Safe House Director Assembles Action Movie All-Stars

Lesson One: Hire experts.

Photo Courtesy of: Jasin Boland / Universal Pictures | Licensed to Alpha

Media Group 2012

If the new Denzel Washington/Ryan Reynolds movie Safe House seems wonderfully awesome in the action department, it’s because Swedish director Daniel Espinosa hired all his favorite action auteurs to help him make the film. Espinos–yep, that’s probably a traditional Swedish name–told us exactly how and why he poached the gurus of ‘splosions.

1.       Sound Designer, Christopher Assells

He was the sound designer for Heat. I was 19 when I first saw Heat and it blew my mind. I love the shootout in the LA streets. The rumor is director Michael Mann only used sound from the actual set. You’re hearing the real weapons. That’s why the guns sound so amazing. It’s beautiful. You don’t see action scenes like that in public places. That’s why I put a lot of public scenes in Safe House.

2.       Cinematographer, Oliver Wood

He worked on the Bourne movies. I love the pure mayhem of the Moscow car chase in The Bourne Ultimatum. That’s why we used Oliver Wood. I wouldn’t want to take on a franchise like Bourne myself, but I love those movies.

3.       Fight Choreographer, Olivier Schneider

We used the same fight choreographer that worked on A Prophet. That movie has one of the best fights. The main character is a young kid who moves up the ranks of a mafia inside a prison and is asked to do different things. Once he’s out on parole he’s asked to kill somebody. The shootout is astounding. There’s this part where he’s hiding under a dead body and he’s just waiting for enemies to run out of bullets. It’s a wonderful moment.

Denzel and Ryan did most of the stunts themselves in Safe House. It’s cliché to say, but it’s how it happened. I wanted to shoot all the sequences very close and it became a necessity to see their faces. They had to be there in the moment. I didn’t want to green screen the shots.

The hardest shot was during the car chase. In the scene, the two actors are fighting inside a car. So there’s fight choreography in the small car, and on top of that, there’s everything that’s happening outside the car as it’s racing through rush hour traffic in Cape Town.

Bonus Tips: If you don’t have the budget to lure away Hollywood’s best actioners.

Just go for it. Don’t listen to what other people tell you. There’s too much bad advice out there. You do what you have to do. Do what excites you; what fascinates you. Watch the movies that you love. I grew up watching the classics like The French Connection. That’s how I learned.

Check out the official Safe House site.