Luca Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” will be unveiled at the Venice Film Festival on September 1 after months of anticipation, and it turns out the $20 million horror movie might be the first of several trips the director makes to the world of witches and evil dance academies. Dario Argento’s 1977 original is the first entry in his Three Mothers trilogy, which also includes “Inferno” (1980) and “The Mother of Tears” (2007). Guadagnino knows making more “Suspiria” films depends entirely on whether or not his movie is a success, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t already thought about sequel ideas.
“At the beginning we were going to title the movie ‘Suspiria: Part One’ but we didn’t want to give the impression of something that couldn’t stand alone,” Guadagnino told Deadline. “Truthfully, I’d be interested to explore the origin of Madame Blanc and Helena Marcus and also the future of Suzy Bannion in the world. So maybe. We’ll have to see how the movie goes.”
When asked if he had already spoken with Tilda Swinton about making “Suspiria” sequels, Guadagnino teased, “I plot adventures with Tilda on a daily basis. This could be one. We have to see how audiences react.” Swinton, reuniting with the director for a fourth time on the big screen, plays artistic director Madam Blanc in “Suspiria.” Dakota Johnson, who worked with Guadagnino and Swinton on “A Bigger Splash,” stars as Bannion.
Johnson made headlines in April when she told Elle magazine that filming “Suspiria” was a traumatizing experience. “No lie, [it] fucked me up so much that I had to go to therapy,” the actress said. A large portion of the film was shot in an abandoned hotel overlooking the Italian city of Varese. While the story forced the actors to go to some extreme places, Guadagnino maintains filming was not chaotic or damaging to his cast and crew.
“I don’t think the shoot was traumatic,” Guadagnino told Deadline. “The problem for Dakota was that it’s an intense storyline and it’s an intense performance…There was a lot of eeriness in the [set], which probably resonated with Dakota. I like to think that when you make a movie you are orchestrating a combination of elements that must sing together but at the same time individual contributions stand by themselves. These blurred lines between the personal identity of the performer and character may become very intense. I bless that. With that kind of intensity you get amazing performances, which I’m very proud of.”
Guadagnino said he spoke with Johnson throughout production to make sure filming “Suspiria” remained fun. “Dakota is very sharp and very witty,” he said. “I very much doubt she has been permanently damaged by the movie.”
Following its world premiere at Venice, “Suspiria” will open in select New York and Los Angeles theaters on October 26. Amazon Studios will expand nationwide on November 2.