INT: The Hitcher
If you havenít
seen the original Eric Red classic THE HITCHER starring Rutger Hauer,
C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh, you are missing out.
But this week you have the opportunity to see the latest in
the horror remake craze with a very scary Sean Bean stepping into
Mr. Hauerís shoes. The
newest version from Rogue Pictures keeps a bit of the suspense with
Dave Meyer, the music video director at the helm.
He is able to keep the flick moving with a great performance
from Sean, and a couple of very capable ďkids in dangerĒ, played
by Zachary Knighton and ONE TREE HILLíS Sophia Bush.
Andrew Form and
Brad Fuller from Platinum Dunes stopped by the Four Seasons in
*** some slight spoilers ahead ***
Any Cheney jokes on the shot gun day? And second, you
did a great job of making this realistic; explaining things like the
cell phone and making it believable, but the Zack, 15 minutes
moment, could you justify the ultimate ďIíll be right backĒ
Brad Fuller (BF):
You know we had to get Zack out of the room; we had to get him out
because we debated how we were going to get Sean in the room. The
response last night was obviously -- there was some fun to be had
there and we had a great shower scene. [Laughs] It was fun for
Sophia, so I dunno; we just kind of went with it. I mean I wish I
could give you a better answer. You have something you want to add
Andrew Form (AF):
No, but itís tricky, because how do you get Zack out of that room
and get Sean in? Because we had this whole scene constructed
where we did want Sean in bed with Sophia and we had to get Zack out
of the motel room.
BF: And you know
Sean is going to be in the bed. You know heís going to be
there. And youíre waiting for it to happen, so weÖ
Sean Bean (SB):
There was a scene where I was in bed with Sophia? [Laughs] Shit.
And a Cheney moment from the shotgun day?
BF: Itís going to be on the DVD.
Sean, how difficult was this character to play for you
because we donít really know anything about him.
SB: It was. There wasnít a
great deal of back history to the guy. Not much information or
where he came from which I thought was quite interesting really,
because it allowed me the freedom to create what I wanted and to
invent him as a person. And I always thought that it was
scarier that you donít know anything about him or where he comes
from. I always find that the less you know about people, the less
you trust them. I usually like to have something to go on but
for this particular movie I was pleased that he was like an angel of
death. Wandering the freeways assuming different identities and that
quite appealed to me.
This is for the producers; the fact we donít know much of
the hitcher does that mean will there be a prequel?
BF: No. I donít see
a prequel happening. As
Sean said, give him a blank slate and let him do what heíll do
with it. There was no thinking about a prequel until you brought it
Sophia what are the challenges of playing a girl like this
and avoiding the clichťís?
Sophia Bush (SBu): Right, I think that was a big thing for me and something that we definitely looked into in a lot of moments in filming, because I donít want to be that girl running around whining and irritating, and at the same time I donít want to come out like Lara Croft with guns blazing, because thatís not quite right either. And I think that itís something that made it great was - greater for me rather was a lot of what Zach and I got to do together. Because we spent weeks just working on the chemistry of our relationship and how Jim and Grace behaved and reacted and the ways we kind of messed with one another and the way partners in a long standing relationship sort of do.
So, what we had, I think this gave me some license to go on the emotional roller coaster instead of just be one kind of woman or another was when Grace wasnít going to make it Jim pulled her up and when Jim wasnít going to make it, Grace pulled him up. And it was a very symbiotic relationship, so it allowed me to show both sides. And it allowed me to flip the scales from her being kind of happy go lucky to her being stripped down and very animalistic. It let me do that slowly more in a see saw than in one quick flip and I think thatís a more accurate portrayal of how people change and how people sort of tap into their strengths.
Dave, this is really a lean film.
Is there more stuff that got cut to bring it down to this
running time? And how was your relationship with the MPAA?
Dave Meyers (DM):
I had a really great MPAA experience. I didnít focus on violence
in the film even though there is some. I tried to keep everything on
thrills and suspense. We cut most of it out before we actually
filmed it, which is sort of how we kept the budget [which] was
extremely low, and yet we still have huge car action and all that
stuff. And so, part of the relationship I had with the producers was
trying to cut that stuff before we filmed it. And really cutting the
fat everywhere we could. I pulled from my commercials and video
background and keeping things really succinct. Itís lean and there
is only one scene that has about five different versions of it and
that hopefully make it to the DVD.
What scene is that?
DM: Am I allowed to say?
DM: The motel scene.
We shot that so many times I think Sean might be mad at
me. He was like, ďAgain?Ē
Dave, can you talk about the musical decisions for the film?
I enjoyed the scene with ďCloserĒ [by Nine Inch Nails] coming
into the scene.
DM: I had a play list that
I used to inspire me for the characters in the film. And it came
through my exposure of music and what I loved and I was distinctly
told by the producers Iíd never afford any of it. So, the film
came out we put it together and we had all that music in there as my
own personal thing. And then one day Brad called me and said,
ďGuess what. The studio likes it and they are going to pay for
this song.Ē I called Dave Matthewís people and got a deal on
that song. And then I started going and Trent Reznor signed off on
it, and then like three or four days ago the studio paid for it
[Laughing] so it was just hanging on it. ďNo, no, no, OK.Ē
This question is for Sean, how difficult was it stepping into
Rutger Hauerís shoes?
Iíd seen the film when it first came out about 20 years ago. And
it made a big impression on me. It was a very well constructed
film and Rutger Hauer gives a very good performance and I remember
being scared by it, and as I said, it made an impact but I really
didnít want that running around my head and cluttering things up
when we were making our version of it. So, I think working with Dave
and obviously, Zach and Sophia, I think we created quite an
interesting new version. And I didnít really have any reservations
or concerns about being compared to another actor. I just wanted to
stop and scratch and do it my way.
Zack and Sophia in the same outfits most of the movie getting
worse for wear. How many
different versions were there? How gross did they get by the end?
Zack Knighton (ZK):
Iíll be back in 15 minutes. [Laughs] It was the same outfit. I
wore the same thing every day. It smelled really bad.
there definitely got to a point where what did they have? For
continuity sake they had to keep a couple of pairs of all that
but there were different stages, because we shot out of sequence.
were a couple of days when we would be in sequence and weíd be in
the same clothes and he looked at me one day and was like, ĎWe
smell.í And Iím like, ďI know.Ē [Laughs] It was
interesting, but then again we were covered in dirt, blood and filth
so we probably would have smelled anyway. I donít think
anyone noticed, except for us.
Sophie, Zack and Sean Ė how is the relationship between you
guys and Sean since you had to be separate from him and scared of
Itís quite good in a way -- that they were scared of me.
ZK: Iím still afraid. [Laughs]
SB: The first
scene we did in Austin, Texas was a night shoot, was the scene in
the car where they are picking up the garage and we shot the
interior of the car which is quite a long scene and it was quite
good that we didnít really know each other by then at all did we?
Liked each other or not.
ZK: You didnít talk to us at all.
SB: Thatís not unusual.
took us a couple of weeks to all get speaking.
it actually worked for the scene because we werenít supposed to
know each other so Iím glad we did that.
first conversation was about how hard you could push the knife into
my face. And I was like, ĎHi. How are you? Feel free to hit
Was it hard to shoot the scenes with the heavy rain?
ZK: I can tell you if you shoot
in the rain youíre going to have a lot of voice ADR to do after
the movie and voice looping, stuff like that.
Thatís if youíve got lines. [Laughs]
DM: I think rain is really
restrictive to work in, but In our particular case we had 20 minutes
of rain in a car and it couldnít have been any more challenging to
keep it interesting and so that was one of my main focuses. Shooting
a whole bunch of angles and catching the nuances of the scene and
stuff so that the tension can stay alive; and with the sound effects
people, every single day I said, ďI want 100 different tracks of
rain. I want rain for this scene that sounds different than rain for
the next scene.Ē Itís a really subtle thing and I donít know
how many people will really pick up on it, but I was just worried
the same type of rain, for 20 minutes, would put people to sleep.
Dave, what was the CG to practical ratio in the car chase
99.9% real. There is no CG at all in it. The only thing that was
done was that we broke cameras. I gambled correctly and put the
camera right in harms way. So, we shot each sequence with ten
cameras. So, four or five of the cameras would see some of the other
cameras and we had to erase them. Itís kind of just the art of
invisibility. There is really only one major CG thing, which was the
rabbit, which is pretty much out of the box now, but everything else
was the art of trying not to have anything.
Sophia, how challenging is it to find quality scripts?
SBu: I think itís definitely hard to find films of quality that you want to make and particularly even when this script came, itís like; prior to reading it did I really know it was going to be anything other than a typical movie of a scary genre. And as I was going through it I realized that there was something special here. Because, not only did that tomboy side of me get to completely freak out and like, my stunt junkie way, do all of these amazing things and watch cars get blown up and watch helicopters fly over our faces and ride around the desert with guns, but there was such a development for this character and a real sort of slope for this girl to fall down.
And I think thatís it of me is really choosing something that gives me some work to do and things that I havenít done before. It was something just really very exciting. And the relationships between our characters I think is phenomenal and real and something that gets overdone in our age range a lot. And to be working with Sean and it was like, ďYeah, I want to make a movie with Sean Bean. Totally scary!Ē [Laughs] And itís so great, because we had a moment in that first sequence, like he says, barely knowing each other and weíre fighting and Iím like, ĎGod, this guy is so strong and he has my face in his hand and this is great, this is great.í And I made some noise that worried him and you looked at me and was like, ĎAre you alright?í And I was like, ĎYeah.í And you were like, ĎOK!í And I was like, ĎOK, weíre back in the scene. Beat me up some more.í
SB: You liked
that didnít you? [Laughs]
Question for Andrew and Brad Ė any update on ĎFriday the
AF: We are working on a script
right now. And I think that next year, itís not in the first two
quarters for us, that movie, maybe at the end of the year next year.
But right now we are still working on the screenplay.
AF: No director yet at all.
I mean Jonathan Liebesman is attached to the movie right now, the
director of ĎChainsawí.
BF: But it really depends
on his schedule. Heís got a lot of things rolling around right
now. So, if heís available when we have a script, weíd love to
work with him again. We had a great experience with him.
Dave, how did
you come to the project and was it something you always wanted to
DM: Brad, Drew and Michael
are big fans of THE HITCHER and were sort of circling it and found
rights to it. I was circling their operation of sort of being a home
for video commercial guys, making that jump to movies. The president
of the studio happened -- to a year before do a movie with him. All
of these stars sort of aligned. I studied the film and realized like
Sophia said, thereís character arcs in there. There is something
more special than the typical horror film. It just all sort of
Sophia, what do you think the fascination with girls kicking
think whatís great about [it] is that weíve seen so many great
heroes in men and your iconic Dirty Harry and your Indiana Jones.
Youíve got that and weíre at a point where in our sociology
weíve evolved to realize that women can kick as much ass and want
to see it. Thereís something thatís a little less expected about
seeing the girlfriend end up with the shotgun. Itís exciting and
it really gives the guys something to root for, but it gives the
girls in the audience something to root for too. You no longer have
women being dragged to an action movie by their boyfriend. Couples
are going together because theyíre both really excited about the
film and itís something I enjoy. I really liked that whole end
sequence in the movie. We had a good time with that one.
How close to the original script did you stay to and how long
was the shoot?
Shoot was 44 days. The original script of the remake?
Your original script of this?
DM: The structure of it
stayed pretty close. We pretty much improved the whole movie. There
was a green-lit draft that had a structure that had certain scenes
that are still in the movie. I
think one of the biggest things in these movies is creating
believability. Everyday weíd show up and see a block of the scene
and go, ďoh thatís not very real.Ē So weíd all go back to
our corners and a lot of time it was the cast that would find the
soul of it and weíd help guide it. Thatís why there is an
authenticity in the film.
Sean, any favorite villains of movies past?
villains? I used to like the old style onesÖ James Cagney and
Edward G. Robinson. People like that. Itís quite hard to spring to
mind. I suppose so, quite rough and ready, no-nonsense
gangsters. I tried to play this guy without being too aggressive in
a sense. John Malkovich is someone I always admire as a villain. I
like him in general, but I think he has an assertive quality about
There was recent talk that they might do a prequel to LORD OF
THE RINGS and a movie about THE HOBBIT? Would
you consider coming back if Peter Jackson isnít involved?
SB: Yeah. I
donít know. Itís very much a creation of Peter Jackson. Itís
difficult for me to answer that question because I havenít heard
about it. It depends on the circumstances, the many, many
circumstances. The director, the writing, the whole idea behind it
and what they are trying to achieve.
Whatís next for all of you?
BF: We are trying to put another
picture for Rogue Pictures called ALONE.
An original script?
AF: An original script. Can
you believe it?
BF: We start production in
a few weeks on a movie called HORSEMAN.
Itís a thriller.
AF: In the vein of SEVEN
with Dennis Quaid and Ziyi Zhang.
BF: Then weíve talked
about THE BIRDS. Thatís
out there. Thereís another movie we might do for Rouge. We might
do NEAR DARK for Rogue. We love the way Eric Red works.
THE BIRDS is still likely to happen?
BF: Absolutely. Yes. In the
next two weeks, or the next week or so I think theyíll announce it
because theyíre starting to talk about a new writer to come on and
write that. It definitely feels like it is moving.
AF: And FRIDAY THE 13th,
weíre still working on the script for.
not really doing anything at the moment. I just finished this film
in the artic called TRUE NORTH with Michelle Yeoh, which is also
about three characters, but slightly different from this
combination. So I was over there for awhile and Iíve been flying
around a bit. Iím sick of it so Iím off and looking and just
looking at a few things now. Nothing definite.
finishing the fourth season of One Tree Hill. We start on hiatus
half way through April and so itís sort of in the next few weeks
that we pull things that have started coming together and all the
things that will be put together and figure out what pool we feel
like diving in for the summer.
How long do you think One Tree Hill will go for?
never really do and I think itís hard to say. Depends how long the
kids keep watching. How long we keep the teenagers entertained.
ZK: Iím about to start a
job as Sean Beanís new personal assistant.
[Laughing] I am currently sort of in the mix for some things
and hoping that something works out and basically just hanging out
on the west side and surfing.
DM: Iím just waiting for
the movie to come out. A lot of times with a first time film, people
wait to see the film before they decide what want to offer you. A
lot of what I have been offered is sort of clones of THE HITCHER and
I donít really want to do that. Iím
developing a movie called WITCH HUNTER with Arnold Kopelson and New
Regency. That will be the A plan if that actually gets green-lit.
Itís extremely expensive and I donít know where it stands, but
its being read and if that happens, then that will be the immediate
one. Otherwise, Iíll wait.
Can you talk about casting? I understand Zach went through a
rigorous audition process.
DM: Iíll hand that one to Brad.
BF: Zack specifically? With Sophia it was very simple. She was an actress we had heard about and for Drew and myself, we get a lot more from sitting down with an actor and actresses then actually auditioning them. Thatís how we found Jessica Biel from THE TEXAS CHAINSAW. Thatís how we found Jordana Brewster for the other CHAINSAW [THE BEGINNING]. We had heard wonderful things about Sophia and she came in and we just kind of fell in love with her. We just kind of said weíre working on this thing called THE HITCHER and it was early on.
When this script was being developed she was the person we had in mind and we kept her up to speed with what was happening with it. It was always Sophiaís movie. By design, she fits the bill for us. We thought she was likeable and at the same time can carry that gun. That worked out. As far as Zack, Zack had a much more torturous process to getting this role. Zach was a guy who we really wanted to be in the CHAINSAW: THE BEGINNING, that we had just finished. For whatever reason it came down to Zach and this other guy and the other guy got the role.
We loved him and you gotta choose an actor, Sophia is really hot and youíve got to choose a guy who you believe is such a cool guy because she can get any guy she wants. Youíve got to get a guy thatís a real guyís guy. When youíre casting actors; that was always a real hard thing for us to find, a guy who you believe is going to drive a Ford 42 and land Sophia and be in those situations. Zach kept coming back. We didnít want to cut him and we kept on seeing other actors for lack of a better term, bigger names and people who are more well know.
Zach, to his
credit, doesnít have many credits. He did one show and that was
pretty much it. But, he
just kept coming back and every time he came back, he was better and
better. At the end of it, you canít think of the role any other
way. He was the only guy who nailed it six times. I think you
actually did come back six times. How do you not give the guy the
role? He kept coming back. No one else had that longevity.
ZK: I also happened to be
in the habit of drinking beers at the time and I had to drop a few
pounds. I actually lost I think I lost 13 pounds in five days
Did you stop
Yeah. I pretty much stopped everything. I
realized that Iím not the pretty boy type that you see in this
film and I thought that Iíd try to improve myself physically and
mentally for the thing.
BF: For Sean too. It
was very simple. For THE
HITCHER, we were looking for a Sean Bean type; we didnít think
weíd actually get Sean. [We needed] this great elegant actor who
could play this role. Weíd checked on Sean and his dates werenít
working and it wasnít good. Sean
had just worked with out partner Michael Bay on THE ISLAND, and Drew
and I went to Michael and said ďcome on letís get Sean. Letís
try to figure it out.Ē We
moved some dates around and then his dates opened up and we just got
There was a rumor online about Naomi Watts being up for THE
BF: No actor or actress is going to commit to everything with a script. Weíve sat down with her and conceptually I think we all want to make the same movie, but until we have a script and a director, I think itís a little premature. But, weíre all talking and sheís who weíd like to have as the lead.
What else do you have planned for the
DM: I dunno, whatever Brad
and Drew let me put on there. Thereís a lot of material that we
can play with.
The Motel scene?
I think itíd be fun to have that. We
actually have five complete scenes of how we addressed the motel
each with their own flaw.
Producers at the
same time: ...and two endings.
Sean any plans to go back to the Sharp series?
donít know. We did one in India last year called Sharpís
challenge, which was a lot of fun. it would be good to maybe
resurrect it one day so long as there is something to talk about. As
long as weíre not just going on for the sake of it because it was
popular and it was successful. But
I would like to think there is life in it as long as itís
meaningful and we are just not repeating what we did already. Itís
particularly, obviously a favorite of mine.
Let me know what you think. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.