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Michael Davis on Shoot 'Em Up

Published June 11, 2007 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of New Line Cinema.
Shoot 'Em Up Shoot 'Em Up

Writer/director Michael Davis invited press to his editing room to preview scenes from his upcoming movie Shoot 'Em Up. Inspired by John Woo, Sergio Leone and James Bond, Davis crafted a series of gunfights with acrobatics that take bullet ballet into Cirque Du Soleil territory. Clive Owen plays a marksman who delivers a baby while a woman is chased by villains, and must protect the baby when the mother is fatally shot. It's not your father's action movie.

Michael Davis Gives a Preview of Shoot 'Em Up

"I think the spin on the movie is I like the fact that Clive Owen is a homeless hero," said Davis. "He is a hero who has to ride the bus. You see in all these action movies where the hero is an alcoholic or some other problem like that. I like the fact that his quirk is carrots which is actually healthy, the opposite of the drunk hero. So I feel like that all sort of naturally happened, but there is a bit of my spin to it I guess."

Bond likes his martinis and just about every Bruce Willis character hits the bottle, so Davis is proud to have the first health-conscious action hero. Owen chomps on carrots throughout Shoot 'Em Up.

"I always like in movies when they give a quirk, but they always give it to the secondary character, the character actor. I always think if you have a great idea that's going to translate, give it to the main hero so he doesn't seem like just a handsome hero. It seemed to make sense that he needed his eyes to be sharp for shooting. In the movie, they actually say carrots are good for the eyes. It plays into it."

Shoot 'Em Up Shoot 'Em Up

Shoot 'Em Up Shoot 'Em Up

The carrots also become part of the action later on. "I do have to say, as the movie progressed, as I was boarding it, Bond has all these gadgets and stuff. Well, he's sort of the anti-Bond, the blue collar Bond. Things like when he scoops up the gun out of the backseat with the carrot wasn't originally in the script but as I was boarding it, I was going, 'Where can the carrot show up again and kind of help him out?' It's kind of absurd but it still kind of makes you smile, so the character grew as a character in the movie."

Just like bullets, there is an unlimited supply of carrots for Shoot 'Em Up's purposes. "Well, there was one scene where he's at a Korean grocer and he ends up snatching a few while he was on the phone, but it kind of slowed down the scene so I cut it, but he grows some in his own place under these grow-lights, you'll see. So he's constantly restocking but we never really see it."

Boasting 12 action scenes, the film packs it all into a concise running time. "It's about 85, 86 minutes. Really lean and mean."

With real babies featured in many of the film's dangerous sequences, perhaps Davis can get a boost of PR from a Child Protective Services controversy protesting the film. "You know, historically, any time there's a controversy, it helps the box office. I do think the movie is so over the top right from the beginning, it says that this is larger than life. I think if it were something more realistic, I think they would have more of a case, but Clive always is protecting it. It's never really in too much danger."

Shoot 'Em Up comes to theaters on September 7.

For the trailer and more movie info, go to the Shoot 'Em Up Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of New Line Cinema.

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