Broken City (review) hit the universe this weekend. It’s a political/crime thriller from Allen Hughes and the first film the director has done without his twin brother Albert. Mark Walhberg stars along with Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, and Kyle Chandler. The director and his star came to Atlanta to promote the movie and I was able to join a few others in chatting them up for a while.
Nick Nunziata: This is actually the kind of movie that Sidney Lumet would have done in the 70’s or 80’s but they don’t make a lot them like that anymore.
Allen Hughes: Well, I always prefer those kinds of films, you know… Chinatown.
Nick Nunziata: But today, in today’s market, this stuff is either on TV or somebody like yourself really has to pull their weight and use their power because otherwise it just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t make sense to studio executives. You guys both make blue collar films. You represent that aesthetic, do you feel that obligation to kind of keep that alive?
Allen Hughes: Yeah, I absolutely do, I’ve never done anything other than that. I keep the limited number of movies I’ve done, the posters in my garage and I drove in one day, and they have this saying in Hollywood, good managers, and agents will say this a lot, two for them, one for you. And I drove into my garage and I, well which one did you do for them? And I said mmmm, none, and how does your bank account look? Empty. So there is a price to be paid.
Nick Nunziata: But you sleep good.
Allen Hughes: I do sleep well, at night, but you know, you got kids, or family, education or health to think about you know I’m learning a lot from him about the business side, and the two for them thing.
Mark Wahlberg: You got to handle your business. Having more success allows you more freedom, to take more risks in different things, you know, if The Fighter hadn’t have happened we definitely wouldn’t have been able to make this movie. That was a seventy million dollar movie, we ended up making for eleven million dollars. Contraband was a fifty million dollar movie that we went on making for twenty five million dollars, and that all came from our experience in TV, figuring out how to do more with less time and less money. But there’s producing – there’s a lot of great television nowadays, you know, and they don’t have these balloon budgets, and the studios aren’t interested in making movies, even though, if you look over the course of the years, uh, whether it be the year of The Fighter with King’s Speech, and Social Network, and I know there’s another big adult movie that year, and this year there’s adult themed movies that are making a lot of money. You know, it’s just they, you know, people don’t like taking risks in those jobs, because they don’t get to keep their jobs, if they don’t succeed, you know. So it’s kind, of you know, it is what it is, I don’t feel like I have to keep up this crusade, because I think it will just, it will continue to change, and fluctuate, it’ll come around, there’ll be new and exciting film makers to come, and movies that’ll be great successes, because how many effects can you create, that we haven’t already seen? You know, it’s about telling great stories, and so I think, uh, I think we’ll be okay.
A few more tidbits…
Allen Hughes on working with Mark Wahlberg:
Well for me I think he’s, you know, spoiled me, because he’s very collaborative, and very open, he, uh, I think understands a lot about making a film. Uh, also very respectful to other artists and craftsmen, while he’s doing it, and he’s just a great team player. You know, he remains calm, he’s got great court vision, and I think it was the best experience I’ve ever had with a movie star.
No, Allen called me and I expressed my interest in working with him years back doing that, and he asked me if I’d read the script. I said it was on the blacklist one of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood, but I hadn’t. I heard of it, so I read it right away, and we got together, and we talked about the various ways to get the movie made, and what would be the best route for us creatively, and we threw around the studio option ideas, and I said what about getting it independently financed, you and I can be left to our own devices, nobody’s going to tell us what to do, or what not to do. I just did that on two occasions and it was a very gratifying experience. I got my guy to come over with the money, not as much money as we would have liked.
And that was how it started, it was just hard because this was a movie that should have taken twice as long to shoot and probably had things like a larger budget, but for me I’d done it a couple times so it was just the norm for me, you know, okay we only have this amount of time, we can only shoot this sequence in this amount of days, but I had a blast, we were just kind of doing our thing. I would obviously have my take on what I thought the character was, and the scenes, and the moments, and then I would also sit down, you know, just tell me what you want me to do, and how you want me to say it, where you want me to stand, we had enough time to not only do what I thought I wanted to do but what also he would want me to do, and it was a great experience. It’s very unique I told him, I said next movie he does he’ll probably go do a studio movie, and have everybody…
Allen Hughes: You guys, a room full of people.
Mark Walhberg: Yeah, exact’y. room full of ideas, or some of them just feel obligated to say something, just throw some stupid shit out there. But uh, you know having the luxury and freedom of doing your own thing it’s a rare occasion.
Mark Wahlberg on the Entourage movie:
Mark Wahlberg: We just got a second draft of the scrip, which I haven’t read yet. It just got sent to me. We just want to, obviously make it great. It’s not worth just making the movie, just for the sake of making it and our goal is, and certainly mine and that I’m stressing the most is, I wanted to get back to what the show originally was. I mean it had a lot of great female characters but the relationships with the other characters became so important to the show, and we need to get back to the guys doing what the guys do. I’ll let them get crazy again. So when he takes that job, it’s back to getting crazy.
Broken City is now playing in your neighborhood.