About The Production
With his skills in physical comedy and timing honed in years of stand-up, Foxx kept the cast and crew entertained throughout the rehearsal process. Notes producer Sean
Ryerson, "Jamie dramatically increased the comic elements of the film. Much of his
riffing and note-perfect mimicry during the read-throughs were incorporated directly into the script."
Foxx's talent for improvisation also set the tone for the other actors. "It's very challenging because he keeps you listening as an actor," adds Elise. "You never know what he is going to say. His improvisation helps to elevate you and gives you the opportunity to re-create the scene each time you do a take."
Fuqua explains, "With a comedian you can't really lock them into the jokes you read. This is what Jamie does for a living. His humor is different and he had to make it his own. He is quick on his feet. He can deliver a line out of nowhere and it's really funny. I had to really be prepared for that and give him as much room as
For producer Sean Ryerson. Antoine Fuqua brought to the production the balance of action they needed to complement Foxx's distinct acting style. "Antoine has an incredible understanding of the visual elements needed for an action comedy," Ryerson said. "The action starts high and never stops. It's an amazing thing to watch."
Throughout production, Fuqua was committed to creating exciting, visceral, yet humorous action sequences. "The scenes at the racetrack have all of these elements," he says. "Julio and Ramundo provide the humor, while Alvin and Bristol give the suspense and the action."
The production design for the film centered on the concept that Alvin is bait and those tracking and hunting him are sharks. "They are using him in this ocean that is New York City," says the director. "New York is so crowded, it is claustrophobic, and you have no idea when or where the sharks will show up."
Fuqua's vision for the overall design also included an underground motif Production designer Peter Jamison incorporated that concept into designs for the tunnels in which Bristol and Jaster travel to commit the Federal Reserve crime. "The tunnels are part of a subterranean city
-- a vast system of flooded, dangerous spaces," explains Jamison.
Construction for the 15-foot-wide tunnel took months to complete. "The alchemy of scenic art turned a structure of concrete material, burlap and pipes into a rotting, dripping realistic space," says art director Peter Grundy. The work paid
off. "When I walked onto the set and saw what they had created based on our conversations, I was impressed," enthuses Fuqua.
Jamison knew that Fuqua wanted to have strong visuals in the complex where Clenteen and his team track Alvin's movements. "Antoine likes high-tech contemporary architecture -- Lloyds of London, the Bank of China in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank -- clean lines, spectacular effects, functionally designed, wrapped in glass and order. Those buildings inspired the curtain wails in the set. Our war room
reflects this architecture," says Jamison. With its banks of computer monitors and tracking videos, the war room conjures images of "a giant high-tech toy box."
"I always wanted to give the war room its own look," explains director of photography Tobias
Schleissler. "The war room is intercut throughout the film and it was important for the audience to be able to
identify it immediately. The architecture helps because it is distinctive from everything else in the film. I used a lot of high lights, but let a lot of things go really black which works very well with the set design -- black columns, black monitors and the dark clothes that the characters wear. There's no color to the space."
"Tobias is great to work with because he's doesn't<
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