INT: Richard Loncraine

British filmmaker Richard Loncraine isn't one to shy away from a challenge. His latest project, the action thriller FIREWALL, couldn't be more different from his last effort, the lighthearted romantic comedy WIMBLEDON . With FIREWALL, Loncraine faces perhaps the greatest challenge of his career: making Harrison Ford look like he's still a legitimate action star. It's a task that would leave lesser directors on the floor, crying in a fetal position. Check out what Richard Loncraine had to say about his film, which opened on Friday.

Richard Loncraine

There’s a lot of technology-related dialogue in this film. Are you electronically savvy?

Yes.  I have to say, that’s one thing I…can I direct movies?  I’m not sure.  Am I electronically savvy?  Yes.  A lot of the (dialogue) came out of my head, truthfully.  I don’t want to take anything away from (screenwriter) Joe Forte’s skills.  But I think when we decided to revamp some of the bank’s structure…the truth is, robbing a bank is frighteningly easy.  It’s much easier than it is in our movie.  We had to make it more complicated to make a movie out of it.

I don’t think I really should tell you how easy it is to rob a bank because it just wouldn’t be good for the people who are working at banks.  But trust me, it’s easy to rob a bank if you’re prepared to go to prison.  We just pay for it in our insurances.  Do you know how many bank robberies there were in L.A. last year?  Over 400.  Now, sometimes they get $10 or $12.  You know, nothing.  But the number of times people tried to go into banks with weapons and tried to rob them was over 400.  Terrifying.

What were your expectations of Harrison Ford? How confident were you that he could handle the physicality of the role?

He’s built like a brick shithouse.  He’s really solid.  And when he’s play-acting…when we were working out the fight, which almost entirely was his…that’s his specialty and he knew what he wanted to do.  And he would sort of pick me up and show me what he was gonna do and I’d have to say, “Stop doing that.  It hurts.”  He did 90 percent of the stunts – he didn’t do the all of the fall down the stairs – but the rest is all him.  Just ask Paul Bettany about how he liked fighting with him.  He’s a very strong man, but he’s strong not only physically but also emotionally when he’s on set.

He’s a tough guy.  And he doesn’t go and kinda wear it on his shoulders.  He’s very quiet, an extremely well-mannered man.  He never grumbles.  He grumbled once; he said, “Why is it that every damn time I get out of a car in this movie, it’s on the wrong side of the road and I have to run through the rain?”  I said, “Because it looks better, Harrison .”  And he said, “Ok.”  He never really grumbles about anything in terms of doing takes.  He’s a very pro man.

What about Virginia Madsen?

She delivers the goods, I think.  Playing wives in Harrison Ford movies is not always the easiest thing to do, because it’s going to be dominated by his character.  To find an actress of her caliber who was prepared to support the film in the way she did was great.  My feeling when I first read the script…I wanted to make a thriller next.  I’ve made all the wrong decisions, commercially, as a director in my life, because I always do different movies.  And the truth is you’re not meant to do that.  You’re meant to make one movie and make it successful.  And then you’re meant to make the same film again and again, because they know what to buy – they go to Richard Loncraine for these movies or those movies.

Where did Paul Bettany come in to the project? Did he recommend you or did you recommend him?

I don’t think Paul would ever recommend me for anything.  He’s pretty vicious.  (laughs)  No, I don’t think so.  Paul was attached to it.  I met Armyan Bernstein in New York when Paul was doing ADR for Wimbledon and he came in to talk about it.  Armyan’s a charming man, a producer of lots of Harrison Ford movies – Air Force One and many other films.  I thought (Firewall) sounded like a good idea.  Sadly, Mark Pellington’s (the original director attached) wife died a few months or so later and he had to pull out of the picture.  So maybe that’s where it came from, but I don’t know.  Paul can do no wrong, as far as I’m concerned.  I think he’s a wonderful actor and a good friend.

There’s a lot of rain in this film. What’s it like working in the rain all the time?

Well, I’m used to it, coming from England where we get an absurd amount of rain.  I chose to make the film with rain almost throughout.  I thought it would be good if it completely stopped at the end and became a very clear, beautiful day.  I was told it would rain all the time in Vancouver (where the film was shot), which of course it didn’t.  It was completely dry.  (But) I thought it would add a certain kind of oppressiveness, the sound of rain outside the window.

We had a limited amount of money to make the film for a Harrison Ford movie.  It was not an open checkbook by any means.  The one thing the studio never said was, “Are you sure that we can afford to make rain?”  Because it does cost an enormous amount of money.  But once we started shooting with it, there was no choice.  But one forgets, a drive-by shot could cost you $50,000 with the rain.  Just a car driving down the street with no actors in it.  You have to have enormous cranes in the street with great rigs over the top of the street.  I felt it helped; it gave it that sort of “film noir” feel.

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.com



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