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Interview mit “The Raid”-Regisseur Gareth Evans

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Gareth Evans, Regisseur und Drehbuchautor von “The Raid”

„The Raid“ heißt ein indonesischer Actionfilm, bei dem Filmemacher Gareth Evans Regie geführt und das Drehbuch geschrieben hat. Nach seiner Weltpremiere auf dem Toronto International Film Festival bekam der Film in vielen Kritiken erhebliche Vorschusslorbeeren zugesprochen. In der Hauptrolle spielt Iko Uwais, mit dem Evans bereits den 2009er Film „Merantau“ gedreht hat. In beiden Filmen praktizieren die Figuren die traditionelle indonesische Kampfsportart Silat. In dem Film geht es um ein S.W.A.T.-Team, dass ein von Verbrechern verseuchten Hochhaus-Komplex stürmt und dort auf einen skrupellosen Mafioso treffen, der sich ihnen mit seiner Armee aus Killern und Schlägern entgegen stellt.

filmtogo.net hatte die Möglichkeit mit Regisseur und Drehbuchautor Gareth Evans via Telefon zu sprechen. Nachfolgend könnt ihr lesen, was Evans über den Film, die Action und kommende Projekte zu sagen hatte.

filmtogo.net: First of all, what is it like getting so much buzz for “The Raid” right now? Did you expect that?

Gareth Evans: No, I couldn’t have nearly expected the kind of reaction it had. The film was kind of a plan B project for us. Actually we wanted to make a different movie first, but the budget fell through on that on. “The Raid” was really like the film where we thought, that we need something cheaper and we needed to get something quickly done. So I wrote it really fast. We prepared it quickly. And when we finished shooting, me and my producer liked a lot of what we saw on the film, but we had also a lot of reservation towards something. So we were like, we have to fix a lot for whatever we were doing after “The Raid”. But then we did our first screening in Toronto and all things we were complaining about, all things that we had problems with – the audience just seemed to embrace the film in the whole and just really get behind it. So we were so surprised. We were shocked. We’re very happy and really excited with the film and the response it had.

filmtogo.net: I read a lot of statements about your film, all praising these incredible action sequences. Would you like to explain the difference between the action in “The Raid” and any other Hollywood action movie?

Gareth Evans: I never felt that what we did in “The Raid” was innovative at all. What I feel like what we did was that we just took a step back. If I look at all the films that I loved to watch, all the DVDs that I put in time and time again, they’re all from the same era. They’re all 80s and early 90s Hongkong action cinema or American cinema. Back then, everyone was shooting action in a clear and crisp way. It was designed in a way where you wanted to see the choreography and you wanted to see the stunts. Right now I feel like, what we’re in is a situation where people get so much coverage of something, that they lost the sight of the fact, that it’s bad to have a clear idea of how that fight scene or that action scene shout be played out. Basically that is what we did. We took this step back like in the era of Jackie Chan films in the 80s, where every shot was a jigsaw piece. Every shot was clearly designed and gave the audience a sense of space, geography and also a full understanding of the movement of the choreography. The film did that through the movement of the camera. So I think that’s what we did. We just went back.

filmtogo.net: Is that where all your ideas came from, watching all these movies from the 80s or other action movies? There are so many action sequences in “The Raid” and they’re all different. How did you manage to not repeat yourself at some point?

Gareth Evans: I think it came down from a sense like trying to figure out the logistics of it. Trying to figure out what would the logical evolution of the action scenes be. The first five minutes of an action film are designed in a way to keep the audience hooked. The one thing I really hate is if I watch an action movie, where in the first minutes there is this incredible action sequence and then you don’t get anything close to be as good as that throughout the film until the end. What I wanted was that each scene gets better and better. That the detail of the choreography gets more detailed and that it gets more complex. Also the style is more impressive. And one of the other things that helped us was the structure of the film. By having a S.W.A.T.-Team going into a building, it meant that I could start the film being all about guns and explosions. Then we start to take away all the mechanics, we start to take away the guns. So then it is all about sticks and knives. Then we’re taking that away and making it about hands and feet. Then we decided to make it more about individual duels. That gave it a sense of being able to have as many fight scenes as we had, without it feeling repetitive and without the feeling that we’ve seen everything already. So that was the key to figuring out a way to keep the action fresh throughout the film end.

filmtogo.net: Do you work strictly by script or are you the kind of guy, the kind of director who improvises a lot?

Gareth Evans: In terms of production we not really improvise much. What I do with the script is giving a sense of what the scene is like, where the location is and what the opponents are like. I keep bullet points, like for example in the hallway fight with the stick and the knife. In the script it says, that he is carrying his injured partner and every time they’ve been attacked, he has to move his partner to safety. And the injured partner is relying on him to keep his body standing up. That is in the script, that little detail. But every little punch, kick or block, that’s done through three month with a preproduction workshop with Iko (Uwais) and Yayan (Ruhian), the choreography team. In the start of the film we trained every fight scene, so that we exactly knew what happens and when it would happen. We even go as far as to make a video-storyboard before the fight sequences. So we could see before we even start production, how all the fights would look. So we could get a sense of pacing. So it’s very prepared, but with a lot of collaboration.

filmtogo.net: You’re using the Silat fighting style in the film. Perhaps you can tell what’s the difference between this style and other popular martial arts like karate or kung fu?

Gareth Evans: I think all martial arts tend to share a similar trade in terms of, you know, there are only so many ways you can punch someone. There are only so many ways you can kick and block. But it is the package which is different. It is the way they deliver those moves that looks different. I mean, you have to punch in karate and it looks very straight, very direct. You watch a punch in kung fu or muay thai and it looks different. It’s the way they move their bodies, the way they move their arms. That seems to be the big difference between all martial arts. But what I like about Silat and what I’ve taken from it is that it is very adaptable. It’s evolutionary martial arts in terms of, that you can be in a wide open space with multiple attackers or in a tight claustrophobic space one on one. And there are lots of different ways you can approach that fight. And there are a lot of adaptable methods and movements that you can apply to a fight. There is a low center of gravity in terms of Silat. So you can start eye to eye and then suddenly drop down and take a person’s legs away from them. There is so much you can do. I know that there are tons of different ideas and different exchanges that we can bring into a film, without ever feeling that it’s the same.

filmtogo.net: And what do you think is so fascinating about Iko Uwais. You shoot with him “Merantau”, now “The Raid”. He is not a trained actor. You discovered him. You are obviously holding on to him. But why is that?

Iko Uwais in “The Raid”

Gareth Evans: I just think he’s a huge talent. He has a very natural screen presence and a lot of charisma as well. What I love about his performances and what I love about what he brings to his roles is that people get this feeling that there is a certain honesty and vulnerability about him. He is very good in playing a sort of everyman, which is something that I’ve always been interested in, in terms of films. Like the ordinary guy who gets thrown in extraordinary circumstances. How does he deal with that? I think that is something that Iko is representing in a big way. We don’t design characters for him where he’s just the killing machine. We always try to find those elements of vulnerability that we’re big fans of in Jackie Chan films. Even though you know in the back of your mind, that Jackie Chan will always going to live until the end of the film and he will always going to win the fight, he puts himself in such danger and in such risk, that you could have that brief little moment where you feel like, maybe he won’t make it this time. That’s something I really wanted to do with Ikos character as well.

filmtogo.net: You’re planning to do “Berandal” next. It’s a sequel to “The Raid”. And you’re thinking about doing a trilogy. Could you tell what will happen in part two and part three of your story?

Gareth Evans: Part two is going to be an expansion of the story in the universe of the first movie. There is a lot more character in there, a lot more depths. We didn’t want to do a copy of the first one. So it’s not set in the building this time. We’re actually taking the story out to the streets. We’re going to meet the higher-up gangsters. And so this is going to be a much bigger, sort of dramatic piece. In terms of the action, we got some really big action set pieces. We have one where there is a four on one fight inside a moving car. So there is a lot more elaborate stunt work going to happen in this movie. I’m very excited to see what we’re going to do with it. But we’re also very cautious. We understand that there is a little bit more pressure on the sequel because what happened with the first film. There we definitely had the element of surprise on our site. A lot of people didn’t know what they were going to get with “The Raid”. Now anyone who comes back to the sequel is already curious about it. So we have to look into our box of tricks and see what we can do to make the sequel just as special as the first film. And for the third film I’ve got only a very vague concept right now. So I’m keeping quiet on that one. But it will be pretty special as well. I don’t know when I will do that. Probably part three will be happening in 2016. I want to do something else before I’m doing “The Raid 3”.

filmtogo.net: One last question, perhaps for part three in 2016. If you would have enough money, would you consider shoot in 3D?

Gareth Evans: Never. I hate 3D more than anything. I can’t watch films in 3D for more than ten to 15 minutes. I got a headache after watching it. So if I had to sit in the post-production lab and edit a film in 3D for month, I would probably shoot myself in the head.

Das Interview führte Denis Sasse

Da teilen wir auf jeden Fall eine Meinung. Ein schönes Abschlussstatement von Gareth Evans. Das Telefonat mit dem Filmemacher war wirklich entspannt. Er klingt wie ein netter Typ und an dieser Stelle sei ihm ein großes Dankeschön für die Zeit ausgesprochen, die er für filmtogo.net übrig hatte um über seinen Film „The Raid“ zu sprechen. Wer Lust auf diesen Actionfilm bekommen hat, muss sich nicht mehr allzu lange gedulden. „The Raid“ startet am 12. Juli in den deutschen Kinos.

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