The recently released Crimson Peak trailer doesn’t give us much story context, but boy, does it do a good job of selling the movie. Atmospheric and haunting like the titular house in which the movie is set, the trailer sets up a lot of weird stuff, some of it ghostly. Considering what little we know of the film makes it out to be a haunted house movie, that’s definitely a good thing.
I’ve been excited about Crimson Peak ever since I learned of the Guillermo del Toro-helmed project because I love del Toro’s work, which includes the universally-acclaimed Pan’s Labyrinth, beloved Pacific Rim and fellow ghost movie the Spanish The Devil’s Backbone. I definitely have high expectations for the movie, and the trailer only whetted my appetite. But Crimson Peak is in capable hands, not only in the form of its writer/director del Toro but also with its stars.
In the early stages, actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Stone were attached to head up the cast, but when Stone dropped out due to a scheduling conflict and Cumberbatch left for unknown reasons, the lead roles had to be recast. Luckily, Crimson Peak got two equally talented actors to take over.
Australian actress Mia Wasikowska stars as Edith Cushing, a young author swept away by romance who finds her new husband might not be the man she thinks he is. Although she’s warned away from the Crimson Peak mansion, Edith doesn’t take that advice and stumbles into a ghost story. Wasikowska has been in high demand since her breakthrough performances in Alice in Wonderland and The Kids Are All Right in 2010. She’s a veteran of both period pieces – Emma and Madame Bovary – and stories with horror elements – Stoker and Only Lovers Left Alive. Trying to fill Emma Stone’s shoes may be intimidating, but Wasikowska is more than capable of doing so.
Playing Edith’s new husband, Sir Thomas Sharpe, Tom Hiddleston takes over for Cumberbatch, which is a perfect replacement because the two British actors are similar in a lot of ways. Both entered the limelight around the same time, became Tumblr phenomena and feature prominently in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, now that Cumberbatch has been cast as Doctor Strange. Hiddleston hasn’t had a lot of prominent roles other than playing Loki, even though he’s been in a number of well-known films including War Horse and Midnight in Paris, so Crimson Peak just might be his time to shine.
Jessica Chastain takes on the role of Thomas’s sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe. Chastain is better known for her dramatic work, particularly roles in The Help, The Tree of Life and Zero Dark Thirty, but she’s more than capable of taking on the horror elements of Crimson Peak, given her work on del Toro-produced Mama. Currently, she’s adding to her genre resume with the now filming movie, The Martian, in addition to the recent Interstellar.
While you could speculate that Chastain came to del Toro’s attention through her work in Mama, there’s no question that del Toro knows Charlie Hunnam, who previously starred in the writer/director’s Pacific Rim. Hunnam only has a few movie credits to his name, but that’s probably because he was busy playing Jax Teller in FX’s Sons of Anarchy. In Crimson Peak, Hunnam’s character is Dr. Alan McMichael, who is madly in love with Edith in spite of her recent marriage.
Because this is a haunted house movie and the action will likely be confined to Crimson Peak, those four actors will probably be the most prominent cast members, but they won’t be the only ones. Rounding out the cast are several actors best known for their television work, including Jim Beaver (Supernatural, Justified, Deadwood), Leslie Hope (24, The River, Revolution) and Burn Gorman (Torchwood, Game of Thrones, TURN). Del Toro is clearly a director who likes to work with people he knows since Hope had a role on his TV show, The Strain, and Gorman played scientist Gottlieb in Pacific Rim, so it’s no surprise that Doug Jones is also listed on the cast list. Although it doesn’t say who Jones is playing, you probably won’t be able to tell it’s him since Jones’s prior work with del Toro has included makeup-heavy roles in Pan’s Labyrinth, the Hellboy movies and The Strain.
We have several months of waiting to do before Crimson Peak hits theaters in mid-October. In the meantime, I’ll be busy listening to the trailer’s creepily addicting song “Red Right Hand” as sung by PJ Harvey. Based on the director and its fabulous cast, the movie is certain to be a Halloween treat!