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The cast and director of Hanna were pleased with the decision to bring stunt man, Jeff Imada onboard. They discuss fighting techniques and avoiding the fabulous but overplayed Bourne fight sequences. Actor, Eric Bana talks in detail about getting the audience to feel the bond between his character and Hanna’s and joked about throwing punches at a girl. He emphasizes the imperativeness of drawing the audience in the relationships that is already embedded early in the movie and the relationships that evolve throughout the film. Director, Joe Wright reminisces about the use of his renowned tracking shots in previous movies as well as Hanna.
Eric Bana: Yeah Jeff is amazing, he’s very unique. Every fight coordinator has his own style. Jeff’s is pretty crazy but very, very specific. Uhm Saoirse and I are really lucky that Joe was able to grab him because he’s a very inspiring guy. Makes it fun too, you know makes your hard work filled with fun. [AO Comment: The question arises about the numerous fight scenes between father and daughters training sections. They had discussed the fight scenes earlier in the day. Eric jokingly depicting Saoirse stereotypically fighting like a “girl”, including texting angrily on a phone. Eric first started out as a stand-up-comedian in the comedy series Full Frontal. His good looks and good sense of humor meld well together.]
Interviewer: Your father and daughter in the film, but you actually have fight scenes because your character, Eric has been training Hanna all her life to be, you know lethal and everything. So what’s it like fist cuffing with each other?
Eric Bana: At first, I was tentative, uhm they usually keep the actors a little bit set physically in terms of fight training, Uh.. leading up to the shoot, because you’re both busy learning your own themes and it’s not a good idea to throw two actors together whilst there still progressing because it’s a bad start, it’s like breaking in a horse and someone learning to ride and put the two together it’s not a good idea. So, uhm, we didn’t start doing stuff together until right before we started shooting. And at first I was quite tentative. You know I’ve done fight scenes with other men and you always have to be careful, but it was with Saoirse so I was , you know, being extra careful….but not for long. …She was gonna’ serve it up to me and then I had to be on my game and in fact, give as much as she gave. And so she’s a very tough girl, I mean that whole heartedly, I’ve work with guys who it’s harder to do a fight scene with because they either hold back or their not prepared to really get physical but Saoirse was really incredible.
Saoirse Ronan: I just gave him a few slaps. (Laughter) That’s how we worked the whole relationship, no it was good fun, I mean Eric is a very tough guy. I think it was in, was it in funny people that someone described your arms as legs? (Laughter) so hitting that with these are the things every day, you know, it hurts after a while, (more laughter) but it was good fun though and I think…
Eric Bana: and we survived
Saoirse Ronan: we did, were here to tell the tale.
Joe Wright: Jeff kind of, uhm, trained them and organized the fights so that he worked with , you know, their skills so Eric’s fighting style was much more about strength were as Saoirse was more about speed and quickness… [AO Comment: Fidgeting with her fingers, Saoirse interjects, elaborating more on how Hanna is able to dominate an opponent.]
Saoirse Ronan: and energy as well as being able to use the other person’s strength to help me hurt them. (Laughter) And I don’t (coughing) I’m choking. I don’t, why can’t I talk. (She apologies for coughing) There’s this woman who came up with this martial arts style. And, she used her energy to hurt the person she was fighting with so that’s what we did. But it was definitely mixed martial arts. We used different styles and came up with Hanna’s own specific style, which was interesting.
Interviewer: Mr. Wright I am a huge fan of what is now a trade mark, your tracking shots. And I wonder if I’m going to see such a gorgeous shot in Hanna and where did the idea for this beautiful long scenes come from?
Joe Wright: Uhm , there’s is a British director , called Alan Clarke , uhm who you might know of, and Clarke started working with steady hand in television in the early 80’s, in a film Good elephant. [AO Comment: Wright continues to talk about his favorite films shot sequences that influenced his now trademark tracking shots]
Joe Wright: And so and then to be honest there is a kind of element of necessity being the mother of invention, ah, there is a very last scene of Charles II which was a TV thing before I did Pride and prejudice. I wanted to set at dusk and get involved about 27 characters about ten or twelve who talked and it was a load of separate conversations. And it needed to be shot at dusk and I didn’t know how I was goanna break it down. And so then I thought, I’d just cheat and not break it down at all and just do it all in one shot and rehearse it all in one day. And do it like a piece of theatre, basically. And so that started a sort of love affair with steady camera shot. And then ah, in this, in Hanna there’s a few nice little camera shots, I think. (Laughter) One in particular, ah, is my favorite shot… There’s a fight with Eric and four CIA agents, so it starts with Eric getting off a bus , moving through the bus station, coming out the side being followed by these CIA agents, going down an escalator into an underground car park and then a kind of capricious fight …
Eric Bana: No pressure (laughter)
Joe Wright: and ah, that was really scary for Eric, and he did incredibly with it. I like to challenge my cast and crew.
Eric Bana: I nearly cried that night (laughter, Eric mimics a little boy whimpering) sorry. (More laughter)
Joe Wright: It’s brilliant the fight works really, really well. Also I really love the fact in Old boy that’s one of the most amazing fight scenes I’ve ever seen. I was very weary of working with Jeff Imada, ah I’ve worked with him specifically because I think the fight scenes in the Bourne films are extraordinary, ah, but I was very nervous of, I wanted to get away from the style of fighting, in those films that’s become very popular. I’m not even sure that Paul Greengrass can shoot 5 sequences like that anymore because they have been so copied and so I wanted to get away from the touchy style. So I went the opposite direction, with single takes.
Photo Credit: Alex Bailey – 2011 Focus Features