Clive Owen wowed comic fans with his charismatic portrayal of Dwight in the 2005 adapatation of Frank Miller's 'Sin City'. At the recent Comic-Con in San Diego, Comics2Film sat in on the Warner Bros. panel for Clive's newest film 'Shoot 'Em Up' in hopes of scoring some scoop on the sequel. We didn't learn anything about 'Sin City 2', and, while it's not based on a comic, this new movie should prove interesting to fans of break-neck-paced action.
'Shoot 'Em Up' is the hot new "action comedy" from New Line Cinema that stars Clive Owen as a mysterious, hard boiled, gun toting loner who teams up with a prostitute (Monica Belluci) in order to protect a newborn baby from a determined criminal (Paul Giamatti) who wants to kill the child. The film opens with the birth of the baby during an unforgettable shoot out (which even involves Owen using a carrot as a lethal weapon), and never slows down after that. Shoot outs during car chases, shoot outs while skydiving, and even one scene where Owen and Belluci's characters have sex in the middle of a shoot out.
Owen, who did most of his own stunts in the film (including that skydiving sequence), commented on walking that fine line between absurd comedy and over-the-top wacky, saying that as an actor, "you have to root it [in reality], because if you make it too indulgently wacky then you switch off and the film loses believability. So you have to constantly ground the film and your performance."
Owen was initially reluctant to take on the role, but was convinced by writer/director Michael Davis' enthusiasm and how incredibly well thought out his vision was, including a 15-minute visualization of the opening action sequence that Davis had animated himself. As Owen said, "Michael had spent 7 years dreaming every angle of this movie - if the guy didn't make this film, he was going to explode." When asked about his enthusiasm for this film, Davis commented that, "I got to do all the things that I love in life: animation, drawing, writing, action, balls out stuff, violence, blood, sex... why shouldn't I be excited?"
As for Owen, he had "a lot of fun" making this film, and commented that doing an action movie is "very satisfying, especially something that is as storyboarded as this, because it's about just nailing it beat by beat. It's still an acting job, and you gotta look like you're in there and you're doing it, but there's something very satisfying about knowing very clearly what everybody's objective is - like, just nail this bit and move on - and I enjoyed that."
Of course, Owen still really enjoys doing dialogue driven films such as Closer, but generally, "I like to keep my films mixed up - I have no huge preference [as to film types], I just love making films." Owen did remark, though, that "it's always great to get your hands on good dialogue, because if there's one thing that films often lack, it can be that - people saying very smart things to each other. We've sort of lost that skill a little bit I think... you read scripts with very good ideas, but sometimes they just lack great dialogue." Still, doing movies like this one where he gets to play a hero taking down bad guys is great fun to do, because "one thing [in film] that I enjoy more than anything is giving a jerk his comeuppance."
As for Owen's other projects, he "knows as much as [we] do" in regards to Sin City 2, but he is very excited for The Golden Age, the long-awaited sequel to Elizabeth that is being released this fall, where he plays adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh opposite Cate Blanchett's Queen Elizabeth I. And no, he was never up for the role of James Bond - it was only ever a rumor, he insists. Well, he may not be Bond, but he is certainly a bad-ass in Shoot 'Em Up, which opens nationwide September 7. Check it out - you'll never think of a carrot the same way again.