Kurt Wimmer &
10. A Big Mistake
Kurt: Unlike Taye, Christian is, weirdly enough, an
excellent driver. He was able to pull up at high speeds and
Lucas: ...and hit that spot every time!
Kurt: This is... that's right, that's... that's hitting a
mark. Most of you might think "Oh I can do that, that's no
problem," but this guy is pulling into a frame, you know, a composed
frame and he has to hit the exact place every time and he did it. Our
professional drivers, on set, you know, and these are European-type
drivers who are less easily impressible than American drivers, you
know, ex-formula 1 or whatever they are, they were all extremely
impressed by that.
Lucas: There's our very nice American car that we feature
over and over again.
Lucas: Ok remember this puppy?
Kurt: Oh yes.
Lucas: Um... we had problems. Note to future
filmmakers. Puppies grow, and they grow at a rapid rate and uh, by
the... we picked the puppy, but by the time we shot him he was uh,
starting to get a little puffy, hefty!
Kurt: Especially with a Burnese Mountain Dog and it wasn't
just that ... it wasn't just that we picked him and he started to
grow. He was growing from day to day.
Lucas: Yeah, he was.
Kurt: Uh, he would show up the next day and he would be the
size of a pony!
Kurt: Uh, he was... he was a remarkably stupid dog!
Kurt: I have to say. And we really burned a lot of film
trying to get him to do the most basic things like that.
Lucas: (continues laughing)
Kurt: End up stealing a lot of shots. But the fact of
the matter is... is that although some people think its manipulative,
the audience's heart really goes out to this dog. This is the
scene where I think the audience, for the most part...
Lucas: ...This is where we get them.
Kurt: That's right. For the most part they've been
sitting there and, the jury's out about what they think about this
film, but after this scene, where he, um, kills thirteen people for
Kurt: ...really dumb dog.
Kurt: ...uh, the audience is not going anywhere at that
Lucas: There's the inner costume that's underneath his outer
Kurt: That's right, which you'll start to see more after
this point in the film.
He is cute!
Kurt: He is adorable!
Lucas: That little facemask thing is obviously a little
digital piece that we added later.
Kurt: That's right. I spoke on the other... the other track.
Lucas: It was really cold when we shot this. I mean I can't
even describe to you. This is like 3 or 4 am in the middle of
Berlin in... heading towards the winter, serious winter, we were in,
like, I dunno, late October or something when we were shooting
this. And I mean, I went and bought like, the full-on north face
jacket and I still froze my... my ass off!
Kurt: I... I did too.
Lucas: It was unbelievable.
Kurt: I had six or seven layers on, serious layers on and it
was brutally cold. And, you know, when I think about cold this is, and
how inured the Germans are to this kind of cold, and how, you know, the
winter in Russia knocked them on their asses it makes me realize how
cold it must be in Russia.
Lucas: It was pretty... it's pretty um, you know unglamorous
sometimes, film-making, you know. You're out, you've got your boots on,
you're up to your ass in mud and, you know, it's freezing, or it rains,
or whatever and you still have to like, make your day, it doesn't
Kurt: That's right, it's do or die and especially on our
schedule there was no second chance. You weren't going back and that
was that. The one, sort of, in... insensible thing I found in
Germany was the heaters that they had out there, which people would run
to every chance they got. They were basically thigh-high propane tanks
that heated a heating element to red-hot... to red-hot temperature.
Lucas: More than one jacket was melted on those things!
Kurt: And there was no protection whatsoever it was
basically having an ultimate... an open fire. I know I burned my
jacket on it and I think the number of people running around in flames.
Kurt: But we were too busy trying to stay warm to be overly
concerned about it.
Lucas: We picked these shotguns in the early part of the
process specifically so that he could do this move. And we added
Kurt: ...Right there. Yeah
Lucas: ...Those foregrips and the lights.
Kurt: And the lights. And the interesting thing is,
is that Christian was the only person who was able to do
that. I mean, I'm a fairly strong guy and I could not rack those
shotguns like that but he had no problem doing it, and the stuntmen
couldn't do it either. Or I should say the... we really
didn't have stuntmen because he did all his, almost all his own stunts
Kurt: Right there. By the way that is not wire-fu there,
that is Mike Smith, who is a championship diver, doing an open layout,
basically off the back of the motorcycle,
Kurt: and um...
Lucas: Christian was in remarkable shape. I don't know...
Kurt: He was.
Lucas: You may not remember this but he was so serious about
it, he asked me to get him, like, a... essentially a full gym apparatus
into his apartment and he lived in one of those German, you know,
fourth-floor walk-up type places.
Lucas: I mean a beautiful apartment but, you know, up a
flight of stairs, no elevator.
Kurt: Or, if you've ever been to Europe, you know, the
elevators in Europe leave a lot to be desired. They're made for
two people. All of them.
Lucas: And we had to get his full on workout equipment into
his apartment and me and a few assistants and Christian basically
schlepped that thing up the stairs to get it...
Kurt: That's right.
Lucas: ...to get it up there so he could work out!
Kurt: Christian is very method I undestand. I talked
to some people on Reign of Fire and they said he wasn't quite so
method, but he was very method in this movie, and I... I appreciated
that. You know, when he, he was Christian and he, I mean
Preston, and he stayed Preston throughout... throughout the film.
He was relieved, you know, we shot the bathroom scenes which are the
only scene, and the bedroom scene in the first week, which were the
only scenes which required him to have his shirt off. So that he no
longer had to do the strict diet regimen that he was on.
Lucas: Yeah, he took it pretty seriously.
Kurt: He took it very serious. You know, he took this... he
was... he came to play and he played hard and we always... we wanted
him very badly but I don't think either one of us realized that he
would embody this part so perfectly, at least I feel he did.
I seem to recall getting the, um art department to get this plate into
proper position so that you could see those little Prozium vials was a
Kurt: We lost 45 minutes.
Lucas: Yeah, we lost uh,
Kurt: On the first day...
Kurt: On the first day...
Lucas: ...Because it was in the wrong place for photography.
Kurt: In the, it was the... sometimes the smallest...
sometimes the... the biggest things, you know, stunts that have, you
know, five hundred squibs going off and uh, and backflip, they go off
perfectly and sometimes the smallest things take an hour to do.
It's very strange for us.
Lucas: You may notice that that's another black floor.
That was a rubber... rubber-type floor that we had put in this... the
Baron's Hall here, um, where we shot and it was also a total pain in
the ass to keep clean with those overhead shots where we had to, you
know, people are running around fighting on them.
Kurt: That's right it was pretty disastrous. You can
see the footprints if you look closely but it's not too bad. It's
not nearly as bad as I thought it would be and, um, these are... these
wooden, sort of, kendo-like swords that they're fighting with...
Lucas: ...And we broke all of them.
Kurt: We broke all of them.
Lucas: These guys were really whacking on each other for
real. They both give, we, Vickers gave them a lot of training.
Kurt: No stuntmen for this.
Lucas: Yeah, they beat on each other with these wooden kendo
things and they broke every single one of them.
Kurt: That's right.
Lucas: It was crazy.
The costumes. We really like these costumes. They
took some doing to get these, uh, sort of Japanese-style outfits but,
Kurt: I think they're very good. I think this, uh, one
of the best things that...
Lucas: That Joseph...
Kurt: That Joseph did in the film.
They're certainly fantastic costumes in the sense of fantasy
and, you know, when you're looking at them, outside the context of the
movie or outside the context of the frame, I think that you can be
tempted to say, well, that... that's silly. But, I thought that
they really worked and I think they do. Certainly nobody's
remarked on them.
Lucas: We had a tough time lighting this room. The
Baron's Hall was a very tricky place to light and you'll see that there
are these essentially practicals on the floor that we've covered with...
Kurt: ...Again the aluminum.
Lucas: The aluminum
Kurt: And some stainless steel, yeah.
Lucas: Yeah, uh, to, uh, so that we could light it.
Kurt: The interesting thing is this
is the exact same room that the ... the Gun Kata instructional takes
place in. I don't know if anybody recognizes it and, um, I will say
this is the... one of the one few times I... I got into Dion's business
because he was going to keep the lighting the same as the scene where
they're practicing the... the troops are basically practicing the Gun
Kata, and I said no, I want to see if we can make this, um, uh, a much
different-looking room if possible, you know, as if it were a different
location, and more dramatic and, um, you know, he put his finger to
chin, then he hopped off and... and he did it. I think it's a
great looking scene. It's very unusually lit.