At CHUD we’ve been proud to support Ilya Naishuller for many years now, and have debuted his rock-awesome POV videos right here, both of which went on to have explosive viral success (all due to Ilya and his awesome team).
If you’re not familiar with the story of these videos, in 2011 and then earlier this year Russian filmmaker Naishuller and his crew dropped videos that told the story of a man running from some shady dudes after a strange device. The trick is that each video runs as an entirely POV film packed with a whole boatload of fighting, gunplay and other batshit stunts.
After tens of millions of YouTube views between the two videos, the team caught the eye of producer/director Timur Bekmambetov, who has since been working with them to develop a feature-length film in the same style as the videos. The result is Hardcore. Written and directed by Naishuller, the film will feature Sharlto Copley (District 9, Elysium) as “Jimmy” in a story that The Wrap says, “will feature sci-fi elements and find Copley killing a lot of bad guys to save a damsel in distress.” I’ve heard the pitch and I can say that’s accurate enough.
I spoke with the irritatingly good-looking and friendly Naishuller after the news of the project broke out, and while he’s still not ready to spill the beans on the film’s story, he describes it further as, “a fine balance between action and story, and allows Sharlto –of whom I’ve been a big fan since District 9– to really go nuts. I don’t want to spoil anything, but his performance of the Jimmy character is sure to be very entertaining.”
We dug a little deeper and the filmmaker cleared a few other things up as well. When asked about the opportunity to escalate his effects and work with a bigger toolbox he was clearly excited, but quick to note that won’t mean an introduction of a lot of CGI or other corner-cutting from a crew that has a rep for dangerous, concussive stunts.
“While ‘Hardcore’ will feature a tremendous amount of breathtaking stuntwork, I will keep the amount of CGI to a minimum, sticking to our path of ‘blood, sweat and tears’ that has so far served me well.”
The crew will largely be the same as it has been (though Naishuller notes it has, “expanded to three times it’s size and it’s no longer just my friends falling down the stairs for the heck of it”), so there’s reason to expect a similar feel to “Bad Motherfucker.”
On the subject of whether the film is fully POV or some kind of hybrid, Naishuller says they’re going all the way.
“It’s 100 percent shot POV. Not a single other shot in the entire film.”
That’s pretty clear, I think. I was also curious about his feeling on working with Timur Bekmambetov, who made his splash with Night Watch and Day Watch, followed by Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter here in the states.
“Timur Bekmambetov is a great guy to work with. He’s an idea generator like no other person I know. He’s very supporting of what I’m trying to do and has been from the get go, trusting me to do what I think is right. I don’t think that there is anyone better suited to produce Hardcore.”
Finally, the writer/director spelled out exactly why it he and his team are taking what is a pretty straightforward idea (that some pretty big name folks have flirted with tackling), and why they expect to be succesful doing it. I like his answer very much.
“As pompous as this sounds, the reason why we’re making this movie is because we want to see a great POV movie in the theatre, and there is no one in the world right now who can make this kind of movie better than us.”
Fair play. I’ve seen Naishuller called the new Tarantino (and it may well be true), but for now I’m just happy to have another balls-out heir to a throne Neveldine and Taylor have seemingly left behind for the time being.
We will be watching this project with great interest, and should hopefully be able to bring you more details soon. There are definitely some big developments brewing…