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Man on Fire in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Man on Fire

Denzel Washington • Dakota Fanning • Marc Anthony • Radha Mitchell
DIRECTOR: Tony Scott

Keeping safe THE CONCEPT:
In six days there were 24 abductions in Mexico, leading many wealthy people to hire bodyguards for their children. Entering into this world is John Creasy (Washington), a burnt out ex-CIA agent who has given up on life, that is until he’s hired to guard nine-year-old Pita Ramos (Fanning). But Creasy’s new-found purpose in life is shattered when Pita is kidnapped.

U.S. RELEASE: April 23 2004, Nationwide • Rated: R


“I wanted to work with Tony Scott again. He actually shoots the scenes with four cameras minimum, so he’ll shoot a master and a close-up at the same time. So you feel a freedom. Whatever you’re doing, he’s got it. If something is really good, you don’t have to try and repeat it, he’s going to grab honest moments when they happen. And I like to improvise and adlib, so he was capturing a lot of those moments.”

“Denzel was so nice, and I was so honored to get to see him every day. He is so focused and he is always trying to do new things. I want to be like him one day.”

“I did have certain anxieties about working with Denzel, because his presence is very strong, and he is at times kind of intimidating, not always, just I guess when he’s in character, because this character was this non-communicative, strange drifter. And he’s a very interesting actor in that he’ll stay in character most of the time, which is inspiring because it causes other people to stay in their characters, so your mind is constantly focused on what you’re doing all day.”

“Creasy’s a lost soul. He’s got the Bible in one hand and the Jack Daniels in the other, and he’s done a lot of things that we never find out about, which I think is interesting. He’s not the life of the party necessarily, but this young girl brings a lot of joy out of him, and brings him back to life.”

FANNING on how she’s able to cry so effectively on screen:
”My fish died. It was a goldfish. His name was Flounder. It was so sad. He flipped out of his bowl. We put him in a little gold box in my grandmother’s back yard. So I think about that. Poor Flounder.”

MITCHELL on whether she felt safe, shooting in Mexico:
“There was a lot of stuff going on. When I was away somebody stole my driver’s car, which was bulletproof, and they held him at gunpoint. And Tony Scott was held up, and then the accountant [for the movie] was held up, so people did have experiences there that were not nice, but generally I didn’t feel unsafe when I was there.”

WASHINGTON on being concerned for his safety:
“I was more concerned about getting shot by one of the people that was working with me [he laughs]. There were so many guns around there. It was like don’t one of you guys trip and fall and kill me! If there were security concerns, then they did a great job because I never saw any problems.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2004 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #644, June 2004 cover

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