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GETAWAY

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In "Getaway," two strangers, bound to each other by chance in a tricked-out Shelby Super Snake, are caught in a frantic, life-or-death ride that is going to make or break them. They cannot get out of the car. If they do, someone else will die.

Pedal to metal, they must drive wildly through the city, intermittently fed instructions by an unseen mastermind who knows their every move. As they carry out his bidding, the destruction mounts. But although every authority in the city is in hot pursuit, they must not get caught...no matter what. And the clock is ticking.

Director/producer Courtney Solomon states, "I thought it was a really great concept: trapped in a confined space on a wild chase for the duration, not knowing the identity of the person pulling the strings...literally driving for their lives."

Executive producer Joel Silver, a longtime veteran of action features, says he responded to the central theme of the script, written by Sean Finegan and Gregg Maxwell Parker. "The idea of these two strangers who end up together in a car, one trying to save a life, the other just trying to survive, was interesting to me. And Courtney had a fresh take on how to film it."

To catch all the breakneck action from both inside and outside the Shelby Super Snake Solomon used a variety of cameras, numbering anywhere from 18 to 42, in any given scene. The director reveals that in addition to the amped-up camera quotient, for him, the crux of telling the story was to eschew the comfort and safety of a soundstage and literally take the action to the streets, with actual engines racing, gears shifting, rubber burning and glass shattering, but virtually no green screen or CGI. "Being able to put the audience right in the middle of the events, inside that amazing car, was enticing, but shooting real, high-stakes action made it even cooler for me," Solomon states.

The cool factor was revved up even more for both the director and his stars by the choice of the Shelby GT500 Super Snake -- a fast, powerful Mustang built to order and highly coveted by gearheads.

Ethan Hawke stars as Brent Magna, the driver behind the wheel of the Shelby Super Snake whose wife has been abducted by the faceless man who put him there. "My favorite car is the '68 Shelby fastback Mustang, so I was immediately hooked," Hawke attests. "Going off to Europe, racing cars around, banging up motorcycles and Mustangs and BMWs, old school, like those great '70s movies I loved growing up... Some 13-year-old boy that lives in me has always wanted to do a movie like this," he smiles. "The film thrills me because it has a visceral feel to it. You can tell some metal was really scraped against some asphalt. There's some real adrenaline to it."

Selena Gomez stars as the complete stranger known only as "the Kid," who ends up in the passenger seat of the Super Snake. She loved the idea of doing her first big action movie, noting, "I'd never really done a movie like this before; so I thought it would be challenging and fun for me, especially since all the car stunts were real instead of effects. And they were awesome -- the whole experience was."

Jon Voight has a pivotal role in the story as an anonymous man with an agenda who is as treacherous as he is intriguing. Having previously worked in the theatre with Hawke, he was eager to collaborate with him again and saw the story and characters presented in "Getaway" as a great opportunity to do so. Voight relates, "I thought the whole chase idea was well- accomplished and had an interesting design. It was a ride in more ways than one because the dangerous maze of events which transpire, with so many great twists and turns, kept me constantly guessing, 'What is this guy really up to?'"

Writers Sean Finegan and Gregg Maxwell Parker are admitted car aficionados who "thought of all the things we ever wanted to do in a moving vehicle but couldn't because they are very, very illegal," Finegan laughs, adding, "we'd have done the driving ourselves if they'd let us."

"At first, the car is a prison," says Parker, "but it becomes their only way out of the mess they're in. By the end, you want Brent behind the wheel because that's where he's at his best." He continues, "For us, the story was always about putting people into a situation that forces them to show who they truly are. When they have no choice but to work together, you get to see what they're really made of."

Stuntman and choreographer Charlie Picerni, Sr., a veteran of many action blockbusters, previously worked with Silver on several films, including "Die Hard" and "Lethal Weapon." He recalls, "When I first read the script it was loaded with action and I knew this would probably be the biggest movie in terms of car stunts I've done and I've done a lot of them. Every night there was a different car chase. Courtney had a mantra: This movie has to be fast driving and hard hitting!"

The stunts became a family affair with Picerni's sons: Steve, the stunt driver double for Brent; and Chuck, also a stunt driver.

Solomon conveys, "I had an amazing stunt crew. Anybody who gets in the car and says, 'Okay, I'm going to go 70 miles an hour, hit another car, flip up a ramp into the air, go 60 feet upside down and come crashing down on a real concrete highway,' and then walks out of the car more charged than they were when they started the whole thing has a certain mentality...and my utter respect."

He continues, "At the end of the day, we all relate to things that we can understand in our own lives. And if any of our loved ones were in harm's way and there was anything within our power that we could do, then that's what we would do. In 'Getaway' we wanted to achieve that realism by actually doing it."

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