Tag: jason statham
Looks like Dominic Toretto and his racing crew are officially headed to Cuba for Fast 8.
It’s been decades since a Hollywood studio shot on the island, but as U.S. relations with Cuba warm, Hollywood has begun to dip its toes in again and test the possibilities. Conan O’Brien journeyed there in March to make Conan the first late-night show to shoot on the island post-embargo.
In 2014, Bob Yari’s Papa: Hemingway in Cuba became the first Hollywood indie to do the same. And now, another milestone arrives as tweets confirm that Fast 8 will be the first Hollywood studio movie to film on the island post-embargo. On Wednesday night, the Fast and Furious Twitter account shared a warm welcome from some of the latest installment’s local extras.
So, does this make Vin Diesel the American studio-film industry’s ambassador to Cuba? Is he ready for that kind of responsibility? From the looks of things, he’s chill as ever. And given how things are going, why shouldn’t he be? In addition to the film’s historic achievement, the movie will bring Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray into the mix.
On top of his recent critically and commercially successful biopic, Gray also directed 2003’s The Italian Job, which, on top of its awesome Mini Cooper chase scene, also starred Charlize Theron, who will also be starring in Fast 8. Following her recent turn as an action hero in Mad Max: Fury Road, Theron might be the most exciting element of the whole project—especially as she’s slated to play the villain.
In addition to Theron, Scott Eastwood will be the other new-coming actor to join all the returning alums when the movie comes out on April 14, 2017: Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, and Kurt Russell are all coming back. In an Instagram post, Diesel himself gave a hint about what’s to come in the new installment, saying, “We’re in Cuba, where the Torettos started. … It’s Dom Toretto, back in his homeland.” Welcome home, Toretto.
Jason Statham exploded onto the big screen with his debut performance in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. He went on to collaborate with Ritchie on his follow-up Snatch, starring opposite Brad Pitt and Benicio Del Toro.
Now one of the biggest and most bankable names of the action world, Jason appeared in sci-fi film Ghosts of Mars and Jet Li’s The One before he was cast by Luc Besson as Frank Martin in The Transporter. In 2003 he starred as Handsome Rob in the summer blockbuster The Italian Job, followed by the adrenaline-compromised action hero Chev Chelios in Crank. Statham returned as Frank Martin in Transporter II and Transporter III and re-teamed with Jet Li in War.
More recently, he has starred in The Bank Job directed by Roger Donaldson, Death Race for Universal and reprised the role of Chev Chelios in Crank: High Voltage. He went on to make 13 and joined an all-action cast in The Expendables directed by Sylvester Stallone. He recently starred in The Mechanic, cop killer thriller Blitz and voiced the character of Tybalt in Gnomeo & Juliet.
To recreate intimate details of a world that is as secretive, complex and finely tuned, as that of the SAS could not have happened without the actors and the director having special insight into this world. The actors were lucky to have consultants to take them into that world as part of their research.
Clive Owen learned a lot about what it means to be in the SAS from those who know first-hand. He explains: “Well actually I know a few ex-SAS guys so I could pick their brains a bit and then I had a couple of meetings with an SAS consultant, a guy who had been in the SAS for twenty-five years. He really explained the whole selection process of the SAS, which was fascinating. He told me that half of the people are eliminated in the first week of physical training. They’ve been chosen because they are the fittest, but when they are put through the process they are very quickly thrown out.”
Through the process of writing the screenplay and directing the film, Gary McKendry also had some invaluable advisors on hand to give the authenticity where it was needed. He says: “We talked to a lot of SAS and Navy Seal guys. It was interesting because they were from very different worlds, very different approaches, but wound up in the same place. We got some really great advisors who were crucial to get it right. Hopefully we got it right.”
Killer Elite is a story of deeply human themes: belonging, loss and redemption; but at the same time it is an exploration of men who are required to be extraordinary, to ask more of themselves than most of us ever need to. Gary McKendry ties the action scenes, so integral to the film’s flow and story, to these deeper themes: “It was really important to me that there wasn’t this big dividing line between drama and action. The key for me was keeping it real, keeping some truth in it. These characters are physical creatures but they’re incredibly intelligent and the price they pay emotionally is quite deep.”
Keeping it real meant a lot of the action is ‘in camera’, something that is becoming rare in contemporary action films. Producer Steve Chasman is thrilled that having such a talented cast allowed for this. “Because Jason and Clive are both so physically gifted, we wanted to try to do things that would really surprise the audience. A lot of movies these days, if you watch them, the cameras are shaking and all you see is a punch with a fist or a knee or an elbow and invariably it’s always the stunt man and then they do a close up of the actor. In this film, for the majority of it, we see everyone in camera. Jason takes a lot of pride in that, and Clive does as well. Even Bob [De Niro] mixed it up, which is really exciting.”
Clive Owen is no stranger to action on-screen, and the type of work it involves is something he really enjoys. “There’s something very satisfying about doing fights in movies because they are very, very specific. The lines of what you have to execute are very clear. It’s like there are beats, and the precision and the objectives are really clear. It’s different with dialogue because there’s so many different ways you can interpret things but with a good fight, it’s very clear what you’ve got to try and execute and I find that quite satisfying.
I have a very big fight with Jason’s character and that took a lot of training. They had a brilliant stunt team on this, the best I have ever worked with to tell you the truth, and in terms of their discipline and the way they approach the fights. It is quite a process; it is something that you do have to prepare for. You can’t just walk onto the set and start picking that sort of stuff up. It’s a long fight. Even though it’s only a few minutes in the movie, it’s a long time to do a fight for that length and it did require a couple of hours a day for quite a few weeks just getting ready for the fight scenes.”
Related Link: Read the Full Production Notes for Killer Elite