A COMEDY AND ADVENTURE WITH BRAD PITT “BULLET TRAIN”
Cinema Writer/Film Critic Efe TEKSOY; wrote the action, comedy and thriller film “BULLET TRAIN” for America’s Los Angeles based Internet Newspaper @alaturkanews.
ADVENTURE IN THE FAST TRAIN
87North’s $90 million budget Bullet Train, presented by Columbia Pictures; It is based on the book “Maria Beetle” from the Assassins trilogy by Kôtarô Isaka, one of Japan’s best-known authors, who has won such achievements as the Shincho Mystery Club Award, Japan’s Mystery Writers Award, the Japan Booksellers Award, and the Yamamoto Shugoro Award. Directed by David Leitch, who directed productions such as John Wick, Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, the film brings together 7 characters with interrelated but also conflicting goals and offers an adventure-thriller with comedy elements. Yuma Terada and Ryosuke Saegusa, one of the founders and executive producers of the CTB Company, which aims to bring contemporary Japanese storytelling to Hollywood, first came up with the idea of bringing the killer characters from all over the world to life in a stylized Japanese background and gave their full support to the director. The music is by British film and television composer Dominic Lewis, who made a name for himself with The Man in the High Castle and The King’s Man. One of the points that should be underlined is the importance of humor components in the production. We see that the action-loaded suspense scenes of the movie are combined with humor and irony, and the effect is softened. Here we see that the concept of “Viennese Philosophy” in Freud’s period, that is, the fact of making it lighter than it is (the split between the real and the symbolic).
TOPIC OF FILM
A hit man named Ladybug (Brad Pitt) is determined to finish his next job without any problems after a series of bad jobs. But in this last job on the world’s fastest train, he must come face-to-face with his deadly rivals and their interconnected plans.
Stars; Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Benito A Martínez Ocasio, Ryan Reynolds, Channing Tatum, Zazie Beetz and Sandra Bullock.
While crafting the adventure, Leitch’s design team created an alternate reality both inside and outside the train, and to create Japan seen through the train’s windows, the production first shot the area between Tokyo and Kyoto in high resolution.Then, the team built each wagon in separate studios, and projected the images of Japan they had taken before on the LED screens they laid outside the wagons. “Normally you do this with computer graphics, use the blue screen technique and add the flowing landscapes afterwards,” says director Leitch. “Here we covered the 100-meter train with LED screens, so we were able to take direct shots of the inside of the train. This approach reflected positively on the performances of the actors.”
Scene 26 at Sony Studios was converted into 5 different train stations by the production team, in addition to hosting the 2 wagons made for the movie. Los Angeles Convention Center building was again turned into Tokyo Station for the movie. An alley in the city has been turned into a typical Tokyo street with illuminated signs, food stalls and crowds. The landscapes of Japan, which will flow through the windows of the train at a speed of 400KM per hour, were displayed on the walls from the LED screens surrounding the entire train. Because filming isn’t allowed on real bullet trains and at stations, the team recorded footage of the Japanese countryside at a slower speed on the highways, then sped up the footage.Designing the individual wagons was handled by production designer David Scheunemann and cinematographer Jonathan Sela. “The secret to designing a good scene is to add every possible lighting element to the scene from the beginning.” says Scheunemann. Starting with the designer’s plans, the production team built two train cars that could be replaced and converted into different cars. At this stage they occupied the most with the family-oriented Momomon-themed wagon, as the entire wagon had to be decked out with warm, pink skins inside and out. While Scheunemann designed the entire Momomon family, American Horror Story and Netflix‘s 2020 mini-series Hollywood‘s famous costume designer Sarah Evelyn created Momomon costumes for full-size figures to greet passengers.
AN ANGEL OF DEATH ‘PRINCE’
American actress Joey King, who portrayed the role of Prince, spent three hours a day perfecting his British accent. From the action movie The Princess (2022), in which she plays a martial artist princess published on the Hulu platform, to the role of the Prince in the Bullet Train, the actress has added great depth to her character, according to director Leitch. “When Joey did his first readings, we encountered an unexpected emotionality and irony.” says the director. Knowing that others will evaluate him according to his appearance, this character is careful to draw images that will mislead everyone. “She knows what she wants and she gets it with her sweet looks and warm talk,” says King. “Essentially, she is hungry for love and respect, but she covers these needs with a sense of cruelty.” In the movie, we see that the Prince character, who has problems with her father, is reading the book Shibumi. A novel about a Russian-Japanese assassin who killed his father, this book was penned in 1979 by American bestselling popular author Rodney William Whitaker, who goes by the pseudonym Trevanian.
DAVID LEITCH AND BRAD PITT
The friendship between director David Leitch and the movie’s lead actor Brad Pittgoes back to the past. Director David Leitch, Fight Club, Troy and Mr.& Mrs. Smithhad appeared in his films as Brad Pitt’s stunt double and gained his trust. When he sat in the director’s chair, he was very happy to continue working with Pitt. “We always had a close and strong cooperation. Although fate sometimes separates us, we are glad that it finally brought us together again.” Director Leitch’s long history of stunts makes him star as he directs the action sequences. “As a matter of fact, every fight is a little story in itself.” says the director. “There is the beginning, the development and the conclusion, there are the characters. That’s how I became interested in directing when I was doing stunts for fight scenes.” Leitch, who carried his stunting experience to his firm 87North, collaborated extensively with assistant director Greg Rementer, who supported him in the film. The small, indoor scenes of the movie prevented the actors from using stunts. Everyone in the action sequences had to act themselves, especially Brad.” says Rementer. In addition, Rementer goes without saying that Pitt has successfully met this challenge and set an example for other actors: “Brad already has an action movie background, and there’s also the comfort of working with his former stunt double, David. Since her physique is also suitable, she plays the character of Ladybug wonderfully. It is very enjoyable to watch.” Jackie Chan, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd are the names that inspired Leitch while developing Ladybug‘s fighting style. On the other hand, Ladybug’s abstaining attitude, which is afraid of her bad luck especially in the first clashes, does not go unnoticed. “Each fight has its own story, style and flow, we took care to rethink these concepts for each character.” he says.
Over time, David Leitch started to direct and choreograph the stunts; he has successfully reflected his own style in films such as Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw and John Wick as a result of great devotion and effort. According to the director, there is much more that can be done in action movies. “There is action in comedy, horror and thriller. My whole life has been with action movies, now it’s ingrained in my DNA. The idea of being able to implement bold and different ideas without leaving the action axis attracts me.” Filming locations; It took place in Tokyo–Japan, Los Angeles-California (USA) and Sony Pictures Studios located on West Washington Avenue in California. This production, which combines action, comedy and adventure genres, is an entertaining box office movie where excitement and thriller never decrease until the last scene.