her father unlocks that for her. There are times she hates it, she doesn’t want her dad to be her coach, she wants her dad to be her dad but there’s also this motivation he gives her that no one else really can, which is why they’re able to get out of this together.

Dantee: Haley was very clever in the movie, an Apex predator for sure. The dad constantly reminded Haley that she was one. How did you tap into that?

Kaya: Definitely, there are moments where she forgets that, where she is caught up in the situation. We wanted to create the moment of focus, which is what was great about the crawl space because as vulnerable as it seems there are cubby wholes and areas where she can be quiet and gather her thoughts and tap into her intelligence and she is really smart, she is constantly looking for a way out, never gives up. That’s what I really admire about Haley; I wish I could be better at.

Dantee: She does, Haley really pushes through every obstacle and constantly re-impresses her dad with her strength. How do you push through things in your life as Kaya when you think that you cant?

Kaya: Oh god, I just learned that I have to. No one is going to do it for me. An incredibly strong woman, on her own, raised me. She was an immigrant to England, working class. She was a cleaner and would have to bring me along as a baby in order to feed me and take after me. She was my inspiration that you have to get up, no one is going to do it for you and if a man can do it, so can you. It’s something I carry with me in my work. I read this script three times and told my husband, “I can’t do it. Its going to be miserable, I’m going to get injured, I’m never gong to get to see my son” and he kind of sat me down and said “Bull Shit, you’ve done bigger things or worse, you’ve broken that glass ceiling”. I do feel that, I’m not shy about being powerful. I think for a long time especially female actresses we feel we have to be delicate.  I love being strong, being powerful and building myself up again.

Dantee: The movie really gave us a Hero or better yet a “She-ro” in Haley. That doesn’t happen often in thrillers; Haley was a powerful role in the movie. How did you feel about this?

Kaya: It was odd; I think it was the first script I read in ten years that was the most feminist. There was no boyfriend, no kissing anyone, suddenly she isn’t nude for no reason, She’s just a bad ass and that’s her heart and soul. I really wanted to put her front and center cause so many times we don’t. I felt that with my character in Maze Runner where I knew she was strong and could so much more than she was given in the movie. So this for me was the redemption for that, I wanted her to be an absolute she-ro.

Dantee: Last question, what is your biggest fear?

Kaya: It’s going to be sappy but harm to my son and (laughs) I fear when my fingers get pruney, I cant touch anything, it makes me gag.

Alexandre: Aja is the mastermind behind some of the biggest horror films of our generation. He has given us Parana 3D (2010); The Hills have Eyes (2006) and more. Aja’s dark mind takes us on another adventure but this time we experience it through a survivor’s lens. Where is the Buzz sat down with the director to ask him where the gator thriller ideas all began.

Dantee: What would you say is your biggest fear?

Alexandre: Oh man, So many of them. Every day I have to check under the bed and behind the door. Its not fear, its just that my mind is always set on the worst can happen, its kind of a game. So I always think of any possibilities.

Dantee: I loved the research that went into the movie. I say that because one scene the gator is spinning Haley, just as gators do to their prey to drown them. What went into the creation of the Alligators?

Alexandre: I wanted it to show them just the way they are (gators). They are pretty insane killing machines. I wanted to really have them just as real as possible. I spent so much time looking at footage of alligators online and studying the way they move, and using it. The death role, this is why I love them so much because a shark will come and bite you straight through. The gator on the other hand is more vicious because the gator has even more pressure of a bite and will grab you, turn you and dismember.

Dantee: The characters in the movie used lines like “You’re not a quitter’, “Keep going”, How do you keep going when you feel you lost motivation?

Alexandre: hmm, I’m trying very often to not feel like I’m in competition. But when you shoot a movie it’s basically a competition and you have to finish your day. It’s a marathon, more than a race, where everyday is a challenge. Very often you find yourself in a very low position, where there is so many mistakes and things not going the right way. You go deep inside to think about, you know I was lucky to grow up on set. My dad was a filmmaker as well and very often, I think about my dad in that case, I have to think what he would do. Those types of motivation things, its one-day at a time, every time, never give up on what you have in mind, don’t cut corners.

Dantee: Last question, Haley and her dads relationship was so complex, where did your draw that inspiration from?.

Alexandre: it’s a tough one. I’m a dad now, I have to make those decisions of being nice and protective and do everything for him but I have to rear him. It’s a fine line, these generations are friends with their kids because we share the same things but it’s a line of as a parent, prepare them for what’s coming and what’s coming is very dreadful.

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