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About The Production
The genesis of Shoot ‘Em Up was sparked by a scene from John Woo's Hardboiled where the hero, played by Chow Yun Fat, is in a hospital with a gun and a baby. "Putting together a hardboiled guy with the most innocent thing in the world delivers dramatic tension and a great image,” says writer/director Michael Davis, whose award winning films include Eight Days a Week and 100 Girls. Davis expanded upon this scenario and devised the idea of having a gun fight in the middle of a room while the hero is helping to deliver a baby. "I thought it would be a great opening for a movie,” states the imaginative director.

"Shoot ‘Em Up is akin to an American John Woo action movie and tells the story of the angriest man in the world, Mr. Smith, who's stuck with a baby and a life-threatening situation,” continues Davis, who also wrote the original screenplay. "It's about all the imaginative and clever things you can do with a gun fight.”

"The easy bit was plotting all the cool things you can do with a gun fight,” says Davis, a former storyboard artist who came up with a series of unique and outlandish scenarios in which to stage elaborate "shoot ‘em ups.” In addition to the birth sequence shoot-out which opens the film, there's a gun fight while Smith and paratroopers are free-falling out of an airplane, a scene where Smith spins a playground carousel with bullets so a sniper can't shoot the baby lying on it, and, in the perfect distillation of sex and violence, a sequence where Smith and the his accomplice, the prostitute DQ, make love during a gun fight.

"But to sustain the story, the hard part was to figure out the mystery and rationale as to why the bad guys want the baby,” adds Davis.

The John Woo film was one inspiration. But the seeds for Shoot ‘Em Up were sown several decades earlier when Davis was a 6th grader writing his own 100-page James Bond novels on a typewriter, with titles such as Masquerade of Death and Spearhead which mimicked the Ian Fleming tone. "I've been dreaming of doing an all-out action movie since then, whether it was writing my childhood novels or now, animating and writing a script,” says Davis, who drew 17,000 drawings to create 15 minutes of animation for the film's 11 action sequences to use as a sales tool, which proved to be effective, impressing the producers – Susan Montford, Don Murphy and Rick Benattar (who, like Davis, is himself a Bond fanatic) – New Line Cinema executives and, ultimately, the cast. "The animation really encapsulated the high energy of the picture. It's been very exciting to see that process of drawn vision translated to the real vision on film,” adds Davis.

NOTE: Examples from the animatic can be found online by going to: http:/ Hollywood is an ephemeral place. You can be the most gifted screenwriter in town, but if you don't get that break, you're still a struggling filmmaker. Divine intervention intervened for Davis when his acquaintance from their days at University of Southern California, producer Don Murphy (Transformers, Natural Born Killers, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), along with his partners, Susan Montford and Rick Benattar, took up the cause.

"We felt Shoot ‘Em Up was this truly special script with a unique voice begging to be made. It was right up our alley because it pokes fun at America's big obsessions – guns and breasts and violence, in that order,” says Don Murphy, whose company, Angry Films, worked with Davis on his presentation showing the director's vision for the action sequences in the film as well as a line-drawn trailer. "We sent this stunning DVD animatic to New Line Cinema as our first choice and they loved it,” adds Susan Montford.

Executives at New Line Cinema saw the potential in the film after viewing Davis' animatic and pi


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