Collider Goes to the Set of CRANK HIGH VOLTAGE

     April 8, 2009

Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub

Note: If you just want to see the exclusive clip and interview, scroll to the bottom. Up first is what I saw and did while on set.

Opening next Friday is a film I can’t wait to see. It’s called “Crank High Voltage” and, yes, it’s the sequel to “Crank”. While the first film ended in a way that would make a sequel appear impossible, you have to admit that logic went out the window when you entered the the world of Chev Chelios. In fact, I think the world is just the amazing dream of writer/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. After all, who else could come up with this crazy shit?

While some might have dismissed “Crank”, the people who got the film are extremely excited to see the next installment and I’m one of those people. So when I got the invite to visit the set twice last year when they were filming, I jumped at the chance. Also, since I’d heard these crazy rumors about the way Neveldine/Taylor worked, I wanted to see for myself what was hype and what was hyperbole. After watching them on two different days and on two locations, everything you’ve heard is true: they both get down and dirty when filming, and they’re sometimes fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants filmmakers.

While some directors have detailed shot lists on set and you get the feeling they’ve prepared for each day like it’s a final exam, I didn’t get that feeling at all on the set of “High Voltage”. Instead, I watched the two of them extremely hands-on with every department and saw them decide how they’d shoot a scene by looking at the location and then grabbing a camera. Seriously–some of the shots I saw had a prep time of 3 seconds.

Oh, I should definitely mention that Mark Neveldine shoots a lot of what you see in frame himself and he’s fearless. While some people might be afraid of squibs and standing in front of machine guns, Mark walked through a scene with camera in hand again and again. It was amazing to see a director so into the action and shots that he puts his own safety on the line.

Look, I could detail everything I saw and did but that’s boring. Instead, let me list some of the things I saw on the first day I was on set:

· Topless women

· Gangsters with machine guns firing at Chev Chelios

· Squibs exploding really close to where I was standing

· Additional topless women

· A boob with a gunshot wound

I’ve been on a lot of movie sets and I’ve NEVER gotten to see so many topless women and guns going off right next to where I was standing. In fact, I was told it’s extremely rare to have journalists or people on set when there are topless women. I can’t possibly think of why that is…

Anyway, on the rest of the first day I saw an insane gun battle between Chev and some gangsters and I watched as the world of digital cinema invaded the set. That’s something else you should know: “Crank High Voltage” was filmed using about a zillion cameras you could purchase at BestBuy and it still looked awesome. Tomorrow I’ll be posting some behind the scenes videos and you won’t believe some of the rigs they came up with for filming the movie.

So after watching tons of takes with machine guns blasting and boobs flashing, I eventually left the set thinking I can’t believe I was allowed to see that stuff and eventually report it.

Cut to a few weeks later.

I awoke to a crazy hangover and my phone ringing. It was Mark Neveldine telling me I had to come to the set as they were shooting this 1950’s Godzilla-inspired sequence and I had to see it. I left my apartment and arrived on set to see balls being attached to a ferret–but I’m getting ahead of myself.

What you need to know is there is a small scene in the film that’s lovingly-ripped from the 50’s-men-in-rubber-suits monster movies. While I forget why it happens, Chev and one of the bad guys end up fighting and the sequence was made in the style of those films. Mark Neveldine said that it’s one of the rare moments that they used a tripod because that’s the way they’d do it back when they made a Godzilla movie. He talks about it in the interview below.

Anyway, I saw some stunt guys fight with very little prep and the sequence looked amazing. That’s the thing about digital filmmaking: in about 10 second you can see the shot on a view screen and what they were filming looked incredible and made all the more impressive because they were shooting it with relatively-inexpensive consumer cameras.

As you’ll be able to see in the video below, Mark and Brian reveal the entire sequence was designed to be shot in one day and in only a few hours.

Since I know set visits can be boring to read, let me wrap up by saying my set visits to “Crank: High Voltage” were an amazing experience and I’m so happy I was able to shoot what you’re about to see.

While many of the studios have been inviting me to visit their sets while filming, getting to interview the directors while on set is still something very new to me. So even though I had only a few minutes to speak with the two of them, I think the background more than makes up for having not too much time.

And with that, here’s writer/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. And a below the interview is an exclusiveclip call ‘Ambulance’. Look for a lot more “Crank High Voltage” stuff tomorrow and Friday.

Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor

Clip 1 – Ambulance

Latest News