Posts Tagged ‘ action thriller ’

Niels Arden Oplev talks about finding his first American film, reuniting with Noomi Rapace, and working with Colin Farrell for DEAD MAN DOWN

Now in Theaters

Now in Theaters

Niels Arden Oplev, Danish director of the original “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” made his American directorial debut this weekend with “Dead Man Down.”

“Dead Man Down” follows the story of Victor (Colin Farrell), a lackey in a crime empire with a dark secret involving revenge. His seemingly fragile neighbor across the street, Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), threatens to expose him unless he helps her carry out a certain revenge of her own.

Oplev talks about finally finding a script he loved, working with Noomi Rapace again, and his nontraditional approach to telling a dark story.

Director Niels Arden Oplev

Director Niels Arden Oplev

AG: This film definitely had me on the edge of my seat the entire time wondering what was going to happen next. It’s a great script by Joel Wyman. What was it about this story that made you really want to take part in this film?
NAO: I came over here [to the U.S.] with “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” and I read so many scripts. I just couldn’t connect very well with any of the scripts. There were many that I didn’t think deserved to become a film, and those who I did think could, the stories were too traditional, in a way, for what I felt I should make after having made a film that became a world hit. When Joel sent me the script, he had seen my film. He sent the script to me and was very excited about the fact that it has this element of a really compelling action story but yet a great revenge story, a double revenge story, where the male and the female lead’s stories get entangled and disrupted by each other. It has my favorite theme, which is when you’re in the most trouble, when your life is the darkest, and something or somebody grants you a second chance and gives you the chance to get your life back again, regain your synergy in a way. This story really had it all. Character-driven action was what I was looking for, so that’s why I was so excited about the script.

AG: Ori Marmur said you had a very “clear and specific vision for the film.” What vision was that, and did the film stay on track? Was the end product what you had wanted from the beginning?
NAO: It’s an elevated action film, so I wanted everything in the film to be super real. I really wanted the acting to be compelling and emotional. At the same time, because it’s a film that has such a heart of darkness and is a revenge story, the traditional thing would be to shoot it kind of dark and gritty, but I wanted to shoot it beautiful. I wanted to go against what you would normally expect and really make the images beautiful even though the film has this darkness in it. So one of the inspirations for the look of the film that Paul Cameron had, the Director of Photography, was that Hong Kong film, “In the Mood for Love.” All this darkness in “Dead Man Down,” I wanted it to take place in an aesthetic setting. That, of course, made it a very distinguished vision for the film. I really honestly feel that the end product completely lives up to my expectations. I’m very excited about sending this film out.

IMG_1870.CR2AG: There was a really great balance of action and emotion, so what was the most challenging part about making this action-packed film with all these twists and turns while keeping that relationship between Victor and Beatrice so central?
NAO: I think that the script already has that in the sense of the situations that happen between the characters, it kind of swings things into action. It’s really founded in the characters. The way that Beatrice entangles herself into Victor’s plans sets it off. I don’t think it was very difficult to do the thing between Noomi and Colin in the sense that they both have such intensity and such talent as actors, and they both loved the material. You have great action, but you also have such great emotional scenes between the two of them. It’s a very good mix for me, as a director, to work with, doing lots of action that I’ve ever done before and still doing these really good dramatic and compelling moments between characters, which is what you could say my “home field” is. It was a good mix.

IMG_5538.CR2AG: I thought Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace did such a good job. It was a great chemistry. What was it about them that made you want them for these parts? Were they your first choices, or how did that work out?
NAO: They were definitely my first choices. I worked with Noomi before, and we have a very close relationship, kind of like sister and brother. I thought it would be absolutely fabulous if she could reunite with me and team up with me again for my first American film, my first film since “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” When I heard Colin was interested in the script, it was really exciting, because he has this – as well as Noomi – wide range in an actor. Colin can go from being incredibly tough as an action hero, but he also has the ability to portray himself as an engineer who moves over here looking for work and loses his family and then chooses to transform himself into a “street soldier,” in a way, to take down these people that have caused this injustice on him. He holds credibility as a compelling, dramatic actor and at the same time, he has this toughness as an action guy. That’s what made it so cool. You could say the same thing about Noomi. She has this compelling strength inside herself, but yet she can be vulnerable and emotional. She can also really kick ass if she has to. She’s a strong female lead. She’s a strong woman in herself, but also a strong female character. It was very cool to be able to have this Beatrice who has this French, petite look with a French manicure, a beautiful woman, but at the same time, she has this unexpected darkness and fury inside her that comes out. She’s a strong female character in a beautiful, fragile wrapping.

Michael J. Bassett talks Silent Hill: Revelation 3D

In theaters October 26, 2012

This Friday, the sequel to the 2006 movie adaptation of the game series, Silent Hill, will be released in theaters. In Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) and her father (Sean Bean) have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn’t fully understand.  On the eve of her 18th birthday, plagued by horrific nightmares and the disappearance of her father, Heather discovers she’s not who she thinks she is.

Michael J. Bassett, a fan of the game series himself, was brought on to write the screenplay and direct the film. After directing several other horror films like Solomon Kane, Deathwatch, and Wilderness, Bassett had his work cut out for him with a sequel to the cult-hit, Silent Hill. The English screenwriter and film director spoke about his life-long fascination with the horror film genre as well as what it was like creating a Silent Hill movie that all audiences can enjoy.

Michael J. Bassett at Comic Con 2011 talking about Silent Hill: Revelation 3D

AG: You’ve directed several other horror films. How did you get into the horror genre? Is it something that you’ve always wanted to do or did you fall into that?
MB: Oh no, I’m a horror fan. You end up making movies you enjoyed as a kid, I think. I grew up in the mid-80s when VHS movies were first available. You could rent movies. I remember cutting school as a teenager with a bunch of friends, renting a whole lot of horror movies, and just spending all day watching horror movies instead of going to school. I remember being caught by my head teacher — the principal — and he said to me, “What possible use is this going to be to you as an adult? What job can you get where this will be any good to you?” I wish I could see him now and say, “It seems as though it was really useful.” (laughs) Because that’s what I love. Half of me wanted to be a veterinary surgeon, and the other half wanted to be a filmmaker. I ended up going down one route and not the other. I like all sorts of genres, though, not just horror. I love horror. I love thrillers, sci-fi, and fantasy, so Solomon Kane was a fantasy picture with a kind of horror beat running through it. A film like Silent Hill is much more directly a horror movie. It has twisted visuals; it’s going to scare you, put you on the edge of your seat, and make you jump a couple of times. It does all of those things a horror movie should do.

AG: I’ve read that you’re a fan of the games, so what was it like for you to be able to write the screenplay as well as direct something that you’re such a big fan of?
MB: Knowing that I was going to get to play a role in a film about Silent Hill was really exciting. I was a fan of the games. I’ve been playing them on and off since they first came out in the mid-2000s. I remember playing the game for the first time, seeing my friends play, and just being blown away by the new ideas and the visuals. It was so exciting. Then, to work with Samuel Hadida — he’s the producer who also worked with me on Solomon Kane – was great. He made the first Silent Hill movie, and he said to me, “I want to make another one. Would you be interested?” I was really excited. It’s a big challenge, though, because you have to make a movie that is not just for Silent Hill fans. It has to be for people who don’t know Silent Hill, who just want to have a great movie experience. They don’t want to study it, they don’t want to go play the games, and they don’t want to see the first movie. They just want to enjoy a great horror movie. So I had to do three things: I had to write a script which was a sequel to the first movie and made sense continuing the story of the little girl from Silent Hill; it has to be an adaptation of one of the games themselves, so we used Silent Hill 3 as a basis for the story; and it had to be a story which you don’t need any knowledge of, that you can just enjoy with a bunch of mates or your date on a Friday night and have the crap scared out of you. That’s kind of three jobs for the script, so it was a big challenge. It was very exciting but difficult.

AG: I actually read up a little on the Silent Hill game series, and it all seems very complex and intricate. How did you go about, like you said, basing it on the games but also making it clear for an audience that doesn’t know about Silent Hill?
MB: The key was that you had to start with the foundation story. It had to be a continuation of the story of a little who’s grown up – she’s turned 18 years old – and she’s been plagued by nightmares and memories that she’s been suppressing. Her father, played by Sean Bean in this story, is keeping her safe, moving her from town to town, because they’re afraid of something that he won’t tell her they’re afraid of. Her story, the story of a girl discovering who she is, she has to find out where her father disappeared to. In doing so, she has to return to this place called Silent Hill where all her nightmares are coming from. That is kind of the basic story. From there, I began to put more complex ideas in, which was bringing in the mythology of the game, and just layering those on top of the basic story, a simple story that everyone can understand and you don’t need any knowledge of Silent Hill to enjoy. So it’s just a question of layering everything in, one thing on top of another. Then, when we finally put the film together, we looked at it and said, “Can everybody understand that?” I think they will.

AG: Are there any horror film directors that you kind of looked to for inspiration when going about directing this film or any of your other films?
MB: Oh, I mean, obviously I’m inspired by loads and loads of different filmmakers. Ridley Scott is one of my great heroes in terms of his great visual style. When I was cutting school and watching those horror movies, the guys I was watching were Wes Craven, John Carpenter, some of the great horror filmmakers. I ended up working with Wes Craven years later, and I told him the story of cutting school, watching the original Hills Have Eyes and being told off for it. He started laughing when I told him, and I thought, “Years later, and here I am sitting with Wes Craven.” I mean, the truth is, you try and stay original to your own style, so visually, I’m influenced by the games. The games of Silent Hill are beautifully put-together, so I tried to capture that world for the audience. There are some good horror movie directors out there now, but right now a lot of the horror is found footage or it’s stuck in a very domestic, realistic world like a house or a street or something. One of the things I liked so much about Silent Hill is that they’re creating a whole new, original world. She starts in a regular town, but she ends up in a place that is just really twisted and dark, with the walls peeling, and this kind of rusted world of monsters and strange corners and freaky ideas. That was a kind of exciting thing to do as a filmmaker.

AG: You wrote the screenplay as well as directed it, so what was more difficult? Writing the screenplay or finding out how to direct it? Which do you enjoy more?
MB: Well, the thing is, when I’m writing, I just want to be directing. When I’m directing, I’d rather be at home writing (laughs). I’m never fully satisfied. The great thing about writing your own script is that when you’re writing, you have a sense of what you want it to look like. Then, when you’re on the set, it’s much easier to communicate that to the actors or the crew, because you know what you meant. Even if the have to make compromises or changes along the way for whatever reason, you’re working for a position of understanding very clearly. So that’s the kind of great thing. The other thing, the disappointing thing, is that the director can’t always do what the writer wants. So you have to be prepared for a little bit of disappointment, but it’s a great thing. It’s often tiring and very hard work, but it’s the best job in the world.

AG: If you could turn any movie that’s not in the horror genre into a horror film, what do you think that would be?
MB: A non-horror movie into a horror movie? (laughs) Wow! It would be like taking a great romantic comedy and turning it. Let’s take When Harry Met Sally. The other thing is, though, that there are so many other great things out there to adapt as well. So rather than taking an existing genre and making it something different, let’s take some of the stories that haven’t been told and do those.

AG: Speaking of which, what would be your dream horror film project?
MB: There is a great game, actually, called Deadspace. It’s fantastic. It’s terrifying. It’s science fiction, which I love. There’s some brilliant stuff to be done with that. I think some smaller horror is actually more interesting. There are a few scripts of my own that I’m desperate to get off the ground now. I’ve been doing TV recently and Silent Hill before that, so I need to make some time and figure out how to get my own stuff back to the screen. I think some deep, psychological horror is very interesting as well as the monster stuff. Silent Hill has a bit of both.

AG: When it comes to directing for the small screen and directing for the big screen, what’s the biggest difference?
MB: One of the things that are interesting right now is that television is sort of doing more interesting things than feature films in terms of budget. The budgets are getting a little better, but what I’ve discovered, really, is that it’s time. Television is done much quicker. You have to make choices faster, and you don’t necessarily get the luxury of stopping and thinking about it, trying something again. You’ve got to be confident with your first decision as the best decision. That’s the challenge. I mean, a lot of movies are done on a short schedule with a small budget. What I also think is great is that people’s televisions are getting bigger and better, so now you can shoot television much the same way as you shoot feature films for the visuals. So the worlds are not that different. The nature of storytelling is a little bit different, but as a director, you’re still trying to make something that is visually impressive, compelling, and does something new for the audience every time.

AG: I’ve actually noticed that on TV, there are a lot more “scary” shows, like American Horror Story or The Walking Dead. Are there any of those types of shows on TV that you’re a fan of?
MB: Oh, I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead. We didn’t get American Horror Story in the UK until quite later on, so I haven’t really gotten into that one yet. I mean, some of the visuals are fantastic. The Walking Dead is the one everyone is really going for at the moment. I tried out Grimm and stuff, but they’re not quite dark enough for my taste. I think horror on TV is something I’m really interested in doing more of.

AG: What kind of TV show do you think you would love to do?
MB: I could tell you, but I’ve got a couple of ideas I’m developing. I like action, and I like horror. I want to do an action horror show.
AG: That actually does sound like The Walking Dead. I love that show.
MB: It’s got proper action, but mine will have more action than that.

AG: Well, do you have any last words for the readers here in Houston about you or the film or any upcoming projects?
MB: Silent Hill: Revelation 3D comes out this Friday, so I hope everyone sees it and enjoys it. It’s a different experience from the regular horror movies. It’s not Paranormal Activity, it’s not Insidious, and it’s not Sinister. It’s a horror movie on a sort of grand scale. If you like your monsters, you’re going to get a lot of monsters.

Zero Dark Thirty – Hit or Miss?

Like every other significant moment in history, there is a movie coming to theaters in December about the death of Osama bin Laden. It will be called Zero Dark Thirty. I had my reservations at first, but knowing now that Kathryn Bigelow will be directing it, I’m interested. The director of The Hurt Locker is taking on a concept that can fail  miserably if not executed professionally and respectfully.

After watching the trailer, I’m confident she can pull it off. I’m still a little bit nervous about it, but it looks like a good watch. I am also prepared to find out that the way our troops found and killed bin Laden is nothing like how it will be portrayed in this movie, but while I’m watching it, I might enjoy it anyway. I’m also intrigued by the cast, namely Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, and Chris Pratt. Thoughts?

Looper: A Review

Now in theaters

Looper is an example of how much I love smart trailers and movie marketing. The trailers have let you know what the premise of the film is, but they don’t give everything away in two minutes. Let’s just say that I was pretty pleasantly surprised by the parts of the film that they make sure you don’t see coming.

Looper is set in 2044 and 2074, when time travel is invented and instantly outlawed. It has also grown increasingly difficult (in 2074) to dispose of dead bodies that people don’t want found. Gangs, mobs, murderers, what have you, they all send people they want dead back to the past, hooded and packed with silver, where “loopers” wait for them in open fields, shoot them dead, and collect their payday. If these “loopers” are still alive in 30 years, they are sent back and killed, and this is called “closing the loop.”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, one such “looper” in 2044, and Bruce Willis plays the older Joe in 2074. Joe knows that his loop will be closed soon, and he feels prepared for it, until his older self appears in the field without a hood. He hesitates, and older Joe escapes. Fast-forward a couple of chase scenes to both Joes sitting in a booth at a diner.

It is there that younger Joe learns that he eventually falls in love with a beautiful woman (Summer Qing) who “saves his life.” Unfortunately, she is killed by a figure known as The Rainmaker who is closing all the loops, and older Joe plans to find him in 2044 and kill him.

He makes a run for it, and younger Joe ends up stranded on a farm. There he meets tough and resilient Sara (Emily Blunt) and her five-year-old son Cid (Pierce Gagnon, who gives a haunting performance of a truly troubled child). He realizes that older Joe believes that Cid may grow up to become The Rainmaker, and that is where the predicament lies.

Gordon-Levitt and Willis are accompanied by great performances by Jeff Daniels as Abe, the mob boss in 2074 sent back in time to manage the “loopers,” Paul Dano as Seth, Joe’s best friend and fellow “looper” desperate to keep from closing his loop, and Noah Segan as Kid Blue, one of Abe’s “gat men” constantly seeking Abe’s approval.

The real star, though, is behind the scenes: writer and director Rian Johnson. He intelligently maneuvers the tricky, and often messy, concept of time travel and leaves the ending up to you. Usually, movies like this leave me frustrated (I’m talking to you, Inception), but Looper gives you enough to make an informed decision. I enjoyed it, even if I did miss Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s boyish good looks underneath the Bruce Willis-inspired prosthetics (see below).

Those are some mean eyebrows.

End of Watch: “Not A Typical Cop Movie”

Michael Pena (L) and Jake Gyllenhaal (R) star in End of Watch, in theaters tomorrow, September 21, 2012

When I walked out of the theater after End of Watch, I had that feeling I love, that feeling I go to the movies for and hope to experience every time I throw my bag of popcorn in the trash on the way out. I felt exhausted. Exhausted, because I was so invested in the characters and the plot that I rode the entire roller coaster of human emotions in just two hours.

End of Watch follows two L.A.P.D. cops, Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena), and their everyday lives patrolling a highly Mexican-American area of Los Angeles. They spent five months training together, going on ride-alongs, getting to know each other, and developing a partnership that is as real on-screen as off. They are smart-asses but still heroic.

Taylor and Zavala talking to an ICE officer

While so many cop movies showcase the dramatic and slightly unrealistic action sequences, End of Watch does best when it shows Taylor and Zavala in their patrol car, talking about things everyone talks about. Life, love, funny stories, etc. It is only possible to believe their heroics after you believe their characters, which you will. From rescuing children from a burning building when the fire department takes too long to arrive to finding children duct-taped in a closet when their crackhead mother calls them in missing, Taylor and Zavala are real and honest throughout.

I was worried about feeling nauseous when I learned it was shot documentary-style, but the filming was carried out really well. It begins with Taylor explaining that he is filming for a class he’s taking for a Pre-Law degree. There are cameras on his and Zavala’s uniforms, a hand-held he carries around, and cameras in the patrol car. It feels as though you are on a ride-along with Taylor and Zavala, so much so that I was scared walking to my car in the garage and driving home.

While Gyllenhaal and Zavala deliver amazing performances, the movie would not be as real as it was without a great ensemble behind them including bitter veteran Officer Van Hauser (David Harbour), their relentless “Sarge” (Frank Grillo), and the feisty female cop duo, Orozco (America Ferrera) and Davis (Cody Horn).

It would also not be as real a story or performance for Gyllenhaal and Pena had they not been supported by their on-screen significant others, Gabby Zavala (Natalie Martinez) and Janet Taylor (Anna Kendrick). Upon watching this film, you realize that cops are real people that have to go home after facing horrible things like murders and near-death experiences, and they would not be able to keep going back to work if they didn’t have unrelenting support when they decompress at home.

Zavala and his wife (R) and Taylor (L) at Zavala’s little sister’s Quinceanera

David Ayer certainly outdid himself finally finding and writing a “true cop story.” After Training Day, S.W.A.T., and The Fast and the Furious, Ayer said this is “not a typical cop movie,” and he wasn’t kidding. He fashioned Taylor and Zavala after two of his good friends who are cops, and it ended up being a great idea.

Anyway, End of Watch is the best movie I’ve seen all year and the best cop movie in years. It is incredibly visceral and real, so prepare to leave the theater exhausted but fulfilled.

Tenoch Huerta talks Get the Gringo

Tenoch Huerta (left) in Get the Gringo, now on DVD and BluRay

In April, Mel Gibson’s Get the Gringo was released on DirecTV Video on Demand (VOD). Gibson stars as Driver, an American criminal who crashes his car into the border wall while being chased by police. He learns his way through the town-like prison, “El Pueblito,” with help from “The Kid,” a 10-year-old boy. The Kid (Kevin Hernandez) is special, because he has the same rare blood-type as a Mexican crime boss in the prison who needs a liver transplant. Drive takes it upon himself to save the Kid’s life and break out of El Pueblito.

Huerta at the Mexican Academy of Film awards in July with his Ariel for Best Actor

Tenoch Huerta plays Carlos in the film, and he recently won The Ariel, the Mexican Academy of Film award, for his work in Days of Grace (Dias de Gracia). He talks about what it was like to play Carlos, working with Mel Gibson, and his opinion on the violence in Mexico.

*This interview was held in Spanish.

AG: Podemos empezar con usted hablando un poco sobre su carácter en la pelicula?
TH: Mi personaje es Carlos. Está un cuate que esta en la carcel, y es parte de la banda que se encarga del verdadero contról dentra de la prisión. El personaje es el brazo ejecutor, quien va y cobra las cuentas y hace pagar a los que deben dinero. Es un personaje muy divertido y que disfruté mucho hacer.

AG: Habia algun conexión personal con Carlos?
TH: No, no. En un sentido, por ejemplo, de estilos de vida o lo de mas, no sujere así. Siempre que creas un personaje, hay partes y muchos puntos de entendimiento entre tu y el personaje. Si no, sería imposible interpretarlo. Mas al lado de eso, no habia otro tipo de conexión entre el personaje y yo. Con entendimiento y comprensión de el, al final del dia, el que descubrílo fui yo.

AG: Como te involucraste en este proyecto?
TH: El director y productor, Adrian Grunberg y Stacy Perskie, me contactaron porque tenemos amigos en común. Vieron mi trabajo, Dias de Gracia, y me contactaron. Les gusto mi chama, me presentaron el guión, me gusto el guión, y en realidad, todo fue muy fácil. No habia complicaciones y negociaciones fueron muy facil. Sentia muy natural entrar al proyecto y lo agradesco.

AG: Porque gustabas el guión? Cual element habia en el guión que te atrayo a este proyecto?
TH: Pues mira, me parece que es un historia muy divertida, me parece que es un historia bien contada, y ademas de que Adrian me acerca de lo que es lo que queria hacer y todo el investigación, me pareció que por allí habia algo bueno y que valía mucho la pena para entrar en este tipo de proyecto.

AG: Yo se que este pelicula se terminó de filmar hace unos años, pero era difícil para filmar por allí en México con toda la violencia que está pasando en la frontera?
TH: No, no. Mira, la verdad es que si estamos en una hora de violencia en el país, pero creo que los medios están dando una imagen un poco distorcionada de lo que esta sucediendo aqui en México. En ciertas regiones en el país, si es muy peligroso, pero otras partes del pais, como donde nosotros trabajamos, afortunadamente no nos alcanzó la hora de violencia. En el sentido, fue sencillo, pero bueno, cuando pasa una país en guerra, en lo que estamos en si es una especie de guerra horrible, pero cuando estas en un país así, siempre se sienta una tension en el ambiente que nos afecta todos, pero por lo pronto para hacer esta pelicula, no fue difícil.

AG: Cual fue su esceno favorita para filmar?
TH: Yo tuve la fortuna, o la mala fortuna, de que me toco la escena maldita. Así le decimos en la cina que una escenas que nomás no salen y no salen y no quedan por qualquier o alguna razón, y a mi me toco justo la esceno maldita que tengo en los banos. Lo hicimos casi ocho a 10 veces. Lo haciamos y lo haciamos, y se acababa el material de la camara o de pronto algo sucedía. Yo ya soñaba de ese esceno y ya lo odió pero hoy me parece una escena divertidisima. Bueno, toda la experiencia ahora me puedo reir de eso!

AG: Como fue trabajando con Mel Gibson?
TH: La verdad es que me parece un actor muy profesional, muy entregado, muy serio y eso siempre es bueno. Cuando trabajas con gente tan profesional, siempre es gratificante. No nomás el, pero todos los actores mexicanos que estan involucrados en este pelicula son de los mejores actores de México en cine. Estar con todos ellos, incluyando Mel Gibson, entre todos estos grandes actores, para mi, imaginate, que siente el rodeo de sus ídolos.

AG: Yo se que recientemente, ganaste el Ariel. Como se siente ser un ganador de un gran honor como eso?
TH: La verdad es que es muy alagador y gratificante. Al final del dia, los actores no hacemos peliculas, o no hacemos nuestro trabajo, para ganar premios, pero si de pronto te dan uno, pues que bueno. Es una deliciosa caricia elego, y ya no creo que ahora, al tener un Ariel en mis manos, lo que hace es comprometerme a un mas. La nivel de exigencia hacia a mi trabajo y hacia a si mismo, pues, tiene que aumentar y tengo que respondar a ese expectative. No que la gente se habla de mi si no lo que yo quiero hacer con mi profesion, porque amo mi carera, amo a mi trabajo, y siempre quiero hacerlo mejor.

AG: Que hay adelante para usted?
TH: Ahora estoy preparando una pelicula que se llama El Charro Misterioso. Es una pelicula Mexicana. Tambien estoy esperando algunos proyectos mas que se concreten. Esperemos que se hagan y sucedieren al final del año, pero por lo pronto, me concentro en este pelicula que es la que tengo en muyato y que ademas me gusta mucho el guión y lo que hicimos con el.

AG: Bueno, hay algo mas que crees que la gente de Houston debe saber sobre usted, la pelicula o el DVD?
TH: Con mención de la pelicula, corren a comprar el DVD, y que lo disfruten y lo recomienden. Se lo van a pasar muy bien. Un abrazo por toda la gente por allá y que se lo pasan bonito. Estarémos viendo pronto.

Adrian Grunberg talks Get the Gringo

In stores July 17, 2012

In April, Mel Gibson‘s Get the Gringo was released on DirecTV Video on Demand. Gibson stars as Driver, an American criminal who crashes his car into the border wall while being chased by police. He learns his way through the town-like prison, “El Pueblito,” with help from “The Kid,” a 10-year-old boy. The Kid (Kevin Hernandez) is special, because he has the same rare blood-type as a Mexican crime boss in the prison who needs a liver transplant. Driver takes it upon himself to save the Kid’s life and break out of El Pueblito.

Get the Gringo is Adrian Grunberg‘s directorial debut after having been First Assistant Director on various films, including Man on Fire, The Legend of Zorro, and Edge of Darkness. Grunberg talked about what it was like directing his first film, the research that went into creating El Pueblito, and what you can expect on the DVD, BluRay and digital download combo pack which hits stores on July 17, 2012.

(L-R) Adrian Grunberg, Kevin Hernandez, Stacy Perskie & Mel Gibson

AG: Hi Adrian, how are you?
Grunberg: Very well. Yourself?
AG: I’m good! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today.
Adrian: On the contrary, thank you.

AG: You’ve been assistant director on some great movies like Traffic, Jarhead, Apocalypto, and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, just to name a few. What was it like finally directing your own film?
Grunberg: It was great. It felt amazing. I had wanted to for a while, and I finally got the chance, which was an incredible chance. It felt great.

AG: Is there anything you took from your experience as an assistant director that you applied to this film?
Grunberg: Oh, I’m sure there are many, many, many things. I don’t think I can pinpoint any now. There is nothing overt or conscious about it, but I’m sure I picked up plenty of things from all of those directors.

AG: How did this opportunity come about?
Grunberg: It was Mel’s idea. He had been reading about some prisons in various parts of the world, and he had this idea about putting an American in a Mexican prison. He offered me to direct it, and that’s how it all began.

AG: This movie’s release was different in that it was through an agreement with DirecTV and Video on Demand. More and more films are starting to do this, so how did that happen and what did you do differently?
Grunberg: Differently, nothing. I mean, that happened way after the movie was finished. Mel is known in the past to have boarded different distribution platforms for his movies. He’s done it before, obviously not on DirecTV, but with alternative means of distribution. Like you said, it’s slowly becoming a very feasible way for many movies to come out with the size of the screens at home and the quality of them. It is now more than just a valid way, it’s a part of the future for a large number of movies. I think Mel took a chance by doing it that way. I don’t think any movie of this size or this type of movie had ever done it. He took a chance, and we’ll see if it pays off or not. I think it definitely was a ballsy and gutsy move on his part to decide to come out this way.

AG: What drew you to this story?
Grunberg: Well, like I said, originally it was Mel’s idea, and the more we started to develop and research and everything, it just became a cooler story. All along that whole process, it grew into our own. It became a very personal project. It has elements of a lot of people in there who were involved, and that’s very satisfying.

AG: What kind of research did you all have to do for this film?
Grunberg: The main story, the original idea was Mel’s, and then Stacy Perskie, who’s the main producer and co-writer and myself basically took it from there. We would all get together and sort of throw ideas around, but it was basically up to us to get more involved in the research. We researched prisons all over the world, like in Thailand, Colombia, and obviously Mexico, because this is where we live, and found some amazing places to base this story on. The research was actually of great help in writing the script, because the prison itself created scenarios and scenes on its own. Interviews with people who were inmates or prison officials created characters and events within the movie. So in this kind of movie, it’s really important to have done good research.

AG: With all of the violence and controversy in and around Mexico these days, how important is it to release a film like this? Was it tricky in any way filming over there?
Grunberg: Not really. I mean, the movie was shot two and a half to three years ago. The first thing to understand is that it’s a fictional movie, and the thing is that the backdrop for the story is a very real place and active reality in the Mexico that we live in today. I think every shoot ends up having its own little quirks and things that happen during the shoot. It was a peaceful event, and we had a great time doing it.

AG: What would you like people to walk away from this movie with?
Grunberg: Hopefully they’re entertained, because that’s the main attribute of the movie. Then I think they’re going to see a world and characters that they probably have never seen portrayed like this before, an interesting symbiosis between the Mexican and the American that is, I think, usually not created in this way very often.

AG: Is there anything that is going to be included on the DVD that we didn’t get to see in the film when it was released?
Grunberg: Oh, for sure. Definitely. There are certain things you will find of interest, but I’ll leave it up to you to buy it and see it. One thing we did that we were eager to, is we had a behind-the-scenes crew the whole shoot. They were able to build some amazing pieces around this prison setting. Interviews and stories with some of the lesser players, the extras, people who were in the prison, ex-convicts who have life stories that were beautifully documented by the behind-the-scenes crew. You’re going to see some of that there, which would be very hard for you to see in any other scenario.

AG: Any last words for the readers here in Houston about you, the movie, or the DVD?
Grunberg: I think that the big thing about the DVD and the fact that it’s coming out on other platforms like iTunes and Amazon to download, is I think that a lot more people are going to have a chance to see it than they did when the movie came out. Take a chance, you’re really going to enjoy it. It’s a different kind of movie, and it’s very entertaining. You won’t miss anything.

AG: Well thank you so much for your time, it was a pleasure speaking with you.
Grunberg: Thank you, same here.