Director Doug Liman was once on a choice with screenwriter Steven Knight and manufacturer PJ van Sandwijk in July once they began questioning what it could be love to make a film in regards to the present second IN the present second.
Liman makes motion pictures about characters in odd eventualities: An murderer with amnesia (“The Bourne Identification”), an army officer stuck in a time loop (“Fringe of The next day”), an unsatisfied married couple who’re additionally secret killers (“Mr. and Mrs. Smith”). The lockdowns, the commercial pressure and the isolation of quarantining, he concept, might be the easiest backdrop for one among his motion pictures.
And in 4 months, in the midst of an epidemic and common shutdowns, he and his workforce wrote, shot and edited a shiny Harrods heist film in London with Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The outcome, “ Locked Down,” involves HBO Max Thursday.
“For the following 50 years, individuals are going to be making motion pictures about what we’re all going thru,” he mentioned.
He sought after to be the primary and to make use of the chaos of the instant to seize one thing true. But even so, he’s a filmmaker who prospers at the unattainable. His subsequent movie is actually taking him to area with Tom Cruise.
Within the procedure of constructing “Locked Down,” chances emerged the place they by no means would have sooner than. They were given primary film stars and financing with just a quarter of the script. Harrods, the luxurious London division retailer that doesn’t regularly permit movie and tv units on their grounds, agreed to allow them to shoot there. They advised them there was once no plan B. If there was once no Harrods, there was once no movie. A couple of days later, that they had a sure. In different phrases, it’s a film that might handiest had been made all through the pandemic.
“Filmmakers, indubitably myself, are identified for being optimists and proposing outrageous issues, after which manufacturers and the adults within the room rein them in just a little bit,” Liman mentioned. “It is a scenario the place there have been no adults within the room.”
Hathaway’s agent advised Liman he’d higher a minimum of communicate to her and describe his imaginative and prescient if she couldn’t get a complete script. A couple of mins in, Hathaway advised him to avoid wasting his breath: “I’ve learn it, I like it, and I’m in,” he recalled.
Inside weeks, they have been filming.
Liman determined that they’d shoot the 180-page script in 18 days. It was once a self-conscious selection: He’d shot his debut, “Swingers,” in 18 days too.
“I equated what we have been doing looking to pull this movie off to matching what the characters on display screen are looking to do robbing Harrods,” Liman mentioned. “Those are each totally loopy and audacious plans.”
It required everybody to be on their feet. As soon as he needed to shift to a nine-page discussion scene that neither celebrity had ready for. And so they made do, taping Hathaway’s discussion any place they may together with, however no longer restricted to, Ejiofor’s frame and a calendar she attracts on.
“When she mentioned she was once in, she was once IN,” he mentioned. “I were given one of the vital maximum truthful performances I’ve ever gotten on display screen as a result of Annie and Chiwetel may just see how a ways out on a limb I used to be going they usually went available in the market with me.”
There have been a large number of circumstances of his forged and workforce diving in with inventions and a can-do spirit. The primary shot within the film, an empty intersection in Notting Hill, was once filmed by means of Liman himself outdoor of where he was once staying sooner than he went to paintings. Nearly all of Harrods extras are in fact Harrods staff. Composer John Powell, who spent six months at the “Bourne Identification” rating, did this one in 3 weeks.
And the Zoom and Skype scenes? They have been accomplished reside. The folk at the different finish, from Ben Stiller to Mindy Kaling, are in their very own properties, in their very own cloth wardrobe, performing along their very own households. It made for fascinating casting requests: For Ejiofor’s brother and sister-in-law, he wanted two actors who have been already dwelling in combination. For Hathaway’s boss, he wanted any person with a young person and to be in a spot that appears slightly like Vermont. For her co-worker, he wanted any person with a baby.
“There have been such a lot of instances after I mentioned, ‘When are you ever going to have an opportunity to try this once more?’” he mentioned. “I believed, let’s simply embody it.”
So when Warner Bros. purchased the movie for HBO Max and requested them if they may end it per week previous, they didn’t draw back.
“We have been like, you might be talking our language,” Liman mentioned.
A part of the collective power was once as a result of “Locked Down” was once probably the most first impartial motion pictures to return into manufacturing within the U.Ok. and folks have been merely satisfied to be again at paintings. They used the security protocols that Cruise helped increase for “Challenge: Inconceivable ” as a information.
However Liman was once at all times keenly mindful that there was once no ensure they’d be capable to end “Locked Down.” They could not manage to pay for to close down for 2 weeks like the larger productions; Their whole shoot was once scarcely longer than that initially. In any case, they completed with out incident.
“The protocols paintings,” he mentioned. “The social distancing, the mask, they paintings.”
And he hopes that extra impartial motion pictures will apply their lead, differently, he mentioned, “This time subsequent 12 months there can be handiest franchise motion pictures.”
Liman is reasonably fearful about consciousness, too. As a result of the short timeline, there’s no six-month studio-refined exposure marketing campaign. It’s simply popping out. And he cares about “Locked Down” much more than he imagined again in July.
“This is a little gem of a film,” he mentioned. “It wishes folks championing it.”
Apply AP Movie Author Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr