敢愛敢恨的少女奧瑪（愛瑪羅拔絲 飾）一覺醒來發現自己身處孤島一個名為「天堂山莊」的奇異地方，這裡由夫人（美娜祖華域芝 飾）領導，島上備有高級治療設施，富裕家庭將女兒送來，改造成他們心目中的完美版本…每個治療方案皆度身訂造，學習禮儀、聲樂、美容、運動和節食，所有身體和情感缺陷都在兩個月內得到解決，不成功，不收費。奧瑪在天堂山莊認識了幾位好友，從中找到了慰借，但她們很快就發現到，在美麗光鮮背後，是一連串恐怖的驚天陰謀…
【編劇】Brian DeLeeuw | Nacho Vigalondo
【主演】Emma Roberts愛瑪羅拔絲 | Danielle McDonald丹妮爾麥當勞 | Awkwafina艾桂菲娜 | Eiza González伊莎剛莎諾絲 | Milla Jovovich米娜祖華域芝
【發行】英皇電影有限公司 | 娛藝電影發行
負責製作的設計師Laia Colet和其團隊在擬定視覺效果時，都會引用一些70年代驚慄片做參考，如1975年的《吊石坡野餐》（Picnic In Hanging Rock）和1971年的《歌劇院殺人王》（The Abominable Dr. Phibes）。
這部電影有趣在於，在塑造完美到好不真實的夢幻女孩（manic pixie dream girl）和夢寐以求的公主生活，但劇情一轉，美好的事物通通變成了噩夢，有如把《珠光寶氣》或《甜姐兒》拍成驚慄版本！
在科幻場面方面，劇組參考了上世紀一些藝術大師，如Syd Mead的古典未來主義風格（Paleo-Futuristic）、Mora-Gimenez的漫畫Dani Futuro，甚至有《2001太空漫遊》哥德式風格的電玩遊戲Portal。同時我也會把漫畫藝術書給設計團隊作參考。
此外，Frederic Edwin Church 在50年代的畫作《熱帶清晨》、Hans Gude的浪漫主義大海圖、Eyvind Earle對紫色和綠色的運用、丹麥畫家Carl Vilhelm Holsoe的日光室內場景，都影響了我們對光線的選擇。
我們參考40年代一些有強烈色彩的電影作品，如《紅菱艷》（The Red Shoes）和《花團錦簇》（Ziegfeld Follies）。在本片序幕中採用的冷色調，令後來見到的金色光線更突出，而大海的蔚藍和蕨類植物的綠色，看來也很溫暖。而隨著故事發展，夫人的一身粉紅色，就像有毒的藤蔓。在夜間的動作場面裡，會看到熒光燈追逐各位人物，而結局就像閃閃發光的金色溶解在黑暗中。
服裝也是重要一環，就像在《仙侶奇緣》（Donkey Skin）和《柳媚花嬌》（The Young Girls Of Rochefort）一樣。我們在設計過程中參考了不同風格，如「夫人」利用18世紀的緊身胸衣和寬邊帽；派對客人穿After-Punk頭飾。我們也參考了Cecil Beaton的《窈窕淑女》、奇幻大師Jean Cocteau的《美女與野獸》和《繪圖師的合約》（The Draughtsman’s Contract），以及80年代的MTV美學，甚至是電子遊戲《Final Fantasy XIII》、《Dragon Age II》等等。
另外，像Alexander McQueen、Vivienne Westwood或Iris van Herpen這樣的設計師，也是指路燈。片中女孩的睡衣，受日本Lolita和芭蕾舞衣啟發。
在Alice Waddington屢獲殊榮的短片《Disco Inferno》（2015年）參加世界各地影展之初，已向我們提出《天堂山莊》這電影計劃，Alice有一個非常原創的設定和非常具體的視覺處理，描繪她想要的不尋常世界。我們馬上認為，這電影符合電影公司對新導演首部長片的要求：它充滿了新意念，一個獨特的視覺世界和一個原創故事，且帶有非常有力的訊息。
在隨後兩年裡，我們與編劇Nacho Vigalondo和Brian DeLeeuw共同鑽研劇本，劇本非常扎實，能夠結合Alice精彩生動的幻想。
由於電影是一個反烏托邦童話，幾乎所有的戲服都必須重新製作。 我們用了1600多米的布料，製成200多件手製衣服。 服裝設計團隊甚至得到了兩位3D打印專家的協助，設計和打印出一些更古怪的配件和飾物。不得不提夫人穿的最後一件衣服，使用了超過250朵玫瑰，重達35磅！
我們在西班牙加泰羅尼亞和加那利群島（Canary Islands）進行8星期拍攝，幕後團隊有150人，再加上完美的演員陣容。最重要的是，要顯示《天堂山莊》這個「小宇宙」分成上下兩個階層，包括了各種種族和口音，這種多元反映在居住在此的12名寄宿女生身上。 我們從沒想到能夠聚集一群極具才華和化學作用的女演員：愛瑪羅拔絲（Emma Roberts）、丹妮爾麥當勞（Danielle Macdonald）、艾桂菲娜（Awkwafina）、還有伊莎剛莎諾絲（Eiza Gonzalez）。至於米娜祖華域芝（Milla Jovovich）則令「夫人」一角更具象徵意義，舉足輕重，並為故事提供了更暗陰的一面。 我們也非常幸運，邀得Jeremy Irvine和Arnaud Valois分別飾演的兩位男性角色。在戲中雖屬於較次要的男性角色，但他們的演出令人物更有層次。
An outspoken young woman named Uma (Emma Roberts) wakes up one morning in Paradise Hills, a high-class treatment facility on an isolated Mediterranean island led by the Duchess (Milla Jovovich) where well-off families send their daughters to become perfect versions of themselves. Through individually calibrated treatment regimens including etiquette classes, vocal lessons, beauty treatments, gymnastics and restricted diets, all physical and emotional shortcomings are resolved within two months. Transformation is guaranteed. Uma finds solace and friendship in other Paradise Hills residents –Chloe (Danielle McDonald), Yu (Awkwafina) and pop star Amarna (Eiza Gonzalez). But Uma soon realizes that lurking behind all this beauty is a sinister secret. It’s a race against the clock as Uma and her friends try to escape Paradise Hills before it consumes them all.
【directed by】Alice Waddington
【written by】Brian DeLeeuw | Nacho Vigalondo
【starring】Emma Roberts | Danielle McDonald | Awkwafina | Eiza González | Milla Jovovich
【release date】Oct 24th 2019
【distributed by】Emperor Motion Pictures | UA Films
DESIGNING THE WORLD OF PARADISE HILLS
Early in the process, when Paradise Hills was an idea, we had six digital concept art panels I had sketched up in Photoshop.
These panels represented how the villains dressed for social status, what the girls wore to represent past centuries – the Queen Anne-style mansion of the antagonist and how the Duchess’ office showed her creepy colonial past. There was the romantic gazebo surrounded by cherry trees, the strange Horse Chamber, and the underground catacomb Pool and Cave, each with their own residents.
When we developed said visuals with our stunning team led by Laia Colet, everything from Picnic in Hanging Rock to The Abominable Doctor Phibes was allowed. We gave preference to decades from the 1920s to 1970s, as I find it delightful how companies like Hammer Films used to liberally recreate earlier time periods.
A great part of the fun of this film was taking Manic Pixie Dream Girl characters and settings that sometimes get presented to us as ultimate life goals – think Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Funny Face – and turning them into living nightmares!
On the sci-fi side, mid-century concept artists such as Syd Mead’s paleo-futuristic style and Mora-Giménez’s comic Dani Futuro were great architectural and landscape references, but also the videogame “Portal” with a Gothic hint of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I’d continuously bother our team with manga artbooks, mostly by the CLAMP Collective, say “For Your Eyes Only,” Clover or Xxx Holic.
Frederic Edwin Church’s 1950s afternoon tropics paintings, Hans Gude’s romanticist sea images, Eyvind Earle’s purples and greens, Carl Vilhelm Holsøe’s daytime interiors all nurtured our choices of light.
We explored a particularly intense use of color found in works from the 1940s – The Red Shoes, Ziegfeld Follies – cold hues in the prologue leave way for pleasing, abundant golden island light. Even the azure of the sea and the green of the ferns seems permanently bathed by warmth. As the story continues, the Duchess’ parodic pink wraps around our protagonists like a poisonous vine. Their nocturnal incursions lead to more and more night-time scenes in which hard, expressionistic fluorescent lights chase them. And our ending is like a shiny, determined gleam of gold dissolving into darkness.
When looking at locations, we’d scout everything ranging from Modernist Barcelona buildings to Gran Canaria rainforests or botanical gardens. We knew Brutalist architecture was the right choice for our modern Gothic castle, another character in the story. Thus, our insatiable team found private houses that fit the bill, but also Edwardian mansions, 16th Century palaces, even cutting-edge supercomputing centers.
We chose the Spanish Mediterranean coast for its voluptuous ochre-toned cliffs and green vegetation that I’d joke reminded me of Olympus. It was established that flowers would fill each and every moment, and not just in a decorative manner – as they have a secret storytelling purpose.
We decided to make the costumes a part of our sets, just like in Donkey Skin or The Young Girls of Rochefort. Our design process benefited from being an operatic melting pot: For the Duchess, it meant utilizing 18th Century corsets and wide brim hats. Our party guests wear after-punk headpieces? Of course they do. We reference Cecil Beaton’s ‘My Fair Lady’, Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast and The Draughtsman’s Contract, but also ‘80s music video aesthetics (Grace Jones, Gazebo…) and even videogames (Final Fantasy XIII, Dragon Age II).
Designers like Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood or Iris van Herpen were constant guiding lights, too. The Resident Girls flaunted complex nightgowns inspired by both current Japanese Lolita fashions and Degas ballerinas, and I heard the question “Who’d go to bed like that?” more times than I could count.
ABOUT THE CAST
Partly because of the oddball aesthetics of Paradise Hills, we needed a grounded core. Women that reminded me of my actual group of friends – daring, hilarious and caring.
As we were casting the film, I remember my mother telling me, “Only a brave, bold actress will want to play Uma.” Emma gifted us with generous rawness and an extraordinary pulse. She excels at portraying a character learning to understand her own struggle as something individual, toward a communal experience as she starts to question the structural toxicity around herself.
Milla plays the European Duchess with radical nuance. Her ambiguity is sheltered behind soothing rhetoric and nice clothes. Her character is also a victim, an eternal slave to an insatiable, internalized standard – being valued only for her appearance.
Awkwafina starts off funny and full of banter but plays a role that evolves into the dramatic in a fascinating way. Chinese Yu overcomes her fears and finds her bravery flourish by the end making her friends – but most importantly, herself – very proud.
Eiza contributed memorable ideas to make her character blossom. Latina Amarna is all about the contrast of individually created versus imposed identity. She sometimes doubts herself, but her strong will helps unite her fellow residents against a highly effective common enemy
Danielle is an utterly passionate, true force of nature who simply immerses herself into her character. Southern Chloe loves her body and personality as they are, but her entourage isn’t just going to let her be confident in her own skin. She uses her humor and softness as a shield from prejudice.
Jeremy plunged headfirst into his seemingly discreet part and made it into something fascinating. He’s Markus, Uma’s childhood love that represents the weight of normative desires in our protagonist’s life.
Arnaud, as Son, is always able to uncover the subtle within the extreme and paints a hilarious, perfectly unhinged villain.
Diversity is fundamental to me – YA films in particular carry with them a social responsibility. Fairy tales comfort us, but they should also help us come to terms with our reality, no matter how socially complex.
Right at the beginning of her successful tour of festivals across the world with her award-winning short film Disco Inferno, Alice Waddington presented us with her project Paradise Hills. Alice had a very original premise and a very specific visual approach to the dystopic world she wanted to portray. We immediately thought the project had all the qualities we were looking for in a first feature: it was full of new ideas, it had a unique visual universe and a fresh, original story with an extremely powerful message.
Over the course of two years, we worked on developing the screenplay with Nacho Vigalondo and Brian DeLeeuw and came up with a very solid script that allowed us to integrate Alice’s wonderful vivid fantasies.
One of the primary challenges we faced was incorporating all of these visual proposals into an independent film with a limited budget. We focused on quality production design by filming in unique natural locations that had never been seen on screen before and turned them into Paradise Hills’ very own special universe.
All of the residence sets during the daytime, the residence at night, the elaborate set in the Duchess’ cave, they are all real spaces with set decor and props created by a fantastic crew of art designers led by production designer Laia Colet. Nearly all of the props which appear in the film (the beds in the residence, the hummingbird hairpin, the dressers, the chairs, the bathroom sinks, the rocking horse and a long list of others) were designed and created expressly for the film. They needed to be elements with a very specific aesthetic, and we set up a workshop where we could create them from scratch. The only sets we created 100% are the living room and Son’s bedroom. It was hard to find majestic locations that could define Son’s flamboyant personality in only a few minutes and measure up to the rest of the set decor, so we chose to create them digitally from scratch. We must highlight the work of our digital effects team, since the film has over 500 digital shots which helped create the futuristic fantasy elements seen throughout the film.
Paradise Hills is a luxury residence where wealthy families send their daughters to be educated and trained to become perfect women. This perfection which the Residence aspires to represent is present in every daytime shot. The lighting in Paradise Hills is naturalistic and elaborate, but when we delve into the world it’s trying to hide, the photography is much more extreme, with highly-saturated primary colors that help create the radical and unique atmosphere to support the sinister nature of the story.
In the same way, the color white used in all of the uniforms at the residence share the same goal: to highlight the perfection of the place. The residents practically look like angels in their white nightgowns and their daytime uniforms. But if we look more closely, we’ll see that everything is surrounded by details and layers of meaning. The uniforms are white but completely closed and tight-fitting like Victorian corsets, a constant reminder that the girls are “locked up.” Meanwhile, the Duchess contrasts by always dressing in colorful attire. She represents the way the island is “staged”: always floral, cheerful and glowing.
Since it’s a dystopia, nearly all of the wardrobe had to be made. We needed over 1600 meters of fabric and more than 200 dresses were made by hand. The wardrobe team was even assisted by two specialists in 3-D printing in order to design and print some of the more eccentric accessories.
The last dress the Duchess wears deserves special mention, as over 250 roses were used, and it weighed nearly 35 pounds.
Filming lasted 8 weeks on locations in Catalonia and the Canary Islands (Spain) with a crew of 150 people and the perfect cast. It was important to show that the two-stratum dividing society in this universe (Uppers and Lowers) included all kinds of races and accents and this diversity had to also be reflected in the twelve students inhabiting the Residence. We never imagined we would be able to gather a group of actresses with the talent and chemistry of Emma Roberts, Danielle Macdonald, Awkwafina and Eiza González. Milla Jovovich playing the role of the Duchess not only made her more emblematic, it gave the character added weight and offered the story a much darker shadow. In the same way, we were also very lucky that secondary characters like Markus or Son, played by Jeremy Irvine and Arnaud Valois, had more layers of interpretation and greater dramatic weight thanks to their performances.