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ARMORED

About The Production
Even before he began writing Armored, screenwriter James V. Simpson knew he wanted to create an unconventional thriller, a movie that packed plenty of action and suspense but avoided one traditional plot element: bad guys. "Armored is about ordinary, flawed people who are basically good,” Simpson says. "These guys are in difficult situations and make bad choices. Then they have to deal with the consequences.”

Simpson also wanted to find a unique setting for his story. Inspiration struck the writer one day as he walked his dog near his Vancouver home. An armored car pulled around a corner, and Simpson saw that he, as well as everyone else on the street, was following the truck with their eyes. "I realized immediately that the armored car was a visual cue that everybody was transfixed by,” he says. "They were drawn to it automatically. And I knew I had to take that setting for my story.”

When Simpson had a finished draft, he submitted it to the prestigious Nicholl Screenwriting Competition, an annual event sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The script caught the attention of producers Chris Lemos and Luis Guerrero, who brought it to Dan Farah of Farah Films & Management. "I loved the concept,” says Farah. "It's an action movie, but at the same time the characters are so strong. And it has such a great hook.

"I took the script into all the studios on a Tuesday afternoon,” he continues. "Friday morning, Variety announced that Armored was one of the ten Nicholl finalists. We sold it to Sony that afternoon in a bidding war.”

First-time screenwriter Simpson was surprised and delighted that his script sparked a wave of competing interest. "We connected with Josh Donen and (Screen Gems President) Clint Culpepper at Sony,” he says. "They really got the story we were trying to tell. They understood the characters and the dynamic between the guards immediately.”

Buckaroo Entertainment partners Sam Raimi (Spider-Man) and Joshua Donen had just signed a new deal with Sony to produce. They immediately expressed interest in Armored. "Josh is a Hollywood veteran with incredible experience working with some of the biggest directors in the business,” says Farah. "I was thrilled to have him come onboard.”

Culpepper shared the script with Nimrod Antal, a young director who had just finished the nail-biting thriller Vacancy for Sony. Like Vacancy and Antal's previous film Kontroll, Armored takes place in a mysterious, confined world. "We didn't even go to any other directors,” says Farah. "He had done such a great job with Vacancy. Nimród made this more than just a movie. Even watching the dailies, you felt like you were watching a great film.”

Like Vacancy, some of Armored's crucial sequences take place in claustrophobic settings that add to the onscreen tension. "I enjoy shooting in limited spaces,” says Antal. "That kind of stricture forces me to come up with new ideas.”

Heist films are a favorite genre for the director, who grew up in Hungary. "A French filmmaker was once asked why he makes heist films and he said, ‘I don't have the guts to rob a bank, so I just make films about it,'” he says. "I thought it would be fun to play with. It seems like it would be a simple genre, but it's very difficult to do well.”

The world of armored truck guards also seemed exotic to the director, who says he has always been attracted to unusual subcultures. "I thought each of these guards was a very interesting character and the situation they find themselves in is exciting.”

Infusing the script with the kind of authenticity Antal required was tricky. Not many armored car companies were interested in sharing their trade secrets. Finally, Simpson contacted a friend with the Vancouver police who interceded for them. "Armored car services are notorious for being secretive, because they are so vulnerable and susceptible to

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