About The Production
Academy AwardÂ® winners
Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro each had quite an experience working on
"The Hunted" as they learned everything from knife fighting to how to
forge crude weaponry. The two actors also had the experience of working with
Academy AwardÂ® and Golden Globe-winning director Billy Friedkin. Both found it
rewarding, and Jones, who had previously worked with Friedkin on the military
thriller, "Rules of Engagement," particularly appreciates Friedkin's
method of working, one he likens to his own.
"Billy is a fine
director and he gives actors the freedom to exchange ideas, which is very
important to me," says Jones. "I also like that he tries to get it
right on the first take. That's always my intention, too: to have the first
take be the best take, every time. To use a sports analogy, the best
offense is designed to score a touchdown every time you hike the ball,"
adds Jones, who likens Friedkin's directorial approach to the way Jones and
his teammates played football at Harvard. "If you only gain 15 or 20 yards.
somebody made a mistake, and it's time to try a new play. That's Billy's
way of directing."
As for L.T. Bonham. the
character he portrays, Jones says that what is most interesting and important is
that the man teaches something he has never actually done himself: to kill.
"He's awfully good at it," remarks the actor, "and he knows
everything about it, except the actual experience of doing it."
Benicio Del Toro, who
portrays Aaron Hallam, one of L.T.'s best students in the art of killing,
appreciates Friedkin's drive toward realism.
proud of the hand-to-hand combat in the movie," says Del Toro. "We
wanted to keep it as real as possible, and although an actual fight between two
guys with extraordinary knife skills could easily be over in seconds, ours is
very real in terms of how we block and how we react.
According to Friedkin.
who believes that "casting is 80 to 90 percent of the success of the
film," Jones and Del
Toro brought different, but equally wonderful styles of acting to "The
"Tommy is one of
the most brilliant film actors ever. I put him on a list with Spencer Tracy,
Robert Mitchum and Steve McQueen," says Friedkin. "He does what great
actors do: He brings a large part of his own nature to each frame of the film.
He invests every moment with his own humanity. Benicio also brings a strong
sense of inner self to every shot. There's no way to write what Benicio does:
it just comes through. Very often, the best acting is not only what is written
on the actor's face, but what's written in his soul."
Having worked with such
directors as Sam Raimi on "The Gift and "A Simple Plan" as well
as the Coen brothers on "Raising Arizona," producer James Jacks was eager
to work with Billy Friedkin.
"It took me a long
time to figure Billy out," says Jacks. "He shoots differently than
just about anybody. He prepares differently. He doesn't do storyboards: he
doesn't do any of the stuff that I'm used to dealing with. And what I
realized is, Billy came out of documentary filmmaking and shoots his movies as
if they're documentaries. He
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