Mandy Director Opens up About “Bizarre” Next Film and Love for Buckaroo Banzai

Exclusive: we spoke with Mandy director Panos Cosmatos ahead of the release of his wild Cabinet of Curiosities installment, The Viewing.

Panos Cosmatos
Photo: NurPhoto/Getty

Although the Nicolas Cage-led Mandy was critically acclaimed and became an instant cult classic back in 2018, it’s been a while since we’ve heard from the movie’s Italian-born director, Panos Cosmatos. If you consider yourself part of his rapidly-increasing fan base and have been eagerly awaiting his next joint, we have good news: not only is his installment of Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities on Netflix a stone cold banger, we can also reveal he’s busy working on his next TWO feature films, the first of which sounds like another wild trip.

Nekrokosm will partner Cosmatos with the envelope-pushing A24 for a “phantasmagorical fantasy nightmare”, and although the exact details of the project are being kept under wraps, we were able to speak with the director and get some new info on what we can expect from the movie.

“It’s not hard sci fi,” he tells Den of Geek. “It’s very fantastical and bizarre. I think of Mandy as sort of a crowd pleaser, but I’m hoping this one’s going to be even more of a crowd pleaser, because the film I want to make after Nekrokosm is a lot more dark, tonally, and existential. But Nekrokosm is a lot of my interests and my preoccupations all merged into one piece, more than ever before.”

Meanwhile, Cosmatos refers to his episode of Cabinet of Curiosities, “The Viewing”, as more of an experimental film, “sort of a mash up of a Scooby-Doo cartoon and an EC comic.” If you haven’t had the pleasure yet, it stars Robocop actor Peter Weller as a wealthy recluse who dabbles in hard drugs and collecting one-of-a-kind pieces. Casting him was a real coup for the director, who has been a huge fan of Weller’s from a young age, citing 1984’s Firstborn and the infamous flop of the same year The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, both of which starred Weller, as two of his favorite movies.

Ad – content continues below

“The Viewing” plays with themes of addiction, both in terms of narcotics and collecting, and Cosmatos says he based the story around his own struggles.

“It’s something that interests me, thematically,” he explains. “I think there’s a parallel between extreme collecting and addiction. I mean, I grew up around heavy duty collectors. My dad was a massive collector. I collect a nominal level, but I know people who are like librarians, with knowledge about comic books and movies, who collect obsessively. This is interesting mindset to me. It’s close, in a way, to chemical addiction. Part of me that wishes that I lived a complete Spartan lifestyle where I just had like a laptop next to me. But the collecting urge is real.”

So, if Cosmatos himself could gather a bunch of people together to show them one item of his own personal collection, what would it be? Given his love of Weller’s back catalog, the answer may not surprise you. “It would be my Buckaroo Banzai 35 millimeter trailer reel. I’d project it just for them.”

Nekrokosm is currently without a release date. Cabinet of Curiosities is streaming now on Netflix globally.