The 1991 action-crime thriller Point Break, starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, is currently in the midst of getting the remake treatment. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the original film followed FBI Agent Johnny Utah (Reeves), as he went undercover and formed a friendship with Bodhi (Swayze), the leader of a group of surfers that were suspected of robbing banks.
At the recent press day for Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister’s directorial debut Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp, Alcon Entertainment producers Broderick Johnson and Andrew A. Kosove gave on update on the status of the Point Break remake being directed by Ericson Core. The two men talked about how they’re already well underway with second unit photography, that they’re shooting a variety of extreme sports (of which surfing is only one subset) in 10 countries across the globe, that it’s the greatest footage they’ve ever gotten at Alcon, how the narrative of the remake is completely different from the original, that the only thing they’re carrying over is the bromance between Utah (now played by Luke Bracey) and Bodhi (now played by Gerard Butler), that they are considering using the former President’s masks as a throwback to the original, and that the film will be in 3D and IMAX, but converted later. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
BRODERICK JOHNSON: We’ve shot some extraordinary footage with our surfers. And we were in the Italian Alps with the greatest extreme snow boarders in the world, shooting footage. We’ve actually been in photography on the film, beginning our stunt work with our real athletes. This is a movie with a lot of stunts and no stunt people in it because the stunts are way too dangerous for people who are stunt people. We have real athletes who do this, like Jeb Corliss, who’s the greatest wing-suiter in the world. His team will be doing work for us, over the summer, in Switzerland with motocross. So in any event, principal photography starts in June. But the greatest footage we’ve ever gotten at Alcon is the second unit footage that we have gotten with these athletes and what they’ve done.
Does the script follow the original film?
JOHNSON: Not at all. The script only shares in common with the original the characters and the nature of the character dynamic between Utah and Bodhi and their relationship. Everything else about the movie is different. The narrative of the movie is different. While we do have surfing in the film, it is only a subset of the extreme sports that we deal with, including free-climbing, motocross, wing-suiting and so forth. The movie is being shot in 10 countries across the globe. Kathryn Bigelow’s original movie was really ahead of its time for 1991, when it came out. That was really at the infancy of what extreme sports would become with the X-Games. This movie is on a much broader scale around the world, and the narrative of the movie is completely different. What we found fascinating about the original film, and is preserved in this, is the character work and the relationship between Bodhi and Utah, who are these two gentleman on opposite of the law, but yet, at the same time, share a common bond. That’s the one element that the two movies share.
So, it’s a bromance?
JOHNSON: Yes, it is.
JOHNSON: Maybe. It’s tricky. We’ve thought about this a lot because the world of remaking movies, in truth, is a pretty risky proposition. A lot of them don’t work, as we have been regularly reminded. So, the question then becomes, “What’s the raison d’être for remaking a movie that wasn’t a giant hit, but is an iconic film that many people have seen?” I would argue that the difference is that the world in which a Point Break can exist today, as compared to almost 25 years ago, is profoundly different. Then, it was a few guys surfing in the Santa Monica bay and robbing a couple of banks, as compared to what Jeb Corliss does or what these big wave surfers do today. And the camera technology to be able to capture that, and not with green screen, of which we have virtually none in the movie, but in camera is not technology that existed 25 years ago. So, we felt that we truly could remake the movie in a completely unique and different way than the original film, and that’s why we’ve decided to do it. But the character work in the original film, which ultimately sustains any movie, no matter how glorious the bells and whistles are, and the bromance is fascinating. That is a central part of our story, even though everything else about it is different.
You’ve gotta keep the Nixon mask.
JOHNSON: Well, I think you’ve also got to throw in Merkel and maybe Putin, and a couple new people in there. Maybe we’ll put Nixon in there as a little throwback.
Who are the professional surfers you’re working with?
JOHNSON: Garrett McNamara has done a bunch of work for us. I think he’s one of the best today. And Laird Hamilton as out there for us. And then, we have a group of other guys, most of whom are 18, 19 and 20 years old. It’s amazing how young these guys are, and how extraordinarily talented they are. We got a couple of 70-foot waves. It’s the most incredible footage that we’ve ever gotten on a film. The force of the water is unbelievable. I’m a competitive tri-athlete and I’ve got a lot of experience in the water, but I can’t imagine dealing with 70-foot waves. And what Jeb Corliss and these wing-suited guys do is fly at 140 mph, and you keep your fingers crossed that everybody gets through safely.
JOHNSON: It will be in 3D and IMAX. We’re careful about that. I’m mixed on 3D. I think a movie has to have a real value proposition to consider it, otherwise you’re just trying to take more money from [your audience]. I think this movie really does have a value proposition.
ANDREW A. KOSOVE: We won’t shoot it in 3D. We’ll convert it. One of the benefits of the smaller cameras is that you can really put the audience in with the action. When you start shooting in 3D, the camera rigs are very large.