Director Gareth Evans discusses breaking bones and blowing minds with 'The Raid 2'
PARK CITY - Even before planning for the Sundance Film Festival began at HitFix headquarters in LA, I had challenged director Gareth Evans and the cast of his new film "The Raid 2: Berendal" to a snowball fight in Park City.
After all, for the cast, this is their first time traveling together to a place with snow. Co fight master and co-star Yayan Ruhian had never seen snow in his life when he arrived, and according to Evans, Ruhian's first reaction was to grab two big handfuls of snow and just smash them to his face. His second reaction was to immediately regret his first reaction.
The damnedest thing happened, though. There was no real snow at Sundance this year. The weather's been cold and clear and dry, and so when we finally got to the day where I was scheduled to talk to the cast and the crew of "The Raid 2," we decided to shoot the chats inside the Yarrow Hotel, one of the two hotels that serve as part of the nerve center of Sundance.
Speaking to Gareth Evans for the first time we're doing it in any formal sense, there was a lot of ground I wanted to cover. I think he's got a fantastic sense of film language, and my admiration of what he does isn't just about his action chops. The technical sophistication of how "Safe Haven," his segment from "V/H/S/2," was shot is not only deeply impressive, but also almost completely invisible to the audience. There are a lot of very deliberate, complicated choices he made on that film that, if they work, should never been noticed by the audience at all, and he made it look easy. I think that's confidence. He knows how to shoot these things. He has an innate sense of how to build a sequence, how to tell story through visuals, how to use the dynamics of loud and soft in his films.
There is a car chase in "The Raid 2" that is exhilarating, and the staging of it was something I had to discuss with him. There's one shot in particular that reminds me of some of the moves Spielberg made in "War Of The Worlds," and I asked him about how he used CG tools to marry a few things together and to create a seamless illusion.
Watch that moment carefully, because when Gareth told me that he did that entire sequence as one long practical move involving stuntmen, hidden cameramen, and one of the craziest camera moves in film history, my mind was blown. You can see me reel a bit in the interview as I realize he's telling me the truth and as he describes the way they pulled it off. I still can't believe it, and i am going to have to see the film again ASAP so I can see that move one more time.
Evans makes films that are thrilling, and I've seen so much action cinema in my lifetime that it doesn't always affect me the way it should anymore. But when I watch a movie by Gareth Evans, I feel like I'm physically involved. He's going to be a huge name in genre film over the next decade, and I think based on our conversation here, he's going to be routinely dazzling us for quite a while.
"The Raid 2" arrives in US theaters on March 28th to kick your ass.