I know you’re going to be asked about this a bunch. So there’s this big one-take action sequence that was heavily hyped in the film. If I understand correctly, Joe Russo’s script just says something along the lines of “the coolest one-take action sequence ever”. How much of this was in the script, and how long did you just read this and say, “Okay, well now I have to plan the coolest ever”?
It was a bit of both, that is to say that the locations, the sets, were established in the script. We knew it was going to be a crazy action, extracting the family from a prison and then it was going to turn into a car chase. Then from the car chase it would end up on a train, and they would end up getting the extraction to a boat and they would be out. Exactly how long it was going to take and what happened between those moments and those connective tissues was all up to me, the production team and the stunt team. So a bit of both. It was on the page to inspire us, and then we had to start doing what we do best and come up with crazy, crazy stuff.
Look, I don’t want to speak for anyone else. For me, the prison fight element was the coolest part. What immediately came to mind was the prison fight from “The Raid 2”. Was it a direct influence? Did you feel like you had to try to match that, or was that just not on your mind during this part?
No, as a fan I’ve definitely seen that fight scene and I love it. It was amazing what they did, that Gareth [Evans] is it amazing. We differentiated ourselves a bit because it’s in the mud and it’s just its own thing. What’s crazy is that if you gave the same footage to 10 different directors, you’d get 10 wildly different and super entertaining versions of the script. I think that’s one of the really fun things about this art form. There isn’t necessarily good versus bad, it’s just different. It’s everyone’s unique point of view, and all I can contribute is my point of view. Yeah, I’m heavily influenced by everyone who’s come before me, because you can’t help but watch their stuff and get inspired. Then I try to internalize that, and then with my own voice and my own lens, I try to present how I see this exciting action scene and hopefully the audience responds.
It’s no secret that Idris Elba is in this movie.
Correct, it is in the world.
What I’m going to ask you is, let’s just say, there isn’t a lot. So how did you get him to agree to be in there for a very limited time?
Well, luckily he and Chris Hemsworth go back into the Marvel Universe. [in the “Thor” films], and so they are friends. Once we had this character in the script who popped in and initiated some things and then popped up a bit later with a bit of a tag, we knew the idea or the potential to expand this “Extraction” universe is that there’s a lot of that potential inside of that character. So we needed to pick someone with charisma and a skill set that he could hold on screen against Chris Hemsworth and hold his own, which is no small task. So when we had that in mind for this character, when Chris reached out, he said, “Hey, I know a guy who could do that.” When Idris said yes, we were all blown away and really excited to work with him. Yes, he’s not on screen often, but when he’s there he has a significant impact on the story,
As is always the case with him. He’s just one of those guys.