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Equilibrium Commentary
Kurt Wimmer &
Lucas Foster

17. Paying the Price

Transcription by Walldude


KW: So the palace that I wanted to shoot in, which we weren't allowed to shoot in would have looked something like this I think. Wolf actually modeled this room after...

LF: ...one of Fredrick's palaces...

KW: Yeah, that's right.  It's not as sumptuous as I would have liked but uh, you know I was pretty down on it at the time.  I was pretty depressed about it but at the end of the day it does it's job. And it's kind of funny because I look at this scene now and then I look at the teaser for the Matrix and it's interesting.  You know there are people who said that this film took the costumes from the Matrix. I don't see that at all.  You know Neo wasn't wearing Prada in it at all, but it's interesting when I see the teaser for Reloaded the costumes are very similar to this and I'm sure the motivation was the same that uh Neo is assuming the theological um, god like proportions and so that's why he has sort of the semi-religious tone to his outfits. But also the set in the teaser where his fighting is actually quite similar to this, sort of 19th century semi-classical.

LF: We taught all of these guys, Taye, Christian and Angus everything they needed to know to work on this, to do the martial arts and sword fighting moves.

KW: In not much time too I might add.  They were all very good at absorbing the choreography.

LF: I have to say Jim Vickers did a pretty amazing job...

KW: He certainly did given what he had to work with..

One interesting thing about this scene was I was losing Taye at that lunch and I had to shoot him out of this whole scene... from Christian's entrance to the end ...so I had to very quickly figure out how I could shoot around the fact that Taye wasn't there and get the stuff that I needed to get that had to have Taye in it.  It was pretty difficult, pushing it, but that's filmmaking.

LF: This uh, I know in the other commentary you were talking a little bit about this.  This was a much more elaborate sequence that we literally just ran out of time to execute.  We wanted to do something pretty spectacular in here...

KW: Which we'll save for another movie.

LF: Which I'm not allowed to talk about because you'll see it in another one of our films but uh, it was pretty cool what we were going to do and we just literally... it was just a time and money thing that we could not finish it.

KW: I just can't.  There were a lot of people that said well, we'll do just a truncated version of it and I just said no we won't do it and um, people were pretty disappointed, in particularly the fight coordinators who were really into it and I appreciate that but um, at the end of the day though people talk about this scene a lot because I think if I'm not mistaken it's the first time it's been done on film. And it seems so obvious, hand trapping with guns but nobody's ever done it and I'm glad that we Americans were the ones who were able to invent this.

LF: I don't think we ever talked about it, you and I never talked about it, but um you know the blood that ends up on his neck in the next scene. It sort of seems like a scene was cut out between the two but it actually isn't the case...

KW: No it wasn't the case.  You know if I could have gone back I would have shot a quick shot of him sustaining that bullet graze in his neck during that last fight. But what really happened was that Christian said to me after we'd shot all that and before we shot this "shouldn't I have some blood on my neck.  It may not make sense," and um I decided he was right and I thought the audience would extrapolate that he was just in a gun fight and it wouldn't be too hard to buy that he has blood on his neck. Um, a lot of people did say... there's some things that you have to include and some things that the audience will just fill in.  That was one that a lot of people needed filling in.
LF: We had various designs for that room that we ultimately, we just liked that thing where he crosses his arms and shoots the screens as he walks by.

KW: Well, you know, it doesn't work.  I mean it's a combination of a lot of considerations. Utility in shooting being one of them, in terms of being able to cover it easily and overall design.  I'm not that happy with it at the end of the day but it serves it's purpose...

There's that cute dog.


KW:That shot was not originally in my original cut of the film but so many people asked on the cards, "What happened to the dog?" So I had to answer that question.

LF: This is Italy right?

KW: Yeah and one thing I do that you might notice is that there are no blood squibs.  I used all powder, basically a black dust in all of the squib hits in the movie and the reason was, I didn't want to cut any of the action and I was concerned that the MP double A... they're like bulls and they react at the sight of red... and so I didn't.  I felt that all the audience really needed was the visual visceral impact and that would be enough.. and I think it was.

And there it is.