OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN
"We Don't Negotiate with Terrorists"
"When executive producer Avi Lerner brought me the script, I knew immediately it was a great piece of material with unlimited potential," says Fuqua, a director known for his unflinching treatment of gritty urban stories like Training Day, which earned Denzel Washington an OscarĀ® for Best Actor. ). "It is classic hero's journey, right out of Joseph Campbell."
"What struck me about the material was that it was something that I felt that could happen "The title put me in the mind of the Roman Empire and the idea of the myth. Mount Olympus is the traditional home of the Greek and Roman gods. It's a symbol of limitless power. In our film the White House crumbles in an unthinkable manner. It had so much resonance for me. Rome, the great empire, becomes America, and its greatest monument collapses."
As producer, Butler was just as eager to sign Fuqua to the project. "When we got this script, I immediately thought of Antoine," he says. "Of all the great directors working today, I thought he was the one who would absolutely kill it. I love his movies from Training Day, which I think is one of the best movies ever made, to Tears of the Sun and Brooklyn's Finest. He does gritty action and realism like nobody else."
Butler's character, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning, becomes the only option for resolve after a group of North Korean commandoes takes control of the White House. Trapped without backup in the decimated building, Banning engages the terrorists in a game of cat-and-mouse with impossibly high stakes.
Fuqua loved the script's daring premise. "The White House has been attacked and the president taken hostage. My only question was, how would this really happen?"
He did some preliminary research on the script's main set piece and was alarmed to find that it was plausible for a relatively small, well-armed, well-trained militia to take the White House by surprise and inflict serious damage in a short time. Convinced he had a story that would be both compelling and riveting, the filmmaker commenced in-depth research of both the White House and the Secret Service to ensure that the story was absolutely genuine.
" We knew that if we got it right, it would blow the audience's mind and they would take this ride with the characters" states Butler. But every moment had to be justified and real."
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