Only his second movie, Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy premiered in the Sundance Film Festival’s Midnight section, eight years after his first film Beyond the Black Rainbow premiered in Canadian film festivals. Like Black Rainbow, Mandy is also set in 1983 and deals in a similar tone. Costmatos said these two films go together, but he told Bloody Disgusting he’s not going to make a third 1983 film.
“I thought maybe I would make a 1983 trilogy but I came to realize after finishing this film that it’s actually so perfectly the other half of Black Rainbow emotionally for me that I think they exist as a yin/yang duology probably,” Cosmatos said.
When fans see the red light and surreal tone, they’ll know Mandy is from the same director as Beyond the Black Rainbow. But, are they actually a shared universe?
“I think they can exist in the same world for sure,” Cosmatos said. “They’re both two halves of the same coin inspiration-wise and emotionally for me, so yeah.”
There are no Easter Eggs loaded into Mandy though. Cosmatos doesn’t play that game.
“No [and] if there were, I wouldn’t tell,” Cosmatos said.
Mandy stars Nicolas Cage as a man who is kidnapped with his girlfriend Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) by an evil cult. After the tragedy, Red (Cage) goes on the rampage for bloody vengeance. During the ordeal with the cult, and even moments after, the nightmare takes on that surreal red tint dream-like aesthetic of Cosmatos’ previous film. Cage, ever the committed actor, said he had no sense of what the final product would look like until he saw it at Sundance.
“I couldn’t,” Cage said. “I just knew where I was in the zone within the context of the scene but I had no concept really of what the finished result would be until last night.”
Linus Roach plays the evil cult leader who kidnapped Mandy and Red.
“I maybe had a hope or an inkling of something but it went far beyond anything I could ever have imagined,” Roache said. “I do remember on the set a lot of my scenes were in the red light. It was very red. Everyone around me was red.”
Making the two 1983 films in the same style, Cosmatos did discover that he had to give his actors a break from the red light.
“Some people, from my last film too, they don’t do too well in the red light for days on end,” Cosmatos said. “I feel like I thrive in the red light.”
Cage didn’t complain, but he understood.
“Yeah, like infrared heat lamps on reptiles, you know,” Cage said.
Mandy premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.