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James McAvoy • Morgan Freeman • Angelina Jolie • Terence Stamp • Thomas Kretschmann • Common
DIRECTOR: Timur Bekmambetov

James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Common THE CONCEPT:
A 25-year-old office worker Wesley Gibson (McAvoy) is kidnapped by Fox (Jolie), a member of the Fraternity – a centuries-old league of supersensory trained assassins, whose motto is: Kill one, save a thousand. Wesley discovers his long lost father was killed while working for the Fraternity, and he is to avenge his death.

U.S. RELEASE: June 27 2008, Nationwide • Rated: R


TIMUR BEKMAMBETOV on casting James McAvoy:
Timur Bekmambetov“To create this arc from the ordinary man to the super-assassin, who is a dangerous warrior fighter, it was important to have somebody who would be unpredictable. And the second element was the actor had to feel the tone of the comic book, because this comic book has a unique tone, its irony, its smartness, it’s a little bit smarter than other comic books. James grew up in the same city as Mark Millar, the writer who created this comic book, he’s from Glasgow. I found that they had the same sensibility and that was very important.”

James McAvoy and Timur Bekmambetov“I like action movies when they’re good, but when they’re bad they’re such a waste of time. The one thing that saved this one for was the fact that they were willing to cast somebody like me, which I thought might be a bad idea. I also [liked] the fact that they were giving the job to Timur, who has made vampire movies in the past. I’ve seen lots of vampire films, but he made them very different. I thought, well, this is going to be interesting. And also the fact that they weren’t making this movie for all the family, they were making it a very violent R rated film for adults. I thought this was cool and different.”

COMMON (The Gunsmith):
Common“I know a little more about guns now, but I’m no expert. I’ve been to a gun range where I’ve been shooting and I think I’m good. I did go through extensive gun training in this one, because the Gunsmith is the one who’s taking apart the guns, putting them together, cleaning them, putting designs on them.”

Thomas Kretschmann“I didn’t know the comic book before I started the film. Nothing I did in the film had to do with the comic book, I tried to keep it simple so I read the script and I listened to the director. [I’m supposed to the] the best assassin in the world, and I went, ‘Angelina Jolie is playing another assassin, and I’ve just seen her in Mr & Mrs Smith, what the f- am I doing?’ Basically, I made sure I looked good, and I looked like I knew what I was doing. It was a good opportunity to learn something new, so I did excessive gun training and now I know everything about guns.”

BEKMAMBETOV on James wanting to do all of his own stunts:
Action James McAvoy“It was a problem for me, because James was too enthusiastic about it. He was trying to do everything himself, and it was impossible to stop him. He was great, he was trained, he spent three months to rehearse all the action scenes, to build his body. I kind of agree with him, only an actor can do it, because what was important is that he was an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances and it was cool even if he’s not perfect at something. It feels like a real person.”

“I wanted to do all my own stunts, but they wouldn’t let me. I did a lot of my own stunts, I never broke a single thing. I had a couple of sprains and a couple of twisted knees and ankles, but nothing more than I’d get playing football. The most difficult stunt was probably jumping on the bonnet of the car. There’s a car coming along at 30 miles an hour and I rendezvous with it in the middle of the road and jump on the bonnet, and then it hits the brakes and I go flying off and another car smashes into the back. That was all real. Just before they said action, I was like, ‘I can’t believe they’re letting me do this, I’m slightly terrified now.’ I can’t believe they let me do that, because they wouldn’t let me jump through a sugar glass pane window.”

“In between takes James spoke with his Scottish accent and I didn’t understand [what he said]. A lot of the crew were either from England or France and speaking with accents, and Timur speaks with a [Russian] accent, and I was really adjusting. I was really amazed and impressed that James would go from the Scottish accent to an American accent so quickly.”

“You always have an idea of what the movie is going to look like when you’re filming it, but mostly your idea is more glorious than the result. This was the first time it was the other way around. It was the first time I walked out of a film and thought, ‘Wow, I didn’t expect that.’ It’s so much better and so much cooler than what I thought it would be.”

“I really believe that a movie without a message doesn’t work. I’ve seen many movies now with no messages, and there was no reason why I spent two hours and paid money to see it. I really believe that movies are so powerful and so influential, they need a message that [the audience] can take with them in their life.”

James McAvoy

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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