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HITMAN

Production Information
HITMAN is the second feature from director Xavier Gens (Frontier(s)), who imbues the film with a look reminiscent of a graphic novel rich with religious iconography. Gens' approach to the material is, like its protagonist, stylized and cool. The producers are Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, Charles Gordon and Adrian Askarieh. The screenplay was written by Skip Woods (Swordfish). HITMAN's behindthe- scenes team includes Frontier(s) cinematographer Laurent Barès and Oscar®- nominated production designer Jacques Bufnoir (Indochine).

HITMAN was filmed during 12 weeks on location in Sofia and at Boyana Film Studios in Bulgaria, with a second unit shooting in South Africa, Istanbul, St. Petersburg and London.

HITMAN began its journey from game console to big screen when producers Charles Gordon and Adrian Askarieh, along with co-producer Daniel Alter, brought the property to Twentieth Century Fox. EuropaCorp, whose partners include filmmaker Luc Besson (whose directing credits include the classic action films "The Professional” and "La Femme Nikita”) and producer Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, later joined the project. At the time, EuropaCorp was in post-production on Frontier(s), from young French director Xavier Gens. Besson and Le Pogam were so impressed by Gens' debut feature that they suggested that Fox executives take a look at some scenes from the film. "At the end of the screening,” recalls Le Pogam, "the Fox executives said, ‘Done! Deal! He's the director.'”

In addition to Gens' work on Frontier(s), which had its North American premiere at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, the producers and the studio were impressed by Gens' extensive experience in many other production capacities – from runner to first assistant director – on several large-scale action films. Moreover, Gens has a genuine and contagious enthusiasm for films and filmmaking.

"Xavier is totally passionate about movies,” says Le Pogam. "He is in love with all of the tangible elements of filmmaking and with getting the best from actors. He's interested in the journey of a character from start to finish. Like other very talented people, he also has a gift for attracting a team of equally creative people in every department to work with him.”

Timothy Olyphant credits Gens with his decision to take the title role in HITMAN. "Xavier is a real cinephile,” says the actor. "Sitting down and talking to him about his ideas and what kind of movie he thought this could be was the closer for me. He got me very excited about the project.”

In addition to his passion for films, Gens is an avid gamer, and he was thrilled to be asked to direct a film based on one of his favorite games: HITMAN, from Eidos Interactive. As a gaming enthusiast, Gens wanted to remain faithful to the game's unique style and spirit. As a filmmaker, he was determined to avoid the pitfalls of the videogame-to-film adaptations. "We wanted the motion picture HITMAN to tell an original and exciting story,” says Gens, "and not just turn the game into a movie. Our goal was to make something ‘real' out of an imaginary universe while respecting all of the iconic aspects of the game, which has a lot of devoted fans.”

To that end, Gens and screenwriter Skip Woods retained much of the game's mythology and imagery, including 47's elaborate weaponry, sartorial choices, and trademark fleur-de-lis. "Skip wrote a great script from the source material,” says Le Pogam. "It's a totally different approach but he kept all the beauty and the basic elements of the videogame and its main character: black suit, white shirt, red tie, bald, and barcode. The psychological ambiguity and the mystery of the Hitman are still there – where he comes from, what kind of education he received to develop his impressive skills.

"Agent 47 is a killer who doesn't take any pleasure<

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