REEL DEEL: Darkest Hour - Timur Bekmambetov SPOTLIGHT


Visionary filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov who gave us the highly-stylized action packed “Wanted” and “Night Watch” produces the latest in mind-blowing special effects in the 3D thriller “Darkest Hour” starring Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, Olivia Thirlby and Rachael Taylor.

Director Chris Gorak pits young internet entrepreneurs Sean (Hirsch) and Ben (Minghella) who arrive in Moscow amidst a mysterious lightening storm.  Upon landing in the vibrant Russian capital to pursue their business dreams in the international economic center yet full of unscrupulous business practices, they met up with travelers Natalie (Thirlby) and Anne (Taylor) who are stranded in Moscow en route to Nepal.  

The two pairs of best friends meet amid the glitz and glamour of the Zvezda Nightclub, the hot spot for the international and the beautiful in Moscow, including the young turk Skylar (Joel Kinnaman), the Swedish businessman who duped Sean and Ben. A mecca for the globe trotting youth, supermodels, and business elite congregating in Moscow, the club is quickly transformed to a scene of terror when the aliens invade and everything goes dark. 

After surviving the initial attack hiding underground, days later the five emerge into the confines of a Moscow that’s become increasingly alien – the once pulsating city is now without power and is all but deserted, yet occupied by a force they don’t understand. Made up of electromagnetic wave energy, the alien beings kill brutally by shredding earthly life forms, reducing those in their way to their molecular structure instantly. 

The aliens are also basically invisible to humans, however anything electrical gives them away. Daytime is now dangerous, so the survivors learn to travel across the city in the safety of night, while confronting their individual reactions to these extraordinary circumstances where everything familiar is gone.

Bekmambetov was happy to participate as a producer.  “Producing and directing for me, is almost the same.  When you’re directing, you’re not shooting, you’re not acting yourself, you’re not dressing actors… you’re directing,” explains Bekmambetov.  “The producer is also managing processes - people and expectations - so for me to produce means you have the movie in your head and you have to find the right people to make it.  It’s almost the same thing.  You’re not screaming rolling on the set, but you’re still finding the right people and the right strategy.” 

“Originally, maybe 4 years ago, it was scripted in a small American town.  The first time I spoke with (co-producer) Tom Jacobson, I said ‘Can we move it to Moscow?’  When you change the point of view it becomes an interesting project immediately.  Like King Kong in Moscow would be a big deal, King Kong in New York nobody wants to play that game because it’s been done,” comments Bekmambetov.  “It’s still quite intriguing for the viewer to be here because not so many western movies are made in Moscow.  It makes the movie cool immediately.”

“Timur and his team have been fantastic collaborators throughout the process.  Early on, Tom, Monnie and I meet with Timur at his house in Los Angeles and had creative sessions that were really productive,” says director Gorak.  “Timur is an incredible creative filmmaker in his own right, and he added touches to our alien design, movement, and activity.  Their subtle existence and dangers of the alien and how to present that to the audience.”

Gorak continues, “Timur always adds that little touch to make it special… he's really good at that. What was the enemy and what were the rules of the enemy.  Timur likes to police the mythology of the science fiction.  What are these aliens, what are they made up of, what do they want? We had a lot of discussions about that, which then leads to those fun moments in the story for example, of scattering light bulbs as a warning device. Those kinds of moments that Timur adds can become classic indelible images.”

Bekmambetov sees this project as a stepping stone for the Russian film industry.  “This is the first big Hollywood movie that will all be made in Russia.  We’ve shot parts of western movies here – a few shooting days on Get Smart, a Bourne movie with a piece made in Moscow – but nobody has made a whole Hollywood movie in Russia.  It’s very helpful and important for our production company Bazelev because people learn how to work in system. It will help me in the future to make more movies here in Russia,” says Bekmambetov.  “In our visual effects area, we have young people working with American producers and visual effects supervisor.  The young Russian guys are learning a lot and at the end, we will have a great team who can then make another movie.”

“Darkest Hour” (3D) opens in cinemas on January 25 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

No comments:

Post a Comment