OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN
"Never Stronger Than When Tested"
When he started pre-production on Olympus Has Fallen, Fuqua knew relatively little about the inner workings and culture of the Secret Service. Making the movie opened his eyes to the dedication the agents have to bring to their work and the sacrifices they must be willing to make.
"I had no idea how important they are," he says. "The Secret Service has a training program that is completely separate from the military, the CIA and the FBI. They are always in prevention mode, making sure nothing happens, unlike the military, which trains to attack. They go in first to make sure everything's clear. They work with local police departments. In some ways they are in control of the president's schedule. They're really unique individuals in that sense."
Their job description also includes being willing to take a bullet for the office of the presidency. "Think about that for a second," says Fuqua. "Your job is to prevent the president and his family from being hurt. You are expected to step in front of a bullet, if necessary. I don't know too many people who would volunteer to do that. My appreciation for them is phenomenal. Their lives are constantly at risk and when I learned all of this, I wanted to honor them with this movie."
In an odd bit of convergence, the director had his first up-close-and-personal encounter with the Secret Service while making the film. "While we were shooting, I got a call from my wife saying the Secret Service was at our house," he remembers. "I freaked out, thinking it had something to do with the movie. It turned out there was someone special in my neighborhood that day and, apparently, from my house there's a vantage point of the house he was visiting, so they wanted to use my house for observation. I still don't know who was in that house, but I found it kind of ironic that, the day I'm shooting the big takeover of the White House, the Secret Service shows up on my doorstep."
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