With a rave 5-star review from us, Gareth Evans’ awesome action flick The Raid is now playing in cinemas. The Indonesian film centres on the police raid of an apartment block, home to the deadliest gangsters and drug lords in Jakarta’s criminal underworld. Choreographed by lead actor Iko Uwais (Merantau), The Raid merges traditional martial arts with chaotic gunfights (click here for more information and session times).
FLICKS: Hello from Flicks.co.nz, how are you and what have you been up to today?
GARETH EVANS: I’m good thank you. All I have done so far is wake up and have toast.
What should people expect from The Raid?
The Raid is basically designed to be a thriller rollercoaster ride. What I hope is that beyond the initial thrills that people will be able to be introduced to the Indonesian martial arts.
What’s your favourite moment of action from The Raid?
I think I’m most proud of the final fight. It was a huge undertaking and it was a very long scene. It was very difficult to design; we spent about two weeks designing it. It was trying to find that balance between having complex choreography and keeping it to feel like its still realistic and finding the balance to do that.
Share your fondest memory from the set.
[Laughs] Fondest memories are pretty few and far between because the shoot was really stressful. It’s one of those films were there’s so much action and action takes so long. You get little pockets of moments you feel really happy. Every shot is choreographed and designed to be a jigsaw piece that are very specific to nail the shot. What’s difficult are those great moments can take 15, sometimes 20, sometimes even 40 takes.
So there’s never really one big elated moment on set – it’s more a case of every time we get the shot, and we know that we got it, we can breathe a sigh of relief and move onto the next shot. Every shot is a little mini endurance test. I guess further from that we edit our fight scenes on set so we get a certain little moral boost and a little kick when we play back the fight scene and we can see how it’s going to look in the final cut and you know all the hard work has paid off.
What was the last great film you saw?
I really fell in love with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The design was immaculate and the set so perfect. There was something so cold and distant in the way people died in that film. There were certain characters that die and it means everything in the world to one person but to the people inside that room it meant nothing at all and they carry on about their business. It was such a powerful way of using the violence but in a very restrained way as well. An excellent film.
If you could work with any actor/actress, living or dead, who would it be?
Jackie Chan has been a hero of mine since I was a kid but I wouldn’t want to work with him, I wouldn’t want to direct him. I would be too awe struck. What I would love to do is watch him work. I would just sit down and be there in the background and watch how he directs and watch how he choreographs and watch how he makes his films because he is a legend and an incredible talent. I would love to be able to learn as much as I could by watching him work.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Mike Leader is a casting guy and an assistant director who has worked in Hong Kong for like probably 20 years now. He gave me some great advice about the action choreography and the way we shot action and that was a huge influence and helped us in terms of designing the action for The Raid. Thanks to him we feel really grateful that everything he gave us that constructive criticism has really helped us raise our game more and you know the response to the film has kind of shown he was absolutely right so a huge thanks to Mike Leader.