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"He's beaten up, punched, shot at, his car crashes. That's part of the gristle that goes into this Ethan character." - McG

Ethan Renner, the CIA operative at the center of McG's new action-thriller 3 Days to Kill, finds himself trying to save the world from Europe's most dangerous terrorists while trying to reconnect with his wife and daughter in Paris. Academy Award winner Kevin Costner plays Ethan, the cunning, dangerous, and semi-retired spy who has always been more successful taking care of bad guys than taking care of his daughter. When a beautiful yet mysterious woman named Vivi, played by Amber Heard, presents him with an offer he can't refuse, he is forced to balance his job and his family for the first time ever with the highest stakes yet.

As with his previous films, Charlie's Angels, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, and This Means War, McG explores the personal side of international espionage, though this time it's through the eyes of a veteran secret agent returning to family life in Paris. "I am fascinated by what happens to James Bond when he goes home. You never really see him off the clock" says McG. The film discovers some universal truths about family and work that takes the story beyond its spy hero premise. Ethan finds himself in over his head when he is left alone with his teenage daughter Zooey, played by Hailee Steinfeld, for 3 days. Ethan knows exactly what to do when it comes to work, but keeping his career away from his increasingly curious teenager becomes his most challenging mission yet. Like many teens, Zooey feels like Ethan is constantly choosing work over her - even when she doesn't know exactly what "work" is. "I think that's a theme that many people can relate to in the real world. Many of us spend too much time on things that matter less than that which matters the most to us, and that's what this film is ultimately all about," said McG.

McG sees Ethan's expert killing skills as counterintuitive to being a good father and it is that struggle that drives the film. "Ethan doesn't know much about contemporary teenage culture like Twitter or what's online. He is very analog in a digital world. You have a guy that's been out in the field with a very, very strong sense of duty who has now come home to try to reconnect with his daughter, and it's emotional."

3 Days to Kill represents a departure for the American filmmaker as the production was shot on location in Paris, France. McG says, "For me, it was great to shoot in Paris, because I'm very specifically American. If you look at my earlier films - Charlie's Angels, We Are Marshall, Terminator: Salvation - they are very American films and my style is very Americana." On top of having a French crew on set, the script was co-written by iconic French filmmaker Luc Besson, who was one of the reasons McG came on board the project. "I have always been a fan of Luc since the earliest days of Leon: The Professional. Luc wrote the script with Adi and I responded to the mix of styles that the script represents. I liked that challenge in the interest of bringing it all together in one cohesive film. So, to me, the film jumped off the page, and I jumped at the opportunity."

That cultural change to McG's workflow was a positive experience for the director. "The approach to filmmaking, the camera package, the crew, every single thing that goes into the tactile experience of making a film is very, very different in France than it is in the United States. I embraced that." Paris serves as its own character in the movie; acting as a constant reminder that Ethan is feeling out of place in every sense of his life. He is alienated culturally as well as from his wife and daughter. "I think it is interesting to play somewhere that is so beautiful - perhaps the most beautiful city in the world - yet you're a foreigner in such a lovely place. And that is indeed Ethan because he is an American Cowboy in Paris. He is not of this place and he is searching for identity in a place other than his home. He comes to realize that home is defined by where his family is: Paris.

Whether Ethan is stopping a global catastrophe or preventing his daughter's meltdown after a hair crisis, there is a strong sense of fun and humor throughout the film. McG sees humor as an important aspect of storytelling and one area that he is able to implement his life experiences. "I know from my own personal experience, even in terribly dramatic and serious times, humor is always present." Humor is an essential emotional release regardless of the situation.

Connie Nielsen, who plays Ethan's wife Christine, loved that McG found it so important for parts of the film to be funny. Of McG, she said, "He really understands the role of humor and real emotion mixed together with just a great action story."

It was important for the cast to drive home some of the universal themes of the film. A running gag in the film is that Ethan's daughter has programmed his phone to play a certain ringtone when she calls him. Just like in any job, a child may call their parent at an inopportune moment. That relatable part of the parenting experience wasn't lost on Costner who said, "Part of the charm of the movie is that Ethan is unable to do his job as effectively because he's on a short leash with his daughter. Every time that phone rings he seems to be in the middle of a situation that normally speaking, you would want to say, 'Honey can I call you right back?'"

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