Back in September of 2009, I was invited – along with four other online journalists – to the set of director Sylvain White’s The Losers when the movie was being shot in hot and humid Puerto Rico. While I’ve covered many movies while working for Collider, this was the first time visiting a movie set could actually cost me a lot of money. The reason? The location was a secure Port that was guarded by Homeland Security. Each of us had to wear a special badge given to us by the government and we were warned if we lost it…we’d have to pay $10,000 dollars. Needless to say, I watched my badge like a hawk.
If you haven’t heard of The Losers, the movie stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoë Saldana, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Holt McCallany, Óscar Jaenada, and Jason Patric and it’s written by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt. The film is based on the Vertigo comic series by Andy Diggle and Jock.
While I hate making comparisons, The Losers reminds me a lot of The A-Team, except rather than helping those who can’t help themselves, The Losers are out to clear their names and get revenge on the one who betrayed them. Simply put…it’s an action thriller that should be a lot of fun.
Hit the jump for what we did on set and you can also take a look at 6 brand new character posters of the cast:
Since every set report is better with video…if you haven’t seen the trailer for The Losers, start by watching that:
While every set visit is different and you never know how it’ll go, The Losers was a fun set to be on as all we watched was action, then more action, then even more action. While we were there we all realized this should be a fun popcorn movie.
As I said earlier, the set visit took place on a secure port in Puerto Rico. But before you go thinking the movie takes place there…the port was substituting for Los Angeles! If you’re not familiar with a shipping port, it’s where huge ships come from around the world to pick up and drop off massive cargo containers. It’s how they ship everything from cars to furniture. You can sort of see one in the picture below.
When we first arrived, we were warned not to take any pictures and not to wander off, as both could cost us a lot of money. After being fearful for our bank accounts, we watched a scene by the containers with Columbus Short, Chris Evans and Óscar Jaenada (we saw the end of the scene pictured above). The three of them were on the ground surrounded by guards. Columbus Short had been shot and they didn’t know how they were going to escape. We watched a number of takes as they were on the ground trying to get up and escape.
The one thing I noticed as I watched the monitors was director Sylvain White was shooting the movie with hand held cameras – very much in the style of a Peter Berg movie. With Berg having written the script, I wasn’t surprised by his influence.
After watching filming for awhile, almost the entire cast came over to our mini tent to talk with us. While some movie sets are hard to get the actors and directors to talk, everyone of The Losers had a lot to say and were extremely friendly.
Later in the day, we watched more filming and the scene was Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the front seat of a passenger van. He was slowly coming to after being unconscious and all of a sudden a huge explosion goes off outside the driver’s side window. We were told on the set visit that locals were convinced terrorists were at the port before everyone found out about the filming as the production was constantly blowing shit up.
After Jeffrey Dean Morgan did a number of takes, he came over to talk to us and gave us a crazy amount of time. He could not have been nicer.
Soon after, filming began again and for the next sequence we got to do something I have never done on a set visit: we were able to stand next to Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Sylvain White and Zoë Saldana as they blocked the scene and rehearsed. Usually a production has online press near the monitors and far away from the director talking intimately with the cast. But on The Losers we got to see Sylvain White giving directions and the cast figuring out how they would play the scene. It was very cool to see it unfold rather than hearing about how the set is run later. As they got ready to start filming, we backed away from the action and watched things again on the monitor.
A little while later, the cast and crew broke for lunch and that’s where we spoke to Zoë Saldana. After that interview, we got to hang in Chris Evans trailer to do his interview, and we all welcomed the air conditioner as the heat and humidity of Puerto Rico was oppressive.
As the afternoon was getting later, after speaking to Evans we got back to set to watch a bit more filming. Soon after, we were making our way back into the van and handing our badges back to customs.
While it’s impossible to really know how a movie is going to come out when you do a set visit, there is no way The Losers isn’t filled with a ton of action. Also, the vibe on set was relaxed and confident, like everyone had a battle plan and they were sticking to it…with room for improvisation.
And while my set visit is a little shorter than normal, I’ve made up for it with some awesome on set interviews. Hit any of the links for either the full transcript or you can listen to the audio of the interview.
Finally, a bit further down are the brand new Losers character posters that WB just released. The Losers attacks theaters April 23rd.