The director and cast of “Hitman: Agent 47” spoke about adapting a videogame and it’s characters to the big screen.
Directed by Aleksander Bach, “Hitman: Agent 47” stars Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, Ciarán Hinds, Thomas Kretschmann, and Angelababy. The film is an adaptation of the Hitman videogame series and its main character, assassin Agent 47 played by Friend. The film focuses around Katia van Dees (Ware) and her search for a mysterious man from her subconscious whom she is unable to identify. Along her journey she becomes the target of CIA Agent John Smith and Agent 47. The film has more plot twists than humanly possible and keeps you at the edge of your seat. The subtle humor also adds a light-hearted element to the constant killing. Aleksander Bach, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto and Rupert Friend discussed the film and how they prepared for their roles.
After seeing the final cut of the film, what advice would you give to anyone who is venturing into the adaptation of a video game onto the big screen, whether it be with the fight scenes or just even certain nuances that you bring to the characters?
Aleksander Bach: I think to make this successful – what you need first of all, it doesn’t matter if it’s a videogame or not, you need a great story and you need great characters and you need great actors to bring it to life and when you have this and you combine it with great action and something which feels fresh then you have a chance to put the puzzle together in a very nice way and to create something which feels right and I think that’s the most important thing really, that you have great characters who care for it and when it’s based on this game and you have hitman. this cold assassin Agent 47, you also somehow need to care for this guy because if he’s too cold it doesn’t work so I think this is how I see it.
To the actors, what have you learned from doing a physical movie like this?
Zachary Quinto: Ultimately with that stuff it’s just about taking care of yourself, we all trained a fair amount before we got to Berlin and we continued training through production and i think that was a key element ot just making sure you’re on top of it and you’re challenging yourself everyday.
Are any and/or all of you signed on for sequels and is there a story already in the works? Because the film is pretty open-ended at the finale
Rupert Friend: It entirely depends on whether people like this one.
Hannah’s character gets to kick a fair amount of ass and within this pseudo-superhero genre that is a bit of a novelty. It’s unusual that a woman character gets to be a superpowered character, so did all of you feel that while you were working on it? That we were doing something sort of different, where the woman is able to step up and have a strong role as opposed to some of these other genre films out there, were you all aware of that going into it?
Hannah Ware:I think when you’re immersed in the story, you’re not really thinking ‘are we doing anything different?’ and kind of monitoring and engaging where it fits in terms of what’s going on in the current mode of movie making, but that’s why I did it and I’m pleased that that stands out.
Zachary: There’s also something that Hannah brings to the role, which is yeah she kicks ass, but she’s also operating on all these emotional levels which are really complex and magnetic and for her first big studio movie it’s an impressive feat to watch it evolve and watch the final product.
Have you ever played Hitman and how did you physically prepare for the physical aspect of the roles ?
Zachary: I never played the game, so for me it was more a point of entry from a creative standpoint and engaging my imagination to inhabit the character in the world and I know it’s derived from the history of the game, but to me it wasn’t the most effective way in. I know for Rupert it was different. Training was about six weeks of conditioning, after I got the job and before we started shooting and once we were in Berlin it was much more about focusing on the fights themselves and working with the stunt team to build ourselves up to speed to be able to do it together and make sure we were where we needed to be for the cameras. It was a lot more traditional when we were over there. I know Rupert did some really fun stuff and I joined him in the boxing gym the six weeks before we went over there.
Alex: I was studying this game and this character from the very beginning because I knew it was my job to bring this character to life in a great way and especially when there’s such a big fanbase and I needed to find the right DNA of Agent 47 and I learned from the game that that the DNA is he’s intelligent and the way he does things it’s not about random killing. It was always important for me that it wasn’t about random killing, he’s always killing because he needs to make the next step and I think this is all about 47 is smarter probably than all of us and to make a smart movie.
Rupert: I found the games very useful because, particularly the later absolution game, the game makers have clearly used an actor for the character because there was a motion capture thing I could feel and the way the character moved was very interesting to me and there was something very graceful about it and this is a guy who takes such pride in his clothes with the iconic suit and tie and yet is able to fight efficiently in a very inefficient uniform so that kind of deadly grace was at the center of something very physical for me and when I got the role began training with Zachary in a box gym with a great guy and then at the Krav Maga Academy here in New York so I was doing this very brutal Israeli self-defense technique.