Eli Roth breaks down “Borderlands ”trailer, from Cate Blanchett to monsters that 'shoot piss'

Eli Roth breaks down “Borderlands ”trailer, from Cate Blanchett to monsters that 'shoot piss'

The director behind "Thanksgiving" tells EW, "There’s an absolute sense of mayhem and total insanity and fun that’s in the game that is infused in every frame of the film."

TÁR star Cate Blanchett exchanges a conductor's baton for futuristic guns and a flamethrower in the just-released trailer for video game adaptation Borderlands (out Aug. 9).

Director Eli Roth, our guide to both the promo clip and the movie's bonkers universe, explains that the two-time Oscar winner's bounty hunter character Lilith is "this badass, futuristic hero, almost like a female Snake Plissken-type character," referring to Kurt Russell's role in 1981's Escape from New York.

"There’s an absolute sense of mayhem and total insanity and fun that’s in the game that is infused in every frame of the film," Roth tells EW, as he breaks down the big moments from the footage. "It’s got science-fiction, it’s got creatures, it’s got a bit of Star Wars, it’s got a bit of Mad Max, it’s got a bit of Barbarella, all these sci-fi influences that I love and I got to throw in one insane blender."

Sci-fi Gold Rush

<p>Lionsgate</p> Cate Blanchett as Lilith in 'Borderlands'


Cate Blanchett as Lilith in 'Borderlands'

Borderlands is set 3,000 years in the future on Lilith's home planet of Pandora where she reluctantly returns to track down the daughter of Edgar Ramírez's Atlas. Roth sums up Ramírez's character as a, "mix of every evil billionaire rolled into one. He’s power hungry and nothing’s ever enough for him."

Lilith's mission leads her to look for a cache of valuables on the peril-filled Pandora. As Blanchett's heroine explains in voiceover, “Legend has it that there’s this massive treasure hidden in some secret vault, and if you go hunting for it, you’d better take any help you can get, because it’s on the weirdest, most dangerous dumpster fire of a world in the universe.”

Roth elaborates, "All these people have been coming to Pandora, almost like the Gold Rush, and looking for the vault and no one has ever found it."

Assembling a team

<p>Lionsgate</p> 'Borderlands'



Lilith is joined on her quest by a colorful group of characters, including Kevin Hart's Roland, who Roth calls "a badass soldier."

"Kevin really wanted to play against type," the director says. "He didn't want to be the goofy sidekick. He did weapons training and fight training and is so hardcore about making people believe that he is really a trained soldier."

Lilith's other fellow adventurers include Ahsoka actress Ariana Greenblatt's explosives-loving Tiny Tina and her musclebound pal Krieg, played by Florian Munteanu from the Creed franchise. "In the game, Tiny Tina is very over the top. It's Level 10 crazy the entire time," Roth says. "We have fun with the insanity of Tina, but give her heart and explain why she is that way." As for Krieg, the director explains, "His brain is broken. He spills out nonsense phrases, so Krieg is somewhat off, but he's best friends with Tina, and they're inseparable."

The film's band of heroes also features a Jack Black-voiced robot named Claptrap and a Jamie Lee Curtis-played archaeologist, Dr. Tannis.

"Claptrap is an old model robot. He’s a complete smartass, but he’s been programmed to help Cate’s character," says Roth, who previously worked with both Black and Blanchett on 2018's The House with a Clock in Its Walls. "Tannis is the archaeological expert of the group, she’s just a little bit odd. She’s very much into her objects, very much on her own planet. That’s what makes her a genius, and Jamie played the character beautifully."

Monsters that 'shoot piss'

<p>Lionsgate</p> Threshers "urinate out of their mouths," says 'Borderlands' director Eli Roth


Threshers "urinate out of their mouths," says 'Borderlands' director Eli Roth

The trailer teases the film's monster-y mayhem when Lilith, Roland, et al drive through a part of the planet known as Piss Wash Gully. Roth explains that among Pandora's dangers are subterranean creatures called Threshers which "shoot piss," adding, "They urinate out of their mouths. They're giant and they can swallow you whole. In the end [of the trailer], you see them going into the mouth of a Thresher."

Roth shot Borderlands in Budapest using practical sets whenever possible. "We had some incredibly skilled crafts people there," the director says. "When you see Tina on top of that pile of old trucks, we actually could build all that stuff. We really wanted to have a ton of practical environments. It was a wild experience, actually building it and being on Pandora."

After wrapping the film's main shoot, Roth moved on to direct the long-in-the-works horror movie Thanksgiving. With the filmmaker occupied with his slasher tale, which was released last year, Deadpool director and Borderlands executive producer Tim Miller oversaw some additional photography for the film. While it's unusual for another filmmaker to direct material in that fashion, Roth brushes off Miller's participation as no big deal.

"There was some stuff, some pieces that we needed, and you’re dealing with a cast of, like, the six busiest actors on the planet. So getting everyone together at the same time to shoot it just became [difficult]," says Roth. "The movie’s done, you’re just slotting in little pieces here and there. Look, that’s why it’s great when you have a good team and you have a producer like Tim Miller who’s an amazing director as well."

A Borderlands reunion already

<p>Lionsgate</p> Ariana Greenblatt as Tiny Tina in 'Borderlands'


Ariana Greenblatt as Tiny Tina in 'Borderlands'

Roth is currently working on the script for a Thanksgiving sequel and reveals he is also collaborating on the screenplay for another terror tale with Greenblatt. The actress "loves horror," Roth notes, "and we have a great idea, so we're writing a movie together. That is an exclusive, nobody knows that. I don’t want to say anything about it yet, but she’s so smart I’m like, 'Let’s write a movie together, and we’ll produce it together, and I’ll direct it, and you’ll star in it.'"

Borderlands will hit theaters Aug. 9. Put on your urine-resistant goggles and watch the film's trailer at the top of this post.

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