by writer/director Drew Pearce
You only get the chance to make your first movie once. So why did I make Hotel Artemis?
I’ll start with this: because I wanted to create the kind of film that I actually wanted to see.
We live in an age of blockbusters and that’s okay. Some of them are amazing (I co-wrote Iron Man 3, so I might be a little biased here). But with those huge tentpoles, there’s an obligation to be everyone’s “okay movie”—to file off the sharp edges in case they offend.
But with Hotel Artemis… I wanted to make someone’s favorite movie.
I’m talking about the kind of films that inspired me as a teenager—that weren’t defined by genre but by their imagination. When I perused the shelves of the video store, I didn’t differentiate between blockbusters or art house flicks or foreign films—I didn’t know the constructive difference between Robocop and Repo Man. I just gravitated to wonderful ideas: concepts, casts, even cover images.
I miss the type of movies that could be both a great Friday night out and something that stayed with you the morning after. Bold pieces of entertainment that got blood pumping to both the fists and the head. Movies that introduced a whole universe, but were just as concerned with the small, personal story in the center of that world, or indeed the adventure that’s happening off to the side.
So on one level, Hotel Artemis is that fist pump of a film that you need to see in a cinema, with other people, to truly appreciate it. A tense, exciting story about a secret hospital for criminals in near-future Los Angeles on the night that the wrong group of people end up trapped inside.
It’s a movie that introduces you to a bunch of characters you’re going to love… played by the most incredible cast, from Sterling K. Brown to Dave Bautista; Sofia Boutella to Jeff Goldblum; Charlie Day and Zachary Quinto and Brian Tyree Henry and Jenny Slate. And then it puts you on the edge of your seat, wondering which of those favorites will actually make it through the night. And, spoiler alert: not all of them do.
But it’s also a film about an old lady (The Nurse, played by Jodie Foster) with tragedy in her background that propels the whole night—and aforementioned hospital—off the rails and into a world of trouble. Her story is a heartbreaker, and only someone with the gravitas that Jodie carries could have landed that core to the story. I was incredibly lucky to have her, and the fact that she loves the movie means the world to me.
Yet that’s not all. We’re also a love letter to my adopted home of Los Angeles—a movie in the lineage of California dreaming from Raymond Chandler through to Blade Runner and beyond.
We’re also a visual spectacle, built to be seen on the big screen. Don’t let our incredible cast and wonderful production values fool you—we’re a little indie movie that shot last summer in Los Angeles with no real sense of who would eventually see us, or in what format. So the fact you can even see our film in the state we hoped you could is a gift.
And an unbelievable team—both in front of camera, and behind it—gave up their time and talent to commit to this wonderful little story. It’s built with love, and I truly hope that you, as a possible audience member, will feel that from the first moment of the movie. Its personality is its strength—the reason perhaps to seek us out amongst the sea of giant spectacles. Because as I say—with Hotel Artemis I wanted to make someone’s favorite movie.
Maybe it’ll be yours?