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Equilibrium Commentary
Kurt Wimmer &
Lucas Foster

8. Signs Of Remorse

Transcription by g3p0

KW: I wanted a different setup, different lighting setup and different camera setup for each scene so that we wouldn't get into a repetitious rhythm whenever we were at his desk. It made it really tough, but we just squeaked by and we got it. Now I'm glad I did.

LF: All of these squibs, the many thousands of squibs that Uli had to rig in these sequences is kind of semi-hilarious.

I think there are more squibs in some of these scenes then there are in whole other movies, y'know the entire movie. We sort of went crazy with the squibs, but we like this stuff. Kurt and I particularly have an endless appetite for gunfire and mayhem. (laughs)

KW: (laughs) Right. Speaking of which, that's a G36, HK-G36 that he's holding there. It's a really cool gun I think it's the standard issue for the German military, I think, don't quote me on that. Very nice gun.

LF: We were supposed to originally get some guns from the Belgian government and some FN-90s. They didn't give them to us.

KW: Right, so we ended up using rubber versions of the FN-90s and even those were hard to get.

LF: Yeah.

KW: Because you can't even ship facsimile guns into the countries.

LF: They have very strict restrictions on weapons in Germany.

KW: That's right. Uli Nefzer, Lucas mentioned a minute ago, our special effects guy, he was great. He was one of the rocks on this film.

LF: Thank god for him.

KW: The thing is that when something was supposed to be there it was and it worked. And sometimes it worked better than you wanted it to. But even better than that the thing that you end up really valuing in somebody, which is somebody like Michael Lindsay, is at the last moment, when there's no time left, and you irresponsibly come up with an idea on the fly and you turn to him and say, "Can we do this? Y'know, we're going to shoot in 5 minutes..." and they say, "I'll see what I can do.", or, "No problem. I'll get it done." . And they get it done, and you love those people. That's the distinction between the people that get it done and the people who get it done on short notice.

LF: There are plenty of people on a film set that who say, "No."

KW: "Ah, it can't be done."

LF: It's lovely to meet people who say, "Yes, it can be done."

KW: It certainly is.

LF: And cheaply, affordably, if you will.

KW: The fact of the matter, or the thing I learned is that, generally, and this certainly isn't a rule there are exceptions to is, but, generally, people will do the minimum that they can get away with. It's not their movie. They're journeymen very often and they're going to go on and they're going to go to another movie and forget about this. Very often they haven't even read the script. They've simply referred to what they need to to do their part. You meet those people, though, who make each movie their movie, it's their version of Equilibrium. It's Lucas Foster's Equilibrium. It's Wolf Kroeger's Equilibrium. It's Dion Beebe's Equilibrium. It's Klaus Badelt's Equilibrium. And those are the people who you will work with again.

LF: The set decorator on this move, Anne Kuljian, gathered all this stuff that's in the movie and she came up with a lot of amazing things. She made metal desks for no money that seemed like they were way more substantial then they were. She found...

KW: Well that was the thing, they were substantial. You're talking about the stainless steel ones?

LF: I wanted own one, I wanted to put those in my house.

KW: If you could have shipped them back you would have. No. Somehow she found this excellent German metalworker had made these stainless steel props that were fantastic.

LF: I actually wanted that gurney; I wanted to keep that gurney. It was such a precision engineered piece of stainless steel. I was amazed, I wanted to keep it.

KW: Well, you have your box. (laughs)

LF: I have my little metal box that I left with. You have the clipboard, right?

KW: I have the clipboard.

LW: Yeah.

KW: It's mine.

This is the, somewhat interestingly; this is the ball I was talking about. I had two of these balls.

LF: One small one and one big one?

KW: That's right. I don't remember why it occurred to me that I would need two, but for some reason it did occur to me. I know people didn't think it would work. The fact of the matter is that the ball you see in his hand before he drops is about 1/3 the size of this ball. But, nobody seems to notice.

LF: I remember when we were looking for a Victrola I remember we were at some gun show somewhere and we saw that guy who was making Victrolas and we kept saying, "Oh, we gotta find something that intricate in Germany."

KW: Now we were at a gun show to hand out pamphlets encouraging people to abandon this violent, ultra-violent pursuit, right?

LF: (laughs) Yeah, that's right.

KW: Okay.

LF: I guess it's politically inappropriate to say that you like and support the idea...

KW: Well I just don't want people to get the wrong impression and think that we have any interest in guns because we don't.

LF: (laughs) Yeah, it's just something we do for movies.

KW: I know, Yeah. And it's really ironic commentary too because we put them in there and we go over the top with them. It's sort of like Archie Bunker or Homer Simpson; they make a political point by taking things to the extreme. Right?

LF: Right. That's what we tell people.

KW: Right. Shut up! I'm perpetrating a front here. (laughs)

LF: Okay.

It's interesting, the fire gags that we did in this movie, there are a couple of them...

...we really controlled them pretty well. Given that we set this building on fire I was very worried about it from a safety perspective but this is sort of in a rail yard, or former...

KW: Right. And part of our back lot, or German, East German back lot.

LF: ...And we set these buildings on fire and in America you can't imagine what it would have taken to get them to let us do that but here they were like, "Yeah, you want to burn that building? Sure!". And we kept it under control because of Uli Nefzer. Because he knew what he was doing.

KW: Yeah. I think Uli is the guy, he is the go to guy in Berlin and he does all the movies and he gets all the work and they respect him, and they should. I mean, I think last I heard Oliver Stone was going to bring Uli to America to do his, don't quote me on that, but yeah there's something like that. He's that good.

LF: He really gave us a lot of confidence.

KW: Here's Mike Smith again. He's every masked sweeper in this movie. Y'know, I might make a comment about that. It was a very conscious decision on my part to put all of these gun toting sweepers and enforcers in masks and I did it to make them so that they weren't human. So that they were more like puppets. So it would be more like a videogame when they were shooting them because of a couple of reasons. I didn't want to get in trouble, I didn't want to have problems with the MPAA, I didn't want to cut anything out. At the end of the day I didn't have to cut anything out. I also knew it would allow me to shoot people in the head, as grim as that sounds, without actually having the graphic effects shot.

LF: If you shot a masked person in the face, you mean, it wouldn't have the same impact as an unmasked person?

KW: Well, yes, it has the same impact, but in a different way that's not gory. The glass shatters, you get the same visceral impact, but you don't get the gore and you don't have to cut it so it worked out really well. But, not only that, I also did it consciously because I didn't want to have to deal with people acting, people not acting, non-actors, stuntmen, etc., with all respect to stuntmen who are actually good actors. Most extras and stuntmen, they can't act. It can screw up a scene and you will have to potentially cut around it and so I figured if I covered up their faces, it would allow me to post-sync their voices if necessary and I could get along with any kind of performance as long as they were standing in the correct position.