About the Production
The filmmakers were cognizant that in order to hold onto the comedic elements of the story they
had to commit to the action and adventure first and then "the concerns of the characters which at times
seem ludicrous become believable," says director Parisot. "The structure is of an action movie but the
characters are comedic because they can't resolve their absurd issues which are happening during a lot of
While the movie is filled with exotic locations, a scintillating car chase through Paris, and action
galore, at its core it's a relationship movie and the difficulty of lifer in the Black Ops game (Frank) and him
wanting to do the right thing keep his fragile china doll (Sarah) safe. She wants the opposite and finds an
ally in Marvin.
"Frank is ill-equipped to handle a basic relationship and Marvin is only too happy to dispense
advice on how to make a relationship work, yet there's a good chance Marvin knows nothing about the
subject," says Willis.
"The old adage 'a stopped clock is right twice a day' is applicable here because Marvin is most
likely idiotic about relationships and any knowledge he thinks he has probably came from a self-help book
because I can't see Marvin in a relationship," notes Malkovich.
Frank gets a more sophisticated and educated angle on relationships from Victoria who is well
versed in mixing work and romance. "I think Victoria is in charge of Frank's emotional life to a certain
extent," says Helen Mirren who reprises her role as Victoria. "Marvin may advise Frank, but Frank pays
attention to Victoria who actually has had relationships in the context of her work. "She's balanced in a
strangely perverse way but understands that you could die at any time, so you have to commit and move
forward," notes Parisot.
"The great thing about all these characters is that while they lead the most extraordinary lives
they have very ordinary problems and are saddled with the same inefficient inadequacies that the rest of
us have," says Mirren.
On the other hand, Sarah, while more emotionally stable, is not all together when it comes to her
spy skill set. "She's not a good liar; not very crafty and just doesn't have a lot of valuable traits at her
disposal," says Parker. And when she meets Frank's ex-flame (Katja) and sees the polish sophistication
and sheer sultriness...Well, Sarah has her work cut out for her. "She just wants to be one of the gang and
for a while all she can fall back on is her earnestness."
"From the beginning, our goal was to provide the audience with a bigger, more expansive
experience than the first movie," says producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. "But one of the dangers with
sequels is that they can get too silly and soft and Bruce and myself were very cognizant of that during the
development. Frank Moses is still a hard guy who's going to pull a gun before he asks a question and
Bruce was always grinding, pushing, analyzing because he wants the best out of the movie."
What remains from the first movie, however, is the almost retro feel of the dialogue between
Frank and Sarah. "Bruce and me always thought that our interplay should have a 1930s screwball comedy
feel to it," says Parker.
The interplay between the two actors gave Parisot a lot of options in the editing room: "Mary-Louise and Bruce play off of each other so brilliantly that I chose to go with a lot more two-shots than
singles because I didn't want to cut away from either of them," says Parisot. "It's a lot like the chemistry
of the old Tracy-Hepburn movies and it was great fun watching them on set get to a fantastic place in the
With Morgan Freeman's character dying in the first movie, the creative team had a challenge of
more than just setting scenes in London and Paris; they needed firepower within the story and the cast to
fill it. "We have powerhouse actors with Bruce, Mary-Louise, Malkovich, Helen and Brian Cox from the
first movie, so we have to cast actors who can hold the screen with these folks and also create roles that
challenge everyone as actors," says producer Mark Vahradian.
Without tripping the gag on Anthony Hopkins' character of Edward Bailey, Hopkins reached back
into British history to create an armature for his character. "Tony was sending me emails a couple months
before production trying to create this character and it was detailed as to what shoes Bailey would wear,"
recalls Parisot. "He reads the script over and over and slowly evolves a character that is so much more
than what was written."
"I do go a bit overboard in reading the text... at least a couple hundred times," says Hopkins.
"But I do it so that I have a framework for improvising because you can open your brain up and not worry
about the text because you know it cold. That's when acting gets fun," says Hopkins.
Zeta-Jones took the cliche of the female Russian spy and turned it on its head by adding comedy
and quirkiness to tilt the character. "My goal was not to make it one dimensional -- the type we've seen in
Bond movies," she notes. "When I read the script the first thing I did -- well, after saying yes -- was to go
through scores of fashion magazines and send them off to Dean so we could visualize what Katja was
Her scenes on the streets of Paris certainly were worthy of the iconic reputation the city has won
for its history of fashion. "There was something wildly intense and eccentric what Catherine wore for the
scene where she and Bruce's character track down David Thewlis's character of The Frog," says Parisot.
"Along with our costume designer Beatrix Pasztor, the two of them found the character in the wardrobe."
David Thewlis also starting working on his character of The Frog in pre-production by sending
Parisot photographs. They settled on a James Joyce look for his character of The Frog, a misanthrope who
has the goods on any and all nefarious activity around the globe. He uses his ill-gotten knowledge to fund
his devotion to the most expensive wines.
The anticipated sequel began production Sept. 14, 2012 in Montreal at the Olympic Stadium.
Built for the 1976 summer Olympic Games, the facility, like nearly all the multi-use stadiums built in the
United States during the 1970s, is rarely used. The concrete dominated structure's concourses have a very
"bunker-like" look, so it dovetailed nicely with the need for the British government's MI6 secret location.
Production continued for 14 shooting days with locations including a spectacular home that
doubled for "The Frog's" Paris apartment. Built in 1914 by famed architect Jean-Omer Marchand it is
located on Wood St. in Montreal's fashionable Westmount section. Other Montreal locations include a
former branch of the Royal Bank of Canada in Old Montreal; St.-Andrew's church in Chateauguay; the
opening scene of the movie was shot in a Costco; the City of Montreal's Finance Building stood in for the
Kremlin's headquarters and north of the city in St-Colomban was the set for Hank's Internet Cafe, which
30 years earlier was the resort the Colford Inn.
Five scenic days were then shot in Paris (as opposed to movies which will have an establishing
shot of the Eiffel Tower, then cut to interior shots).
"It was important to us to shoot in Paris," notes di Bonaventura, "because Paris gives a sense of
romance and the romance between Frank and Sarah is looking for its footing. She wants adventure and to
be in Paris on a mission is beyond romantic for her."
The city was also chosen because it's the place where Frank and Katja see each other for the first
time and it gives an insecure Sarah a reason to "up her game" and buy clothes in Paris to at least try and
close the gap between her and her perceived rival.
The first day, October 10, was in front of and inside of the Hotel Regina, facing Jardin des
Tuileries (The Tuileries Garden) and the Louvre immediately around the corner. A couple hundred
onlookers watched from the across the street and for the day the shoot became yet another tourist
attraction in Paris.
Much of the Paris shoot revolves around a car chase involving the characters of Willis, Malkovich,
Parker, Zeta-Jones and David Thewlis' quasi-man-of-mystery character "The Frog" on Pont de la Tournelle
on the east side of the majestic Gothic masterpiece, Notre Dame. A specially retrofitted Citroen was
rigged so that it could drive down the steps to the bank of the Seine.
On October 12, the car chase sequence moved to neighborhood in the shadow of the Pantheon
on Rue St. Etienne du Mont on the Left Bank and a day later moved around the corner to Rue de la
Montage Ste Genevieve which the locale for Midnight in Paris when Owen Wilson's character caught his
nightly other worldly taxi tide. For Red 2 the scene of Frank and Katja reminiscing over a dinner at an
outdoor cafe was mere yards from the Woody Allen movie. "When we scouted the location it was during
the day and it was not until we came to shoot at night did we realize where we were," notes Parisot.
The company moved on to London with the first scene shot featuring Willis, Malkovich, Parker
and Mirren on a Thames riverboat cruise. London's Fishmonger's Hall was utilized as the Iranian embassy
in its courtyard and the ornate Banqueting Hall.
A street in Moscow was created on October 27, a quiet Saturday in the shuttered financial
district in central London that, appropriately enough, had a chill factor in the 20s when the day began. Closed since 1994 as the realization that the Cold War was truly over, RAF Upper Heyford in
Oxfordshire posed as a Russian airfield with the Dunsfold aeropark (another shuttered RAF base) the
locale for the German airfield.
The scenes that take place in Paris' Hotel George-V was done with a variety of London locations;
the Langham Hotel, the stately Hedsor House in Taplow and the Luten Hoo estate which has been used
for such movies as Four Weddings and a Funeral, War Horse and Eyes Wide Shut.
The inner sanctum of the Kremlin was built in East London at Tobacco Dock. Built in the early 18th
century as a warehouse for the storage of tobacco from the New World, the most recent incarnation of
the building was a shopping mall until it shuttered a few years ago. The ground floor of arching brick
passageways made it ideal to give of a sense of foreboding for the scenes.
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