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March 2013

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director's chair John Moore — A Good Day To Die Hard H By IAIN BLAIR Shot on film, the latest in the franchise features a ton of VFX shots. OLLYWOOD — Yippy-ki-yay! Twenty-five years after Bruce Willis first starred as John McClane in Die Hard he's back in the latest episode of the longrunning action franchise. This time, the wisecracking NYPD vet ends up in Moscow, where he's gone to track down his estranged son Jack, played by Jai Courtney, the Aussie star of Spartacus and Jack Reacher. But once there, it turns out that the wayward Jack is in reality a CIA operative on an undercover mission to protect a Russian thiefturned whistleblower, and the McClane boys team up for the mission. Of course, nothing goes according to plan and soon the pair are chasing — and being chased by — various bad guys, before they all end up in the nightmarish environs of a still-radioactive Chernobyl. Orchestrating and overseeing all the mayhem — including some of the most outrageous and destructive car chases ever put on film — is Irish director John Moore, whose credits include Behind Enemy Lines, Flight of the Phoenix, The Omen and Max Payne. Here, in an exclusive interview, the director talks about making the film, dealing with all the effects, and his love of post. POST: What sort of film did you set out purist, but suddenly for film-lovers — like me, and Chris Nolan — it's all about defending film, and it shouldn't be like that… even though I know film's dead. "So we had all those challenges — how can we get small enough cameras and get crash housings to fit them? What are we going thing would look a certain way, which meant that even when we were shooting plates and whatever, we'd have to comp it all together and then — even after all the work was done — we'd have to do this process we knicknamed 'stone-washing,' like with jeans. "We knew we'd have to spend a month in John Moore, on set, right: "The final mix for me is the happiest place in the world, and I love the whole editing process." to make? The film was edited by Dan Zimmerman on an Avid Media Composer. 10 JOHN MOORE: "It's like shooting a Rolling Stones concert. You want the Stones to be the Stones and Mick to be Mick, so I wanted to shoot a film that belonged in the Die Hard cannon. You have to be a bit humble. There's an obligation to get certain things right, but it doesn't mean there's just a 'check list' you can be blasé about. Because I'm such a big fan, I was keen to do this and do it justice. I've made a lot of movies at Fox and I was really hoping to get a shot at this — and I finally did." POST: What did you expect teaming up with Bruce Willis, and were there any surprises? MOORE: "He's very funny, which I didn't expect, so that was a good surprise. And when they say he improvises, they're not kidding. At 6am after a long night's shoot he'll throw it all away if he suddenly gets a better idea. He's relentless like that, and it's worth it, even though you've got a tail 200-people long who have all got to adapt to the sudden changes." POST: What were the main technical challenges of pulling all this together? MOORE: "First off, we decided to shoot on film, not digital. I feel I'm fighting this tidal wave of digital shooting and trying to make a oneman stand against it. I'm not trying to be a Post • March 2013 Post0313_010,12-directors chair Die HardRAV6finalread.indd 10 to build? We tried to shoot the whole movie hand-held, and even in the scenes when it's not all actually hand-held, our approach was, how do we make it look and feel that way?" My DP Jonathan Sela and his grip Mark Hyde broke all that down, and even the huge chase sequences began with one little storyboard and sketch. Then we just built it all up, bit by bit. 2nd Unit director Jonathan Taylor was crucial. I'd never worked with one before, since I'm a shooter and I like doing all the action stuff, and that's all the fun stuff." POST: This was a very complex production. How tough was the shoot? MOORE: "Very tough. We shot 81 days principal and 70 days 2nd Unit in Budapest, which doubled for Moscow, then a week in Moscow, where we did the car chases on Moscow's Garden Ring, and then various bits in London and LA, so it was very spread out logistically." POST: How far did you have to push the technical limits of filmmaking and integrate post into the shoot to make this happen? MOORE: "We were very conscious of post the whole time, because we put ourselves in a tight spot with the whole handheld approach. We designed it so that every- post taking every shot and giving it a little hand-held float, and add some dirt on the lens, add a flare. So every VFX shot also had to match the hand-held stuff, and that was tough — way tougher than I'd expected." POST: Do you like the post process? MOORE: "I do, because it's so relaxing and I've never been happier than on a dub stage and doing post. The final mix for me is the happiest place in the world, and I love the whole editing process." POST: Where did you do the post? MOORE: "All on the Fox lot, in just five months, which isn't really long enough for a film this big and with so many VFX shots." POST: The film was edited by Dan Zimmerman, who cut The Omen and Max Payne for you, and whose credits include Liar, Liar and Patch Adams. Tell us about that relationship and how it worked. MOORE: "He was on the set a little, but not much as there were so many dailies and managing all that. So he stayed mainly in Dublin, so he'd be on the same time zone as all of us in Budapest, and visited us. I'm not a director who cuts and shoots. I watch dailies but I don't visit the cutting rooms at night or week- 3/4/13 3:59 PM

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