By Ryan Parsons | Image property of New Line Cinema.
Shoot 'Em Up
Clive Owen is a highly sought after actor. He's worked with the likes of Alfonso Cuaron, Spike Lee, Robert Rodriguez and Mike Nichols. He must have pretty high standards for his colleagues, but he chose to make Shoot 'Em Up with the relatively unknown Michael Davis. The way Davis hyped up his mega-action flick sold Owen on the prospect.
Clive Owen on Shoot 'Em Up
"That was certainly a key part of it," said Owen. "It was more the originality of the script from the word go. Then it was about meeting Michael and seeing his take on the film. My biggest concern to tell the truth was, I read the script and said, 'That’s wild. If he can pull this off, it’s just fresh, original and witty and really good fun.' But Michael hadn’t done a film on this scale, so the concern is can Michael actually pull this off? It’s one thing writing 'This is John Woo’s wet dream.' John Woo is a master of the action genre."
Davis was no slouch though. He'd prepared so much of the film that Owen could already see he was in good hands. "He storyboarded the entire film. Every time I asked him a practical question about shooting this scene or that scene, he knew every angle he wanted to do. He knew if he was running out of time he could compromise by cutting that guy out, then I just need this angle or that. I was like, 'One, if he doesn’t make the film, he’s going to explode. I don’t want that to happen to the guy. And two, he’s ready to make this film. He’s been waiting a long time. He’s together and he’ll pull it off.'”
Shoot 'Em Up casts Owen as the unknown Mr. Smith, a carrot chomping gunslinger who rescues a newborn from a shootout. "He’s a very classic, iconic action guy really. He was very contained. You don’t know much about him. There’s something very satisfying about shooting action because action sequences are very clear what your objectives are. You go shot by shot through the sequence. You’ve got to achieve it all. It was quite straight forward. It was just about keeping them as contained and cool as possible really."
Carrying a baby through many of the film's dangerous gunfights, Owen mainly worked with a dummy. "I suppose it has something to do with a three week old baby. I’m not sure any mother would let me tear around shooting an uzi with a real baby. We doubled the baby. We used the real baby as much as we felt was right and proper and fair. It’s a crazy, wild movie and we’re not going to be irresponsible in real life."