Del Toro subverts gothic romance gender expectations in 'Crimson Peak'

LONDON (Reuters) - Mexican film director Guillermo del Toro says he is putting a fresh spin on the gothic romance genre in “Crimson Peak” by subverting the classic gender roles in the period thriller.

The men can’t cope; the women can.

The movie tells the story of aspiring New York-based author Edith Cushing, played by Australian actress Mia Wasikowska, who falls for mysterious British stranger Thomas Sharpe, portrayed by “Thor” actor Tom Hiddleston.

In the wake of a family tragedy, she decides to marry Sharpe and moves to his isolated and crumbling English mansion, a house full of secrets as well as troubled spirits.

“I made it a point to make every man in the movie useless. Normally in gothic romance you end with (the male hero) carrying the girl without a shirt and rescuing her from imminent danger,” del Toro told Reuters in an interview.

“I wanted to sort of actualize the genre a little bit and make the female roles the central roles.”

Del Toro, best known for “Hellboy” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”, directed, produced and co-wrote the film, which also stars “The Martian” actress Jessica Chastain as Sharpe’s sister Lucille.

“In this story the heroine saves herself. I think that’s very powerful because ... in many ways we all have to do that,” Hiddleston said on del Toro’s aim to subvert expectations about gothic romance. “It did feel rare, it felt like the right way to move the genre forward.”

“Crimson Peak” is released in cinemas from Oct. 14.

Reporting By Sara Hemrajani Editing by Jeremy Gaunt