If you’re a fan of action movies then I hope you have some free time this weekend. Why? Because one of the best films of the summer is finally opening… it’s from New Line Cinema and the title is “Shoot ‘Em Up.”
And I know by now you’re sick of me raving about the film and reading about it on every website. But there’s a reason the web community has embraced the movie…it’s fucking good. Seriously. The movie is 90 minutes of non-stop action and it has a cast that makes it even better. Who you ask? How about Clive Owen, Monica Bellucci, Paul Giamatti…you see where this is going.
So to help promote the movie I got to participate in some roundtable interviews with the cast, and the one below is with Clive Owen.
During our discussion we talk about carrots, Comic-Con, "Children of Men," the rumors he was going to play James Bond, what he has coming up and the last bit… the challenges of filming a gun fight while having sex with Monica Bellucci. Yeah, the movie has everything.
As always, you can either read the transcript below or listen to the interview as an MP3 by clicking here. You can also download the audio and put it on an iPod or any portable player for listening later.
“Shoot ‘Em Up” opens tomorrow. Go see it with a bag of carrots. Trust me.
Question: What pulled you to the script?
Clive Owen: Its originality really. I’d never read anything quite as crazy and wild and mad as this script. That’s why I wanted to do it.
Q: How does it feel to kill someone with a carrot?
Clive: One of the challenges of the movie was trying to make carrots cool. That was the biggest challenge.
Q: What are your pet peeves, like your character with people who cut him off on the road?
Clive: I don’t really. I’m quite calm but I relate to the road rage one. When there’s an idiot driving crazily in front of you, that can wind the best of you up.
Did you create a backstory?
Isn’t the best part that he has none?
Clive: That is. I like that. I think it’s important. Even when Paul’s character gives us that history, we don’t know if he’s right or not. And that’s good. All you need to know about that guy is that when it all goes off, he’s going to deliver. That’s all you need to know.
Which came first of the two movies where you save a baby?
Clive: Two movies where I’m delivering a baby.
Did you wonder if you’d want to do it again?
Clive: It was very bizarre, two films back to back shooting, with full on delivery scenes with my delivering a baby. It’s weird. I don't know why, but I’ve been there twice in real life too so I felt I could draw on that experience.
Ever want to be a doctor?
Clive: No, but luckily when my two girls were born, I wasn’t being shot at.
Have you seen any of the Chow Yun Fat/John Woo movies?
Clive: Yeah, I love those films.
Did that influence your character?
Clive: Well, there’s no question he must have got his inspiration from Hard Boiled, with the scene with the baby. Those films are operatic in terms of their sort of action ambitions. I think they’re wonderful films, those early John Woo films.
How was your Comic-Con experience?
Clive: I made it out. [Laughs] I’m here. I actually, to be honest with you, I didn’t think it was as crazy as everyone built it up to be. There’s a huge amount of people that are very passionate about what they’re into and it’s a cool thing that they all come together and share it. If you’re crazy about some character in some comic book or whatever and you can go and share it, there was about 10 versions of Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner walking around that hall. And they all get together and can realize they’re not alone.
Are you able to walk around at your fame level?
Clive: It was a little tricky and there were some pretty crazy characters there. I could. Yeah, I did. I walked through there but I couldn’t hang about. I had to have a bit of a pace on.
How easy or difficult was the love scene gunfight?
Clive: He animated it. That was one of the scenes, you know he did all this animated pitch for the movie and that was one of the scenes he animated. All the action sequences, we kept very close to the animation shot by shot. That was a little trickier because some of it was physically impossible to do. Stick drawings could do everything but Monica and I, we had to adapt a little.
Did you ever want to do James Bond? Everyone wanted you to.
Clive: No, there was a lot of speculation about the whole Bond thing but it was all sort of media hype. I’m very happy doing what I’m doing.
What are you lined up to do next?
Clive: I’ve been taking a bit of time off and I’m about to start on a really exciting project with Tom Tykwer, the guy who did Run Lola Run and Perfume. It’s a big international political thriller that’s a really wonderful script.
Clive: I play a guy from Interpol who’s trying to expose and bring down one of the world’s biggest banks. Every time he comes close, things get very strange, people are murdered, people back off and he obsessively follows them around the world trying to get people to believe. He’s trying to bring this bank down because they deserve to be brought down.
Where did you go to prepare such a hard boiled, cynical character?
Clive: It was really- - he’s a very classic, iconic action guy really. He was very contained. You don’t know much about him. There’s something very satisfying about shooting action because action sequences are very clear what your objectives are. You go shot by shot through the sequence. You’ve got to achieve it all. It was quite straight forward. It was just about keeping them as contained and cool as possible really.
Why does he care that the baby not get killed?
Clive: Because he’s a nice guy. He’s a nice guy. All those guys that get killed, they all deserve it.
Was it Michael’s personality that pulled you in?
Clive: That was certainly a key part of it, yeah. But it was more the originality of the script from the word go. Then it was about meeting Michael and seeing his take on the film. My biggest concern to tell the truth was not with the- - I read the script and said, “That’s wild. If he can pull this off, it’s just fresh, original and witty and really good fun.” But Michael hadn’t done a film on this scale, so the concern is can Michael actually pull this off? It’s one thing writing “This is John Woo’s wet dream.” John Woo is a master of the action genre. Then I met Michael, he storyboarded the entire film. Every time I asked him a practical question about shooting this scene or that scene, he knew every angle he wanted to do. He knew if he was running out of time he could compromise by cutting that guy out, then I just need this angle or that. I was like, “One, if he doesn’t make the film, he’s going to explode. I don’t want that to happen to the guy. And two, he’s ready to make this film. He’s been waiting a long time. He’s together and he’ll pull it off.”
Did you watch his previous films?
Clive: I haven’t actually, no.
They’re pretty good.
Clive: Are they?
Sometimes the baby looks like a stiff plastic doll.
Clive: Well, thanks. Thanks for that. I’m glad we achieved that. [Laughs]
Why did they do that instead of a more realistic baby?
Clive: I suppose it has something to do with a three week old baby. I’m not sure any mother would let me tear around shooting an uzi with a real baby. We doubled the baby. We used the real baby as much as we felt was right and proper and fair. It’s a crazy, wild movie and we’re not going to be irresponsible in real life.
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