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Wanted - Timur Bekmambetov interview


Interview by Rob Carnevale

RUSSIAN director Timur Bekmambetov talks about directing new assassin action movie Wanted and getting to grips with his first Hollywood blockbuster after the global success of Russian movies Nightwatch and Daywatch

Q. Wanted boasts some amazing action sequences that take things to a new level. Is that something you set out to achieve?
Timur Bekmambetov: No, I just did what I’m doing in every movie. I never think about how I’m changing the world. There wasn’t time to think about that. Just to make it happen was important and I spent all my time and energy ensuring that I did.

Q. There seems to be a lot of real effects to co-exist with some of the special effects…
Timur Bekmambetov: Yes, James [McAvoy] was doing everything himself [laughs]. It was difficult to stop him. He created a very real person who you can trust and follow on this journey into a fantasy world. It was important that James and [writer] Mark Millar are from the same city [Glasgow]. They grew up in the same streets. So, the same sense of humour we kept from the original comic book. And that’s because of James.

Q. How did you enjoy working with Angelina Jolie?
Timur Bekmambetov: She was very interested in everything that happened. I think it was her idea that every bullet had a story. Every shot had a back-story and a reason and was very specific.

Q. Did you have any practical difficulties shooting in America?
Timur Bekmambetov: First of all, it was difficult for me to understand what James [McAvoy] was saying and I’m sure it was sometimes difficult for him to understand me. But then only 10% of the communication came from the verbal. 80% was winks and gestures and that’s how we did it. But for me, it wasn’t just the language but understanding the culture. It’s a movie for American audiences mostly, so to understand this world it was very, very difficult. I was lucky that I had a great team around, a great production designer and a great cast. I just trusted them and used them as my ears and eyes on the set.

Q. Can you talk about the collaborative process with writer Mark Millar because I gather he’s very happy with the finished film even though there are some differences…
Timur Bekmambetov: When I first read the script I didn’t understand how to make the movie. I felt like there was something interesting in it but I didn’t understand what. But then the studio gave me the comic book and it became clear that it was interesting material and there’s a great character and a great sarcastic tone. So, then I understood how to make the movie and I found James [McAvoy] from watching the film Inside I’m Dancing, which was a great role. I then met Mark Millar later and presented him with a pre-visualization [of the film] and he was very, very happy. He said: “It’s totally different but I love it.”

Q. How nervous, if at all, do you get about things like box office?
Timur Bekmambetov: For me, whether 20 people or 20 million people see it makes a big difference. I really like big audiences. For me, it’s very important. We created something, so we really need to get support from people as it gives motivation for me to make something new.

Q. Will you make another English film?
Timur Bekmambetov: I don’t know. It depends what happens this July [once Wanted is released].

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