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Posted August 30, 2015 by admin in Resource
 
 

Catatan Produksi Film Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)


About the Production

YOUR NUMBER IS UP

HITMAN: AGENT 47 brings together an iconic anti-hero, an empowered and surprising female protagonist, and a seemingly unstoppable antagonist, in a thrilling story spanning the globe. The titular character’s impact on, and importance to, the legions of fans who’ve followed his exploits across several media, did not go unnoticed by producer Adrian Askarieh, who initially came up with the idea of bringing Agent 47 and the Hitman video game franchise to the big screen. “With this all-new film, we’ve stayed true to the character and his world, while expanding that world in a very real and grounded way,” he explains. “We employ a gritty style that brings 47 into the ‘real world,’ if you will.”

“This film is a complete reboot,” adds producer Alex Young. “We wanted a fresh start and a brand new take on this iconic figure.”

That would be Agent 47, who in this film has some unexpected character shadings that transcend his profession as an elite assassin. Of course, he remains a fiercely independent figure that moves in the shadows and has incredible tools and weaponry at his disposal. But 47’s defining quality is not his martial skills, but his humanity.

The film explores the question, “Is it possible to remove the emotions, like love and fear, which make us human?” notes director Aleksander Bach.

Rupert Friend adds that these qualities are what make 47 so fascinating to him. “I’m always interested in what we’re not being shown with a character,” he notes. “So if you’re playing an assassin like 47, what is his human side? We wanted to take somebody who is on the surface a perfect killing machine, and then explore his other traits. That intrigued me.

“Certainly, on the surface 47 seems indestructible and a complete killing machine,” Friend continues. “But in fact he’s an individual who bleeds and feels. He’s just very, very good at hiding it.”

Friend is certainly familiar with bringing unexpected depth to characters we think we already know. He essays the role of CIA operative Peter Quinn in the acclaimed Showtime series “Homeland,” to which he has brought fascinating elements of vulnerability.

“Rupert has these eyes that can be quite cold but at the same time there’s something behind them,” says Bach.

“Rupert is absolutely Agent 47,” adds Alex Young. “He really brings to life the character’s intelligence, inventiveness, and ability to deal with incredible threats as only 47 can.”

Producer Charles Gordon likens Friend’s work in the film to that of a young actor cast in a landmark action movie Gordon had produced years earlier. “In ‘Die Hard,’ it was Bruce Willis’ performance and his character John McClane’s personal story that added important depth to the character,” he explains. “With Agent 47, we always envisioned him as more than just a cold-blooded assassin. We wanted to open up and humanize the story, and Rupert, as well as Hannah Ware and Zachary Quinto, were instrumental in making that happen.”

 

A WOMAN LOOKING FOR ANSWERS, AND A MAN OF MYSTERY

Ware’s character of Katia is, in several ways, the heart of HITMAN: AGENT 47. When we meet Katia, she’s lost, off the grid, and on a quest to find someone she barely remembers but who may hold the key to an incredible secret about her childhood and family. Says Hannah Ware: “Katia leads a nomadic existence and has no interest in socializing – or anything else, for that matter – that could distract her from her goal. So she doesn’t really fit in anywhere or with anyone.”

Katia’s journey and search for answers are marked by a relentless determination, which Ware embraced. “She doesn’t fit in, but at the same time, Katia can be ferocious and brave,” says the actress. “I can identify with her fierce resolve.”

As the story unfolds, Katia discovers an unexpected and intriguing connection with 47, which in turn amps up the action and provides additional opportunities for character exploration.

She learns they are more alike than she could have ever imagined. 47 becomes her mentor, teaching her many of his signature moves, even if it means putting her in harm’s way. “It’s a huge rite of passage for the character,” says Ware. “47 teaches Katia and frees her in ways beyond her understanding, at first. He tests her, which reveals Katia’s true nature. It’s ultimately very liberating for her.”

Katia is a complex figure that keeps us guessing, and Ware’s co-stars say the actress brings the character to life in unexpected ways. “Hannah brings a wonderful naivete to the role,” notes Rupert Friend. “Katia learns a huge amount about herself, which required an actor who wasn’t afraid to embrace that naivete so she can then embrace a stunning transformation.”

Adds Zachary Quinto: “Not only is Hannah stunningly beautiful, she also conveys a haunted undercurrent of vulnerability that serves the character very well.”

In a story filled with secrets and revelations, Quinto’s character John Smith perhaps holds the biggest. At first, he seems eager to aid Katia in her search for answers, and during their first encounter he suddenly appears in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz subway station to rescue her from an apparent assailant. Says Bach: ‘Smith comes out of nowhere, telling Katia, ‘I’m here to protect you – and I know who you’re looking for.”

Quinto really locked into the character’s mysterious nature. “In the film’s first act, you don’t really know where Smith is coming from. He intercepts Katia at a crucial moment in her journey, and then there’s a sort of ‘triangulation’ between Smith, Katia and 47. Smith is never what he seems, until he reveals his true motives.”

“Smith is a fascinating, layered character,” adds Askarieh. “In the first half of the movie, he’s our protagonist, protecting Katia. But we soon learn that Smith is using her for some insidious purposes.”

Moreover, Smith holds a deep grudge against 47, and ultimately becomes one of the Hitman’s most iconic and fearsome enemies. “His agenda against 47 is very personal,” says Askarieh. “Smith feels inferior to 47, which is a big point of contention for him.”

Whatever the enmity between the two characters, Friend admires what Quinto did with a character that switches gears without warning. “Zach does something very interesting and brave with Smith, who when we meet him is this all-American, square-jawed, trustworthy guy,” notes Friend. “The audience has to trust Smith because part of his journey is flipping your expectations of who he is – and who ultimately are we to trust?”

 

AT THE HELM

Friend, Quinto, Ware and the rest of the cast and crew certainly put their trust in director Aleksander Bach, whom Quinto says “has a real vision, and he gets the emotional component of the story, as well as the incredible action and visuals.” Adds Friend: “Ale has a real sense of the soul of the action. With him, it’s never just about flashy visuals.”

Bach landed the assignment – his feature directorial debut – after submitting a sizzle reel that outlined his vision for HITMAN: AGENT 47. “We were already impressed with Ale’s commercial work, and were eager to talk with him about directing the film,” remembers Charles Gordon. “And then this terrific reel he prepared sealed the deal. It focused not just on action, but on the characters and emotion. It was quite a selling tool. We all immediately said, “Let’s go with this guy!”

According to Alex Young, the reel was “exactly what we had hoped for, and once production began Ale proved to be a masterful storyteller as well as a great visual stylist.”

Bach’s vision for the film’s visuals encompasses a merging of what he calls “the slick and the gritty.” The “slick” defines the film’s spectacular action set pieces, including helicopters flying into buildings, visceral car chases and exploding jet engines. He says the “grittiness” stems from experiencing the strength in the characters – “when the guys are fighting, they’re really fighting,” he elaborates. “Audiences will really feel it – like you’re in the middle of the battle.”

 

ACTION!

To maximize the impact of the fights and stunts, the production hired action unit directors Chad Stahelski and David M. Leitch, stunt coordinator Jonathan Eusebio and fight coordinator Jon Valera – all from 87-11 Action Design, one of the industry’s premier stunt teams. 87-11 has also overseen the stunts and action for Jurassic World, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and John Wick. Stahelski directed the latter, with Leitch producing.

Among the company’s fans is Rupert Friend, who notes, “87-11 doesn’t just create arbitrary fighting styles. Each character has a distinctive style.”

To that end, Eusebio, Valera and stunt coordinator Chris O’Hara made John Smith a brawler with a big haymaker-punching style. He’s very much a bull-in-a-china shop, while 47 is a far more tactical fighter.

Their final confrontation highlights each man’s fighting style and strengths. “It features a close quarter gun battle, the likes of which you haven’t seen before on screen,” says Valera. “We’ve been trying to do something like this for a few years. It’s hand-to-hand combat with contrasting styles. Smith is stronger, but 47 tries to outsmart him.”

“Smith employs pure brute strength,” adds Eusebio. “His technique is based on traditional Japanese karate, as well as some kickboxing techniques, with strong, big and wide punches.

“47 is the opposite – he’s more linear and efficient in his movements,” Eusebio continues. So we trained Rupert in Malaysian Silat and Filipino Kali martial arts ’empty hands’ styles.”

The characters’ opposing fighting styles facilitate their impact. “Great fights result from contrasting styles,” notes Alex Young, pointing to the storied Muhammed Ali-Joe Frazier bouts as real-life examples.

Friend and Quinto were eager to begin their martial preparations, but due to scheduling issues they had to train separately before their onscreen alter egos engaged in a massive fight scene set in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz Metro Station.

As O’Hara recounts, Friend went above and beyond the regimen proscribed by the stunt team and fight coordinators: “Rupert arrived and said, ‘Let’s go after it [the stunts] as much as I can.’ Normally, each training session is about two hours because we don’t want to burn out the actors and give them too much information. But Rupert was there for over five hours, and displayed a real affinity for the stunts.”

Adds Eusebio: “When Rupert grabs a weapon, he looks like he’s handled it for a long time. And I’m not just talking about 47’s signature weapon, the silver ballers handgun. We wanted Rupert to be able to use anything he could find – like a broken bottle, a plate, a pen, or a lamp – and turn it into a deadly weapon.”

But Friend made sure he was more than adept at wielding the silver ballers. “I spent weeks with a fantastic lead armaments team that trained me to the point where I could put a bag on my head and take the gun apart, and then put it back together.” (The key armorer on the production was Lutz Zeidler, and the armorer was Mario Uy.)

 

THE SUIT

If clothes make the man, then 47 is at least partially defined by his signature attire: a black suit, white shirt and red tie. Friend worked closely with costume designer Bina Daigeler (Che) to make sure that the suit the actor wore was, in her words, “exemplary, classic and timeless. It had to be well-cut, with no frills,” she notes.

Friend jokes that 47 and his suit have a kinship – “like Tom Hanks had with the volleyball Wilson’ in Cast Away.”

Daigeler visited virtually every design house in Germany and New York, before hiring a tailor from Madrid, who created a deep solid black garment made of special and finely woven cotton. She and Friend agree the result was worth the search.

“It’s ‘just’ a black suit, but when I put it on I felt like an assassin who’s paid millions to do his job,” says Friend. “It’s kind of magical.”

“The suit is like a second skin, and that was very important to Rupert,” adds Daigeler.

For Quinto’s John Smith, Daigeler designed a grey suit, which enhances the character’s initially nondescript nature. “When we meet Smith, we can’t really tell anything about him,” Daigeler notes. “It’s important that you don’t know who he is or where he’s coming from. He had to seem like a nice, smart guy you’d be happy to have as a neighbor.”

 

FROM BERLIN TO SINGAPORE

Production on HITMAN: AGENT 47 began in Berlin, where Bach, director of photography Ottar Gudnason and production designer Sebastian Krawinkel made full use of the city’s wintertime grittiness to enhance the drama and several propulsive action sequences.

After several weeks of shooting in the German metropolis, the production relocated to the other side of the world, becoming the first major U.S.-based production to shoot in Singapore.

Notes Bach: “Singapore was a complete contrast to Berlin. It’s a modern, high-tech world with an Asian flavor and a tropical feel, which enhanced our film’s visuals.”

To that end, the production took advantage of the otherworldly look of Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, the futuristic-looking super-trees that rise 50 meters high in the tropical heat and humidity, as well as other landmarks, like the Marina Sands, and Botanic Gardens.

In some instances, those already impressive settings were augmented with visual effects. The VFX team, led by visual effects producer Rich Thorne, digitally built an enormous cityscape with a 360-degree vantage, as well as the villainous Le Clerq’s Syndicate International headquarters – and staged a helicopter crash that demolishes much of the structure.

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