Last week we spoke with Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson and director Tony Scott about their upcoming, non-stop, action-thrill-ride, Unstoppable. This commences the fifth time that Washington and Scott have joined forces to create a movie together. It seems like as long as you have these two together, add a few explosions, a chase scene, a sexy lady (dressed to make her look like a “regular girl” – tip boys, Rosario Dawson will NEVER look average), and you are in fact unstoppable at the box office! Throw in a sexy new-comer and you’ve got it made.
Check out the interview with the cast and director below…
Dialogue and lingo, was it all in the script or did actors do additional research?
Tony Scott: I like to give validation with the lingo, we put that in the script, sometimes we embellish it and sometimes we trim it back.
Rosario Dawson: I think that falls into the research category, I spent a lot of time talking to Marin Alexander who we had chosen to be the background person for Connie’s background. We drilled her, she was constantly talking to Tony, we’d go over the transcripts. A lot of time we’d ask her, “what does this mean?” so I knew what I was talking about…also the energy behind it. Is this important, is this not important? Because all of it, as technical as it sounds, sounds really huge – but she’d be like, that’s actually pretty simple, don’t emphasize that.
Tony, what was more challenging for you on this film – to shoot or edit?
Tony Scott: Shoot. I love the challenge. This is the biggest invention of my life. We did major stunts, it was a very dangerous movie to shoot. If you so happened to be looking the wrong way at the wrong time…my goal was to not be inhibited by “NO IDEA til 3:25” and then, you gotta watch it at the same time and don’t get in the way of the performance of the guys. But I think shooting in real life situation helps actors, because they’re competing against the noise and the wind and with that comes mistakes or things that shift and change.
Denzel, do you enjoy playing average guys?
Denzel Washington: Wasn’t that average of a guy. I don’t know what that means, so I don’t worry about that. There’s nothing average about someone who can control a 100 thousand ton machine, make it stop or risk his life to do it. I’m not the average guy. What they did was not average. I don’t look at it that way – like you put him in a slot before you start.
Chris was there anything interesting thing you learned from real workers?
Chris Pine: It was interesting and frightening when we went to the rail yard in LA, they said the most dangerous thing isn’t out on the track, it’s in the yard – Because the trains can be so quiet and seemingly innocuous, but of course they’re thousand ton beasts. I remember this one guy telling the story that this guy got surprised on the track, and the train was only going 3 or 4 miles per hour and pinned the guy. And they had to call the family out because the guy was still alive as he was pinned, they said their goodbyes, and the train separates from the guy, he passed away…I mean, that’s how dangerous these things are. Everyone we talked to had an experience, whether it was a conductor or engineer, with life and death stuff. People trying to cross the tracks, there’s no emergency stop button – a lot of people have experience traumatic events.
Denzel Washington: It was great to get to drive the train. Everything on them hurts. You know? You step, you hit your knee… It was dangerous all the time. I was always more nervous because Chris and I were looking forward, and you have all these guys n the platform going 50 mph, we could see what was coming – they couldn’t. It was just trippy. I couldn’t imagine making this movie on green screens.
Chris Pine: It’s a credit to Tony, really. Everything was practical. Not only were we on trains, on the tracks moving — we had 2 trains, one train that looked like the train, that one was chopped up so that cab could be circled by this 360 camera so we could run scenes over and over again and feel like we were driving the train and not be hindered, and run the scene. It was such a freedom and a liberty to be able to do that.
Was that really both of you running on the trains?
Chris Pine: I didn’t have a stunt man.
Denzel Washington: I had seven. I remember reading it way back and thinking why does the other guy get to jump on the train? I want to be that guy. And we kept working on the material and then I started thinking… I shouldn’t be the guy jumping – Chris should be! I see why he’s the guy! We had very experienced stuntmen, the guys that did Casino Royale…
Tony Scott: [Denzel] has a fear of heights. So we had him up at 25 ft on a 50 mph train, it wasn’t an easy task to get him up there. Chris was down there between the two trains, it’s actually sugar puffs, the potato flakes…what we want is a snow storm, and I thought we can’t have a snow storm this time of year. We re-created a rain storm with sugar puffs and potatoes.
What was the hardest scene to shoot?
Tony Scott: The scene when I’m dealing with performances, when I’m actually looking at the guys and hoping I’m covering them the right way. This is about two guys resolving their difference through the course of this journey – which is great. You’ve got the beast, you’ve got the guys coming to terms with who they are and their differences. It’s great in terms of the drama of these two different worlds.
Denzel you’ve worked with Tony five times, what is it about him that keeps you coming back and do you feel like you have a short-hand with one another now?
Denzel Washington: I learn and know that I cannot do what he does – what he does is make films. I’ve directed a couple of films but it’s got nothing to do with what he’s doing. I’ve learned so much from him. There’s obviously a short hand, he knows how I like to work, I know what he likes to do. He knows I like research, so he’s gonna have a ton of stuff long before we start…things like that.
There’s never been complacency –both of us are always reaching for something different, we never repeat ourselves. Every movie I do, every day I go to work I say how I look at this world and these characters in a different way. Denzel does the same – he reaches back inside of himself and finds a different aspect of his personality. Every character is very different.
Chris, you must be dealing with offers of a different scale after Star Trek, how are you choosing roles?
Chris Pine: I’ve been very blessed and it’s such a shock to me that I get to sit and have people ask questions and seem interested in who I am and what I do. To answer your question, it’s afforded me the luxury of choice, to cherry pick for I don’t know how long but I’m in a time right now where I can at least say yes and no to certain things. I think the guiding principle to me is working with people – is seizing the moment – working with people who I want to work it. That’s Tony, that’s Rosario, that’s Denzel…
Rosario, your character is under a lot of stress but handles it collectedly- can you talk about creating your character?
Rosario I think there was something really amazing that we had the opportunity to create with her. There’s a lot of clichés about a woman in a man’s world, about a woman with high power and how she should behave. We walked that line very well and were very clear about what we wanted Connie to come across as: someone very sensible and very capable. Not a woman in a man’s world, just the right woman for a very stressful situation.
Tony Scott: When she goes in the bathroom we see how she’s really feeling. That moment was carefully put in there. So you could actually access what was really going on – the rest of the time it was cool, calm, and collected.
Rosario Dawson: We had conversations [about how she was to expresses] the frustration of being in this control room miles away from where this action is and how you just wanted to show as calm and collected as she is if she could physically propel herself out a window and pull the lever on the train, she would. I think that was something we really played with to show how her levels of emotions were – it is a high stress situation, because she’s in charge. Your options disappear as the time goes by. You don’t have time to freak out, you have to do the next thing that’s going to save lives.
How much time did you spend with people you were playing?
Chris Pine: Yes, Terry and Jess came here and we went to the pig and whistle and had a couple beers, talked. It was great to get a sense of – their dynamic in real life, they were married together for a while in the sense that they were conductor and engineer together. They were the couple. What’s really interesting is that hierarchy in the train is very real – those guys that are old heads and have been around for a long time demand a certain level of respect. Just because the newbie’s gone to school and learned to do his job doesn’t mean he knows all the ins and outs of the job in practicality. They told the story of the newbie coming in and pressing his luck, trying to show the old guys how it was done…he was in for a world of hurt.
Unstoppable hits theaters November 5th! Check out the trailer below…