Post Magazine

March 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 51 14 POST MARCH 2015 fter co-writing and directing the Saw and Insidious films, two of the most successful horror franchises of the last decade, Malaysian-born James Wan was tapped to helm Furious 7, the latest blockbuster episode of the long-running The Fast and the Furious action franchise. The film, which reunites stars Vin Diesel, the late Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson for another testos- terone-fueled adventure, also features regulars Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson and Chris "Lu- dacris" Bridges, along with newcomers Jason Statham, Djimon Hounsou, rapper Iggy Azalea, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey and Kurt Russell. Once again, the gang happily ignores the rules of the road and the laws of physics with some eye-pop- ping stunts. Also returning is an accomplished be- hind-the-scenes team, including cinema- tographer Stephen F. Windon (Fast Five, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) who teamed with DP Marc Spicer, and editor Christian Wagner (Fast Five, Fast & Furious, Mission: Impossible II). Here, in an exclusive interview, Wan, who also directed The Conjuring, talks with Post about making the film, dealing with all the effects, and his love of post. How big a transition was it going from the Saw and Insidious films to this? "In terms of filmmaking, it's pretty much the same. You still deal with the same issues and creative challenges, but the big difference is that I have bigger toys to play with and my set pieces are so out there and cost so much more to do." What did you learn doing those horror films and how did you deal with the death of star Paul Walker? "Making indie low-budget films really conditioned me to be more creative and to find creative solutions to problems. So you can't always just throw more money at an issue, and I pride myself on trying to find smart ways around things that don't cost too much. So that skill definitely came in very handy on this with the very sad passing of Paul Walker. I found myself digging deep into my bag of cinematic tricks and trying everything I knew so I could even finish this film without him." What sort of film did you set out to make, and how did you put your own stamp on it? "Obviously you want to differentiate yourself from the previous directors on the franchise, but at the same time you need to understand it's a very estab- lished world that the fans really love and that the studio has already set up. So I wanted to do my own thing but I also wanted to play within that already-cre- ated sandbox, and create my own sandcastle in it. In a way, it's no different from the James Bond franchise, where different directors bring their own styles and voices." What were the main technical challenges of pulling all this together? And why did you use two DPs? "The two DPs was due more to the prob- lems we had when the schedule sudden- ly grew after Paul's death. We were half- way through when he passed, and we had to shut down and go into a hiatus and plan how we could carry on — or if it was even possible to finish it without one of the main leads. So because of that, the schedule got much bigger and all the technical challenges we faced to pull it off added a lot of extra days. So very few of the crew could hang around to the very end, so we brought in Marc Spicer who'd already done a lot of 2nd Unit, which helped keep all the continuity." How tough was the prep and shoot? "We shot in a ton of locations, from Georgia, Colorado, LA and Canada to Abu Dhabi and the UAE, and it was a huge physical production with big action set pieces. And the initial schedule was so tight — it was meant to come out last summer, so we were racing against the clock to try and make that deadline. And then we were juggling all the VFX shots and what was practical and what we could do on-set and what required VFX. In fact, I sort of jumped ship at the end of Insidious 2 so I could start prepping this, and one of the first things I did was design this really big action sequence, even though we didn't have a completed script yet. I'd never really worked like that before, but I decided to embrace it. Then we wrote these stories to meet up with the action. That was the only way to pull it off with the original schedule." How early did you have to integrate post into the shoot? "Even before we began shooting. All the VFX started very early. For instance, for the car-dropping sequence, we shot BY IAIN BLAIR A THIS HORROR FRANCHISE DIRECTOR TAKES ON THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS LEGACY JAMES WAN: FURIOUS 7 DIRECTOR'S CHAIR Director Wan (inset) says he can't overstate the importance of the DI and sound mixing process.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - March 2015