Since his breakthrough in the scrappy superhero drama Chronicle, Dane DeHaan has been no stranger to physically demanding roles. In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, his Green Goblin hoverboarded through the skies and battled the witty web-slinger. In the upcoming Luc Besson space-epic, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, DeHaan is promoted to flat-out action hero, playing a time-traveling agent out to save the universe. And yet, it might be Gore Verbinski’s eerie and subdued psychological thriller A Cure For Wellness that’s been the most physically challenging for the American ingendude.
A Cure For Wellness has DeHaan starring as an arrogant executive who barges into a isolated wellness center to retrieve his blissed out boss from the clutches of the dubious Dr. Heinreich Volmer (Jason Isaacs). Once this anxious exec is trapped in the surreal spa, he faces an array of strange treatments and outright torture. Bringing all this to life, DeHaan spent weeks in a creepy sensory deprivation tank, tangled with eels, was strapped into a full-leg cast, and endured a car roll stunt that snapped him out of shape and back again!
When Screen Rant sat down with DeHaan to discuss A Cure For Wellness, he not only shared the details on the hardships behind the scenes–and where he draws the line when working with eels–but also the promise he pulled from director Verbinski after his onset injury made for some truly nauseating footage. Plus, DeHaan teased a bit of what to expect from the “mind-blowing” Valerian.
Your character undergoes a lot of outright torture in this movie. What was the trickiest scene for you to shoot?
DANE DEHAAN: It just depends. I mean, the most physically challenging sequence to shoot was the sensory deprivation tank. That sequence took two weeks to shoot and I was in that tank for pretty much the whole time, wearing a harness where I was strapped in, bolted to the side of the tank so I couldn’t move, breathing through an oxygen tank, communicating with hand signals…
…Wearing a cast…
DANE DEHAAN: …wearing a cast that was floating, so they had to put weights in the cast. So even if I wanted to swim to the top, it took a lot of work. Yeah, it was intense.
Did you actually have to interact with the eels?
DANE DEHAAN: Not then, no. I would NOT have gotten in that tank if the eels were real. No. I had to draw the line somewhere.
Well, Gore [Verbinski] told a story where you got injured during the car scene – the crash?
DANE DEHAAN: Yeah. So during one of the shots of the car scene, they had a car that was basically on a rotisserie, and they were just spinning it around and around. During one of the takes my arm popped out of its socket, then popped back in.
During the take?
DANE DEHAAN: Yeah. You saw my arm go from here [reaches above his head], to down here [reaches below his hip]. I told Gore [Verbinski] that he had to use that take. He says he did but I think he cuts right before my arm pops out.
So technically it’s in there but not that necessary moment?
DANE DEHAAN: Yeah.
Yikes. So did you, to do the sensory deprivation tank, did you actually experience one of those on your own to see what that’s like?
DANE DEHAAN: Like a real-life one? Not really. I mean, they’re really not like they are in our movie. You know what I mean? So…
I have a friend who’s addicted to them but I find the whole concept really disturbing.
DANE DEHAAN: Yeah, me too. I’ve always been skeptical of that kind of stuff. So I don’t think you would really find me in one in real life.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done as a cure for your ails?
DAN DEHAAN: I don’t know. There’s the homeopathic, little vials of stuff I used to take in college. I think they’re really popular in France. They’re called oscillococcinum and I swore by them. They almost taste like sugar and I was convinced they were curing me of colds but then when I looked up what they were made of – they’re made of duck livers. That’s all they are – they’re sugarized duck liver pellets. And I was like, “Uh…I don’t know if it’s actually working. It’s just placebo.”
Right. So you have this coming out right now, which is very exciting, and this summer we’ve got Valerian coming out, which I actually got to see a bunch of footage last summer from, which is very exciting. What are you most excited for people to see in Valerian?
DAN DEHAAN: Well, Valerian, I think, is really going to be very mind-blowing and really crazy. A franchise movie that I think will be a breath of fresh air, in terms of its voice. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had making a movie, so I hope it’s the most fun people have watching a movie.