Under The Skin is a 2013 drama, sci-fi and thriller, with a hint of horror that was directed by Jonathan Glazer and stars Scarlett Johansson. Under the Skin is one of the most unique and beautifully disturbing films of recent years. It follows a mysterious women played by Scarlett Johansson who seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland. The mystery behind her is that she is not exactly human. She seduces these men, but not exactly for sex. Instead she lures them in with her sex appeal in order to steal their skin so that the rest of her species can disguise themselves in our society. Here is the trailer to give you an idea of the tone and theme of the film.
The picture is visually stunning with Scarlett Johansson giving an incredibly beautiful and seductive performance. It's a very strange film with many hidden messages within it, which causes people to either love it or hate it. Jonathan Glazer also used many experimental techniques that most people don't know about which might change people's perception of the film, so here are 5 facts about the experimental film, Under the Skin.
Warning: plot spoilers!
1. Secret filming
Much of the film takes place in a van as Scarlett's character drives around the streets of Scotland looking for lonely men. But what many people don't know is that the van was rigged with hidden cameras to capture Scarlett's real reactions and to capture real men entering the car because a beautiful women was flirting with them. Most of the men were unaware of this and unaware that it was the beautiful Scarlett Johansson in character seducing them. Each camera led to a monitor in the back of the van, where director Jonathan Glazer sat with his assistant director, director of photography, sound man, and two digital imaging technicians. The van was followed by a second van with other crew members and Scarlett's bodyguard to protect her from any harm from these random men. The crew then revealed themselves to the men before they exited the van and asked for their permission to use the footage in the film. Glazer also set up hidden cameras throughout the streets of Scotland to capture real people in everyday life. He pitched the idea to the studio as a way of saving money instead of hiring extras.
2. Hidden messages
Another part that people tend to misinterpret, is the symbolism beneath the film. There is a message that Under the Skin tries to get across and that message is how our society misinterprets beauty. For most of the film we see an obviously seductive and gorgeous Scarlett Johansson that men would kill to be with and women would kill to be; that is, until the end of the movie when her character is revealed and we see what she really is which is alien to us. Her character is nearly raped by a man, but escapes and is then hunted down by the same man. Her real form is then revealed to the man who then burns her to death out of fear of not understanding what she is. So in the end it symbolizes how quick we are to judge something that isn't exactly our definition of beauty.
3. The Long and Agonizing Road To Get Made
It took director Jonathan Glazer nearly a decade to finally make the film adaptation from the original book Under the Skin. From cast changes, to source material disagreements, to just overall not feeling ready, Jonathan went through many struggles until he finally got the film to cinemas. It started off with a script more faithful to the book, with Brad Pitt originally attached to star in it. Glazer also wanted a no-name actress to play Scarlett Johansson's part to make the film alone seem completely alien with nothing recognizable, which is why Scarlett is disguised in the final cut. They also made Scarlett's character completely nameless, unlike the original book. Jonathan went through periods of time debating if he even wanted to make it, causing a love/hate relationship with the project.
4. The Misunderstood Fall
There comes a point in the film where Scarlett Johansson's character trips and falls on a public sidewalk. The fall was captured on hidden cameras throughout the streets of Scotland, and paparazzi captured pictures of her fall without knowing it was for a film project. This ended up being a golden ticket for people making memes. Check out some of the memes below.
The people who helped Scarlett get up off the ground also had no idea that it was for the film and generously helped her up while she remained in character.
5. Interesting Practical Effects
There are many strange scenes in the film that really make you question how they were shot. So here are a few behind the scenes photos to fill you in on how it was done.