'Extraction' is a Marvel reunion of sorts. Its producers and screenplay include the Russo Brothers, the lead actor is Chris Hemsworth, and in his directorial debut is Sam Hargrave, stunt extraordinaire, whose work includes all four of the brothers' MCU installments. What this new Netflix film brings to the table is a far cry from all the superhero content we've seen them work on, though–and by this, I mean it as something pretty awesome to look forward to.
The action-thriller film delivers grit and in-your-face-violence as its follows the story of Tyler Rake, a black market mercenary attempting to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned crime lord. Highly physical combat, overwhelming amount of firearms, and some of the most extreme action sequences all feature in 'Extraction,' which should not be a surprise given Hargrave's stunt-heavy pedigree.
Here's a quick behind-the-scenes look at one of the many toe-curling action sequences you'll see in the film:
By far the most complicated action sequence I’ve ever been part of, and if it wasn’t already complex enough, our director @thesamhargrave decided to shoot it as a “oner” (series of long continuous shots that join together seamlessly to create a single shot) almost 12 minutes long and it’s about as exhausting to watch as it was to film. Strap in folks!
Before the film premieres on Netflix on April 24, Chris Hemsworth and Sam Hargrave held a Q&A session with international press through an online video conference. Learn more about 'Extraction,' its lead actor and director, in the full interview below:
Question: Chris, you said in the production notes that this movie had been the most physically and emotionally exhausting and intense film that you've ever done, and you go home exhausted after every day, each day. What did you do to recover at the end of each day, so you could carry on filming?
Chris Hemsworth: Uh, stop rehearsals? [laughs] We would be looking at the script, Sam and I. I guess, you know, this is one of the first times I've shot a film without my family being with me. There was so much movement logistically, it was just too tricky. And I gotta say it was, I guess that there was a benefit in that which meant I could come home. And we could get right back into you know, come back to the hotel or wherever, after a day of shooting and we could just get down to rehearsing the next sequence because we had a very compressed schedule.
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I didn't have as much prep time as I would have liked in with a start rehearsal. So it was a lot of sort of on the fly rehearsals and continual rehearsals. You know, sometimes I find, you go through periods of training and you're feeling really good and then you decide to have a few days off or a week off. And that's when everything starts to hurt and you realize, maybe I'm exhausted. It was a bit like that, you know? We just did not stop. I didn't have a chance to notice how my banged-up my body might have felt and kind of collapsed at the end of the shoot, but I don't know… [Laughs] Keep moving — that was a goal, wasn't it Sam? That was the motto.
Sam Hargrave: It was, always. Never stop. Keep moving.
Sam, can you take us through the beginning of this film when it was just being brought up us an idea a couple of years ago. Did you already have a lead actor in mind straightaway, and how has the original story evolved, from what it was before to what the film is now?
Sam: Good question. Well, I read the script originally probably seven or eight years ago, it was called Ciudad, Joe [Russo] had written it, and it takes place in you know, South America, and it turned into a graphic novel, but the story remained very similar. The bones were the same. And then when I was on [Avengers] Infinity War, Joe came to me again with the script and said, hey, this might be a good first time directorial debut for you to have a go with the script. [So I] read it again. And I had a few things I wanted to change.
Originally, it was interestingly, that Tyler was rescuing a young girl and I thought there was a lot of Father-Son thematics throughout that I thought were very powerful and I wanted to play with, so I switch that around. So it's a young boy who he was saving, and also, you know, originally the character was American. But when we found the incomparable Chris Hemsworth, I thought it would just be, you know, again, trying to have a unique perspective on an action film. You don't see a lot of Australian, you know, natively Australian leads. They're usually great Australian actors, but they're putting on accent to be American, British, or whatever. But I thought it would just land that authenticity and a unique point of view and just give Chris the freedom to do what he does and not restrict him or put limitations on him. Because there's a lot of places that we needed to go emotionally and a lot of things we had to focus on. I wanted that to be the focus, not an accent, which to me wasn't important. What was more important is to be authentic with the character.
And yeah, it was always, we were looking for someone that had the physical capabilities to pull off these crazy action sequences that were written and that I wanted to do. And once you know Chris showed interest, we were very lucky and we held on to them tightly and said, 'You're not going anywhere! You're doing this movie!' [Laughs]
So, we've come to a point in life where audiences are binge watching so many incredible plot twists, incredible plotlines and special effects. Can you give us a couple of reasons why this film 'Extraction' will resonate with the public?
Chris: Yeah, I think not often do you have–and this is what I loved about the script–such complex, incredible action coupled with an emotional story and a heartbeat at the center of it. And you know, the response so far, and what I think we're both so proud of is that we fuse the action, arthouse drama sort of genres, if you will.And I do believe, then, the action resonates so much more, because you understand what the emotional component is of that sequence. And the way that you know, he's fighting in the beginning of the movie is different to how he fights halfway through or three quarters or toward the end, because he's motivated by different things. Or he is actually motivated for the first time, you know?
There is a real complacent sort of suicidal approach to his style at the beginning and with very little care or regard for his own safety and that shifts and changes as his sort of deeper self starts to awaken. And, you know, he's emotionally sort of drawn out of himself. And that was, that was what I'm really excited for people to see and I think is unique to this style of film.
Sam: I think for me, part of the fun of a movie like this is, sometimes you don't have to be, you know, bigger to be better. Meaning, you can't beat the size and spectacle of an Avengers: Endgame, or, like all these Marvel movies. So this was a chance to kind of throw it back to the action movies of the 80s and 90s, where most of the stuff we did was practical stunts and fighting in action like, you know, Chris is inside those cars as they're sliding around corners. He's doing the fights as you know, motorbikes whizzed past him like an inch in front of his face. So it's a different experience for the audience. You're in there with Chris Hemsworth doing these crazy things, and so then you're just kind of like, well, it might make you lean a little closer to the screen, because you're used to seeing, you know, all this stuff in front of a green screen, and there's so much noise, so much going on that you kind of, like tune out.
It's exciting, I've worked on many of those movies, they help my career become what it is, but, there's a place for those. But for me, this is a way to tell a story, like Chris said, that mixes a primal need, the heart of a man who's kind of broke, again from his past and his desire for redemption. And then through that story, we get to see him do all these amazing things, and really do them. And so it's kind of a way to differentiate yourself without, you know, with throwing more at the screen. We just focused on the reality of it. And hopefully that comes across.
You're a stunt coordinator and this is your directorial debut. So you know, the action scenes, spectacular actions are expected, but how did you approach the more emotional, quieter scenes? Was that a big shift for you to do?
Sam: Yes and No? I mean, in one sense, I'm always trying to tell a story, even if it's, you know, a fight scene between two people or one person versus twenty. There's always a story and drama and motivations to be found in those action sequences. So it was just taking that experience of like there's there's always conflict here, like two people walking, there's always conflict, because that's interesting. That's drama. So what are people looking for? Where are they coming from? Where are they going? So just taking what I've learned through action, and then putting that in a dramatic sequence.
Now, they may not be throwing kicks and punches, but they might be fighting with silence or you know, with words, the subtext of what they're saying. So it was a very fun challenge to try to weave that in to this, to the story, because without those moments, without people caring about the characters and the connections, the action has less impact. So I think it's really important, it was for me, to focus on developing those characters and their relationships so that when the action happened, you cared. You sat forward because you were concerned for the well being of these characters you're going along on this journey with.
'Extraction' premieres on Netflix on Friday, April 24, 2020, at 3pm.