Shattered – Interview with Director Luis Prieto

Interview with Shattered director Luis Prieto

Shattered is a 2022 thriller film centered on Chris Decker (Cameron Monaghan), a wealthy divorcee who meets and quickly falls in love with a mysterious woman named Sky (Lilly Krug). One night, Chris is attacked by an unknown assailant, leaving him injured and needing a carer. Sky moves in with him to nurse him to full health. Unfortunately for Chris, she is not entirely who she seems.

The following interview is with Luis Prieto, the director of 'Shattered' on the various elements of the filmmaking process, including what it was like working with John Malkovich. Lionsgate released the film in select theaters and On Demand on January 14th. Shattered will be available to buy on Blu-ray and DVD on February 22nd. 

What is the meaning of the title "Shattered?"

The title makes reference to several elements of the film:

The first one refers to a very important scene: the inciting incident of our film and the jump start of our story where our protagonist, Chris Decker is brutally assaulted in a parking lot. The attacker 'shatters his bones' with a crowbar leaving him physically impaired for the rest of our story.

But "Shattered" also makes reference to our protagonist's heart, when it is literally "Shattered" once he finds out that the perfect woman that he has deeply fallen in love with — and with who he has developed a passionate romance — is, in fact, a gifted con-artist, who is out to rob Chris of everything that he’s got.

And ultimately "Shattered" is also how our protagonist is left by the end of our film: Chris Decker is left destroyed — physically and metaphorically — broken into many small pieces.

What was it like working with Screenwriter David Loughery?

I am a big fan of David's work. He is a fantastic writer with a great sense of rhythm and knows how to create suspense that keeps you on your toes for the whole movie. David wrote a great thriller and I feel very fortunate for having been able to direct it. 

Can you tell us about the casting process for Shattered?

We were very lucky to cast Cameron Monaghan as the lonely tech millionaire that falls in love with the charming, sexy Sky, played by Lilly Krug. This was Lilly's first lead film role, so a major moment for her, which she really took hold of and made her own to create Sky, this conflicted killer.

And in the supporting roles, we were able to attract two absolute giants of the screen. To have John Malkovich (who plays the role of Sky’s creepy, conspiracy theorist landlord Ronald) and Frank Grillo (in the role of Sebastian, Sky’s domineering step-father) coming in to support Cameron and Lilly in these roles was an absolute gift.

Still of John Malkovich from Shattered

What was it like directing John Malkovich?

It was so exciting for me — every director dreams of making a film with Mr. John Malkovich! John is an incredible actor and an amazing human being. He is genuinely generous. Very kind and thoughtful, and immediately makes you feel at ease when you are working with him. He is so talented that seeing him recite is a gift in itself. He will perform every take slightly differently so they always felt fresh and new, and it was very hard sometimes to decide which take was the chosen one since all of them were so good.

Shattered features a predominantly classical score, can you tell us more about this creative choice? What was it like working with Composer Tom Howe?

From the start, I knew I wanted to create a world where the beauty and the brutality coexisted, where both extremes were possible simultaneously on the screen. Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange became a strong inspiration. The classical music of Beethoven, Vivaldi, Rossini, Mascagni, Bach became the great counterpoint to the violence displayed in the film, and sometimes in a whimsical way.

Tom Howe is a great composer and working with him is an incredible pleasure. He is able to capture the personality of a scene and elevate it with his music in a very organic way. The soundtrack that he composed for Shattered is very powerful and I am very grateful for having had him on board.

What was it like collaborating with Cinematographer Juan Miguel Azpiroz on the overall aesthetic?

I was very lucky that my good friend and hugely talented DOP Juanmi Azpiroz was available to shoot Shattered.

We worked together for the first time 20 years ago, shooting a commercial in Spain, and since then we have been working together quite a few times. There is great communication between us and we have a very similar taste. We really enjoy spending time together, and one of the most fun moments of the film is actually when we are in pre-production preparing the shooting together, the second one being when we are actually shooting the film.

In Shattered, we knew we wanted to shoot mainly with just one camera, so we were very specific about how we wanted to film every single scene. We also had a very tight schedule and it was very important to arrive at the set with a very clear idea of what we were going to do every day. We made sure that the film had a very unique cinematographic language that was visually powerful and exciting, and told the story the best possible way. The aesthetic and look were always driven by the narrative of the film.

Still from Shattered

What were your favorite scenes of Shattered — from on the set and in the final cut?

I have so many favorite scenes in Shattered. I shot every single scene as if it was the most important scene of the film. And as a consequence, pretty much all of them are special in one way or another. But if I had to point out a few... I love the scene when Roland (the character played by John Malkovich) is trying to rescue Chris (the character played by Cameron Monaghan). That scene is so mad and funny. My second favorite scene is when Sebastian (the character played by Frank Grillo) explains to Chris why he has chosen him for the scam. And my third one is the scene where Sky (played by Lilly Krug) and Chris fall in love for the first time... that scene is so tender and feels so real. It is also very passionate and beautiful, but the spectator can feel that there is something dark hiding somewhere in Sky. It really sets the mood for the rest of the relationship between Sky and Chris

Where did the principal photography take place, and how long was production?

The film was shot completely on location, in Montana, in the towns of Big Sky and Bozeman. The whole production of the film was a little bit over 2 months, including filming — that was completed in just 20 days.

Which films/directors have influenced you as a filmmaker, including Shattered?

Rob Reiner's Misery, Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, David Fincher's Gone Girl, and Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct were the films that I had in mind while making Shattered.

What are some of your favorite movies from the past decade?

I have many favorites but I will mention a few that left a special impression for one reason or another: Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island, Christopher Nolan's Inception, Sam Mendes' 1917, Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, Bong Joon Ho's Parasite, Jacques Audiard's Dheepan, Jia Zhangke's A Touch of Sin, Gianfranco Rosi's Fire at Sea and, from last year, Bo Burnham's Inside.

Which themes and subject matters interest you as a filmmaker?

I am a moviegoer before becoming a filmmaker and I have a very eclectic taste: I can enjoy a thriller as much as an arthouse film, a comedy as much as a drama, a love story as much as an experimental film. What is important to me is that they are good for what they are. I don't expect anything else from a movie but what it is supposed to be. So, I love entertaining movies as much as thoughtful ones. And as a filmmaker, I am interested in any genre and any subject matter as long as the script is good and it tells a powerful story.

Do you have any upcoming projects you'd like to share with us?

I have quite a few projects for next year, one of which I am very excited about but can't disclose much as of right now.

Watch Shattered via Amazon