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Hey Boys and Girls, after having finally experienced the excellent action thriller, Hanna, we were graced once again to chat with Eric Bana about flipping remotes, director Joe Wright about ďcoke-and knivesĒ clubs with The Chemical Brothers, and our favourite teenage assassin Saoirse Ronan about push kicks and bamboo sticks.

Dig it!

Hanna

Joe Wright

 

The Lady Miz Diva:  I must ask about The Chemical Brothers.

Joe Wright: Those two strange English boys?

 

LMD:  At that point in the film when their music really hits, the entire audience has the same reaction; everyoneís head starts bobbing.

JW:  I know.  Itís when the bass kicks in when she {Hanna} escapes Camp G, that I just wanna get up and start dancing.  And I still do.  I think Iím programmed after 20 years of being a Chemical Brothers groupie, I think Iím programmed to dance as soon as the bass hits.

LMD:  How did you approach them about coming onboard to score Hanna?

JW:  I called them up.  As I say, I met them nearly 20 years ago now at their very first London gig which was at a club called Rah-Rahís above a shoe shop in North London.  It was a fucking shitty club with sticky carpets and nasty graffiti in the toilets.  It always used to be referred to as a ďcoke-and-knivesĒ club.  But it wasnít that night, that night it was kind of different and I was a groupie from then on, really.  So Iíve known them for some years and I called them up and I said, ďDíya wanna do this film? Iíve got this script.Ē  Iíve been looking for a project to do with them for a long time.  I have quite an eclectic music taste and I love my classical, but I also love my techno, techno, techno.

 

LMD:  The rhythms of the score are very insistent and I wondered how it affected the way you presented the action?

JW:  Well, they had a couple of the pieces of the music written before we started filming, and so we had a big sound system on the set and we would play the music as we were shooting, so it gave the actors a kind of rhythm.  We did the same thing on Atonement as well.  IĎm one of the best-paid DJ in the world, I think sometimes.  Actually, thatís not true; DJís get paid really well.  And during post-production we had a very close relationship working together, sending rough cuts of scenes and theyíd send rough designs of music and weíd go back and forth like that.

 

LMD:  What were you watching or reading that got you into the mindset of the action you had to produce with Hanna?

JW:  I was looking at two films actually.  Although they were films Iíd referenced from my childhood, like David Lynch in particular and Hal Ashbyís Being There.  I think the character of Hanna is very much like Chauncey Gardiner; the kind of ďholy foolĒ character, seeing the world without any preconditioning.  Before shooting this I was also looking at Pasoliniís Theorem, the film with Terence Stamp where he kind of appears and no one knows who this character is and he has this extraordinary affect on all these people around him, but not through anything he says necessarily, but through their projecting onto him.  So, I kind of liked that for Hanna.  But in terms of shooting action, I was very scared of the action stuff.  I didnít know that I could do it, and so I tried not to think of action as fighting.  I just tried to think of action as an extension of choreographed blocking and the organisation of figures in space, and therefore was looking at films like Robert Bressonís Pickpocket, because the sequence where the pickpockets are working the train station seems to me the most beautiful piece of elegant and economic action although no oneís actually punching each other.  Itís not about violence, but it still has stories told through the organisation of figures in a frame.

 

LMD:  But you have got an amazing fight choreographer in Jeff Imada.

JW:  Absolutely!  And a huge credit goes to Jeff!  Jeff Imada is a genius.  I think he has over 400 credits, including the Jason Bourne films and his style of fight choreography is a sort of martial arts-meets-street fighting.  He started very much with me and Saoirse -- the character development came out of her physical development -- so we first of all started talking about how she breathed and breathing techniques and rhythms and itís kind of like meditation, I suppose.  And we started talking about her balance and core strength and posture and economy of movement so that she never moved unless she had to.  Thereís no extraneous movement.  And then we built the character from that kind of physical place.

 

LMD:  Last time we met you mentioned he added a particular visual to the film.

JW:  There was a stunt that he thought of.  When we did the container park sequence and Guy {Heeley, 1st AD} and I were going, ďWe need a good stunt here.  What should we do?Ē  I said I wanted her running across the top of the containers and he came up with the idea when she got to the last one, another containerís put in the way that kind of divides them.  So that was his.  He came up with a couple of others which would have been lovely to do, but unfortunately we couldnít afford them.

 

LMD:  I find it really hard to believe you managed a PG-13 rating.

JW:  Do you?              

 

LMD:  I feel like it could have gone this way or that.

JW:  It could have gone this way or that, I think, and it couldíve been a lot more violent.  But I really wanted to reach a wide audience and I thought Hanna the character might have quite a lot to offer younger people, so I wanted to make the film open to them, too.

 

Eric Bana

 

The Lady Miz Diva:  Iíd love to hear about filming that amazing tracking shot through the bus terminal.

Eric Bana:  Look, it was a huge challenge, but it was one of the most exhilarating things Iíve gotten to do in a film.  You know, itís scary on the one hand when the director tells you the fight youíve been learning is going to be all in one shot.  But to a large degree, itís kind of the antithesis to how those kinds of movies are usually made, so I was absolutely so excited to get the chance to do it.  And itís that rare environment in movie-making where the crew really does become Ö it becomes sport, and youíre a football team and everyone has to be bang-on for a take.  We shot that in magic hour and we only had a window of about an hour or 45 minutes to get it, to nail it.  I think we did 6 or 7 takes with no real time to review each take at the end.  I think Joe said it was take 2 or 3, one of the early ones.  So it was really exciting.

 

LMD:  So how much rehearsal did you have for that one crucial shot?

EB:  Scarily not a whole lot.  We rehearsed in general and we had a lot of fight scenes, so we got to a point where we were able to learn choreographed stuff really, really quickly.  So in actual fact, itís more important that you get proficient at the fighting and then learn the choreography almost close to doing it so that itís fresh, rather than learn the choreography 2 months earlier.  Cos the other danger is that you get so set in your rhythms, that -- as we did on the day, as well -- we then changed it.  Actually on the day when the camera canít get there for that, so itís gotta come in later and this now has to be that.  So you actually have to have the ability to go with the changes at the last minute, as well.

 

LMD:  I loved the relationship between Hanna and her dad.  Would you as a father have been able to let that innocent child press the button that begins the end of the life they lived together for so long?

EB:  Yeah, when sheís about 40.  I hide the buttons in my house.  I thought it was a really cool device.  I also liked the fact that she finds it and then itís her decision to flip the switch, which was a really cool touch.  I enjoyed that cos it was a very important {moment}.   The heart of the movie is that sheís the one that decides to set in motion the chain of events thatís gonna potentially lead to her death.  I remember when I saw it on the set the first time, Iím like, ďIs this it?Ē and Joeís like, ďThatís it.Ē  I said, ďThat is so cool!Ē  I love that itís such a switch.  Itís a switch, switch, you know?  Like a remote control aeroplane kind of switch, but I thought that was a good device -- a literal device and an actual device.

 

Saoirse Ronan

 

The Lady Miz Diva:  When we first met you spoke about Jeff Imada a little bit and since then he and I have spoken and heís your fan club.  Tell us about training with him and meeting with the martial arts legend Dan Inosanto?

Saoirse Ronan:  Well, I only met Dan Inosanto once but he was a lovely, lovely man.  I actually began training at the Inosanto Academy in LA, so it was a great place to start cos thatís where Jeff is based.  He basically designed a very individual fighting style for Hanna.  When I went back to Ireland that was what we worked on.  There were different fight moves that I learned, but it was put together in a very fluid way and thatís something that Jeff does very well, heís very, very talented.  I worked out in the gym for about 2 hours every day.  I got muscle definition and that was something I wasnít used to at all.  I was suddenly stronger, you know?  I was starting to hold myself differently and walk in a different way.  Itís a very empowering feeling when youíve stepped out of the gym and youíve had a really intense training session.

 

LMD:  What was your favourite style of martial arts?

SR:  I like the push kick, actually.  Isnít it awesome?  And I like using the bamboo sticks, as well.

 

LMD:  As Hanna seems like a rare action film for girls Ö

SR:  For ladies!

 

LMD:  ... For ladies, I wondered what you hoped ladies would take away from Hanna?

SR:  Strength, I guess.  I donít wanna sound too cheesy or anything Ö I can sound a little bit cheesy.  When I walked away from that film -- Iíve only seen it once, but I was very excited.  I donít think the character of Hanna necessarily changed, which I kind of like.  I donít know about anyone else, but itís not like she really has an arc.  She goes through these experiences and sheís sent on a mission to get rid of a particular problem, which is Marissa Wiegler, and once she does that thatís kind of it.  Sheís a blank canvas and I think people can kind sort of paint whatever they want on to her and I like that about her.  I like that she stays they way she is.  She stays different and kind of weird and she stays a freak.

 

LMD:  Were there any films that you watched to get you into Hannaís head?

SR:  Joe got me to watch Being There, with Peter Sellers. That was more of a character study, I guess.  Heís this man who hasnít really been involved in society ever and now suddenly heís the center of attention and has to deal with people a lot. It was a good thing to watch.  I didnít really watch any action films, just Being There.

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva

Apr. 6th, 2011

 

Special mercis and grazies to Yannina Diaz-Gonzales & all at Focus, Jessica & Kia from Film First and the glamourous and gracious producer par excellence, Ms. Leslie Holleran.

 

 

Click here for our Hanna movie review.

Click here for our coverage of the New York Comic Con Hanna Preview.

 

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Photos

Exclusive Photos by LMD

 

Hanna producer, the glamourous Leslie Holleran

Mrs. Wright, Anoushka Shankar

 

 

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