Interview: Director Courtney Solomon Talks "Getaway"
Mon, 26 Aug 2013 08:04:58
Getaway immediately revs up and doesn't stop until the end credits. It's a pulse-pounding thriller that's got its pedal to the metal from the very moment it starts, and that's exactly how director Courtney Solomon intended it to be. At the same time, the filmmaker skillfully told an intense story with nuanced characters amidst all of the action. It's the perfect roller coaster to end this summer with.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Getaway director Courtney Solomon discusses the film, music, and so much more.
The movie's thrills are so artfully crafted that they never overshadow the characters. There's the perfect balance of action and emotion.
Thank you! I'm really glad you felt that way. That's what we were trying to go for. It's an interesting balance because I did something you don't usually do in movies these days. I didn't spend twenty obligatory minutes on backstory at the beginning of the movie. I just threw you into the movie and let you learn about the characters in the context of the actual movie moving forward at 60 or 90 miles per hour. It was a fine balance of, "Are we doing enough? Are we not doing enough? Are we overdoing it?" I constantly wanted you to feel like the primary thruster was that there's a ticking clock and Ethan Hawke's wife could get killed at any time. Unlike the traditional action movie, they couldn't do stupid things because they wouldn't really do stupid things or challenge this guy too much if he wanted his wife back.
Was it important for you to make the elements of anxiety for the audience stand out?
Yes, I did it all consciously. The key to it was a subtlety to the whole thing. As much as this movie seems so in-your-face because of the action, the tension is done in a very subtle manner. It's just a layer or a pall of fog hanging over the whole thing. You just know it's there. That's a balancing act we were trying to go for. I'm glad you felt that way. We wanted you to feel it, but we didn't want to keep hitting you over the head with a sledgehammer, if you know what I mean.
They're deep characters, and Selena [Gomez] and Ethan [Hawke] bring out their nuances.
They're deep characters, but you don't get a lot of time with them, which is interesting. You have to bring it out very quickly and without banging everyone over the head. I needed somebody like Ethan who could pull that character off the way I envisioned him. He's an ex-NASCAR driver so Ethan went and trained with NASCAR drivers for a week and learned how they drive. Now, he's playing the character. Selena's really playing her character too. It's not too far of a stretch for her, but it's a very nice transition from the parts she was doing to turning into a woman.
The setting definitely creates that suspense too.
It's a great setting. To be able to do what we were doing, the script was Europe anyway, but we needed a city like Sofia where they would actually let us get away with this [Laughs]. On a practical level to see the vision realized, that becomes part of it. We spent weeks location scouting. We saw everything.
How crucial is music for you?
Dude, I sat and did the score for two-and-a-half months after I was doing mixing and editing with my composer Justin Burnett in his studio. I'd do it from like 8pm until 4am every day. It's super important. We thought it was appropriately big where it needed it to be and then it reined itself back. The score helps the audience feel what you're intending them to feel if it's done correctly. Justin's a super talented guy.
What were you listening to while making Getaway?
Highway to Hell [Laughs]…that's what we felt like we were on. I wasn't listening to any music while doing the music. I had a very early conversation with Justin and started sending him mini half-assembled sequences while we were shooting. In general, I'm an eighties guy. Bruce Springsteen is hands-down my favorite. I like Bon Jovi an awful lot. I actually wrote the entire American Haunting script listening to Bon Jovi, if you can believe that! I'd sit in my office, while I was writing, and blast Bon Jovi. I had no idea why I did it. I've never done it again. That's what I listened to. Classic rock is my favorite. I'm embracing some of the newer music out there. I do like some Beyoncé. That's pretty cool. She's really talented. I like some of Rihanna's music. There's a lot of cool new stuff I've begun to open my mind up to just because my wife keeps telling me I can't keep listening to the same stuff forever.
Will you be seeing Getaway on August 30?