Reel Time: Glazer gets Under the Skin

Scarlett Johansson in Under The Skin
Scarlett Johansson in Under The Skin
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“IF you’ve read the book you’ll see that it gives the story behind the film that we’ve made, but the film isn’t a story in the traditional sense.”

I’ve just asked director Jonathan Glazer to explain the premise of his latest film, sci-fi drama Under The Skin. “I’m not meaning to be obscure, but it’s very difficult to say what it’s about.”

In the absence of Glazer’s explanation, what I can say is that the Scottish-set film sees Hollywood A-lister, Scarlett Johansson, brought to our dreich shores to play an alien who seduces lonely men.

She does more than that, but the detail is just a bit too gory for a family newspaper. Let’s just say there’s not much of her victims left after she’s finished with them.

The film is based on a 2000 novel of the same name, also set in Scotland. “We’ve been on a long journey to make the film, it’s taken the best part of a decade,” says Glazer. “Earlier drafts were more faithful to the novel. Now it’s departed significantly from the book, but I think there’s a companionship there.”

What was it about the story that appealed to the writer-director who brought us the crime classic, Sexy Beast, 14 years ago? “For me it was about her journey, the alien perspective and looking at the opportunity of looking at the world through her lens.”

It seems Johansson enjoyed swapping the bright lights of tinsel town for Scotland. “She got on famously here,” says Glazer. “She was out and about with us all after filming, going dancing and messing about, she was one of the crew.”

Not a film for the squeamish, Under the Skin is nevertheless worth seeing at cinemas from tomorrow. Just don’t accept a lift from any strange women on the way there...