James Mathers, shown at left -- has ample experience in cinematography and sound, while the other (writer/director Stephen St. Leger, below), is a relative newcomer to the field. They seemed to have worked together quite well and the result is a movie that, while it owes a hell of a lot to a lot of other films (to how very many movies does that statement apply?), stands on its own well enough to grab a lesser place in the firmament of exciting, entertaining action flicks.
Guy Pearce (below). Mr. Pearce -- who came to fame way back in the days of The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Dessert, but then almost immediately began to play nothing but "downer" roles (L.A. Confidential to Memento through Death Defying Acts and the recent Seeking Justice) -- suddenly gets light-hearted once again, using that lightness to invigorate a role that could easily (think Arnold Schwarzenegger) grow tiresome via an actor's heavy hand (not to mention body and mouth).
Maggie Grace (above), as that daughter, and if she is merely good, rather than as exceptional as is Pearce, it may be that the movie-makers, as often happens in the action genre, are not quite as interested in the female (except as a jumping off point) as they are in the males on view. Ms Grace, nonetheless is allowed to handle some of the action and even gets to change her hairdo (color and grease-quotient, below) during the course of the film.
Joseph Gilgun (below) makes a startling, scary impression,
Vincent Regan (below) proves the more cerebral of the prison's bad-guy crew.
Peter Stormare (below) and Lennie James.
Open Road Films & Film District) opens tomorrow, Friday, April 13, at major cities -- New York, Chicago, L.A. and more -- across the country. To find a theater near you, click the movie's web site and then enter your zip code and click your choice for online-ticketing.
At the roundtable interviews of the two lead actors -- below are highlights from the Q&As -- both proved intelligent and accommodating. First up was Maggie Grace (of whom, once she had left the room, several participants commented that she was ever more beautiful in-person than on-screen), who looked stunning in a svelte brown dress with her hair pulled back.
How were the sets to handle and negotiate? "There were only a couple of stages used, so there was a lot of recycling. And of course a lot of use of green screen."
Do you think there is some truth in this movie, in terms of what the world can look forward to? "Well, I think that, in most sci-fi, there is always a seed of truth -- and a warning. And we know, right now, that our prison system is not at all in good shape."
How was it to work with two directors on the same movie? "They were on the same page, so there really was no problem. It was like: two men, one mind."
Any talk of a sequel? "We'll see. People have asked for one, but who knows?"
Taken 2? "Without giving away spoilers, its going to be very interesting. It's kind of 'inverted,' you might say."
Taken introduced Liam Neeson to the action film, and now it seems that Lockout is doing the same thing for Guy Pearce. "It's great, isn't it? This genre needs these intelligent, grounded leading men like Liam and Guy!"
For his part Guy Pearce was less coiffed -- he wore jeans and a t-shirt covered by an un-ironed casual cotton shirt (usually TrustMovies' favored choice of attire, too). Pearce proved extremely well-spoken and eager to listen and respond -- rather than, as with some actors, answer any questions with a pre-rehearsed set of answers which do not necessarily conform to the questions.
You really added so much weight and muscle. How long did this take you? "I only had one month to get in shape, so it had to be done quickly. But then, we had the entire shoot ahead of us, so I could just keep working at it. Plus, there was all that good Serbian food we were eating." (The filming location was Belgrade, Serbia.)
Asked if he thought the sci-fi elements were on the mark, Pearce reminded us that many things we see first in science-fiction end up as reality. "The idea of a prison in space is probably on the mark, as well."
Are you happy to be doing a somewhat lighter movie, after all the dark ones you've chosen? (He smiles at this) "I don't know if I chose them, or whether they just had to do with what was going on in my life at the time."
Was the hugely physical aspect very difficult? "It was a three-month shoot, non-stop, and very wearing. The hardest part was having to wear a harness for certain scenes. That's grueling!"
And then you have to say your lines on top of that, one interviewer suggested. "You know, it's having to say those lines that actually helps get you through it. It gives you something to think about, to take your mind off the pain. It's when you've finished the dialog -- and there you are, still hanging -- that it gets really tough!"
Do you look for certain types of roles? "I think I'm open to whatever the universe brings," he laughs. "But I do like to be excited, surprised by a role. I tend to respond pretty intuitively to things. And sometimes I just get to the point where I can't read anything else. I'm just too overloaded. Right now, in fact, I'm on a six-month break from even reading anything.