DC at Night

DC at Night

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Olympus Has Fallen: Some Words from Its Stars

For any viewers worried about the realistic destruction of  the White House and several other nearby parts of Washington DC in his new movie Olympus Has Fallen, director Antoine Fuqua has some reassuring words. "We're in good hands. It's never going to go down like this," he says.

Gerard Butler, who stars in the film as a disgraced Secret Service agent who valiantly and violently battles his way back to grace against North Korean terrorists, agrees. "This movie is about the heroes of this country who risk their lives everyday to create that safe space for us to live in," Butler says.

Butler and Fuqua, joined last night by Aaron Eckhart, who plays the embattled president, and Angela Bassett, who portrays a feisty Secret Service chief, spoke to the audience following a special DC screening of Olympus Has Fallen, which opens here and in theaters across the country on March 22.

Prior to the showing, Butler joked that the group, on tour promoting the new film, had a special trepidation about appearing at a DC screening. "This is your city and we blow a bunch of your buildings up," the Scottish actor said.

Judging from the reactions of the crowds both during (there were some frequent claps and cheers whenever Butler exacted a lethal brand of justice against the incredibly evil terrorists) and after (many of the questions began with words of praise for the uncanningly accurate portrayal of DC and the White House), Butler's fears were unfounded.

Here is the official trailer for the film. (If you are getting this post in an email, click here to view the trailer)

So how did the filmmakers make the White House attack scenes so compellingly real?  "Obviously, you can't shoot in Washington with terrorists running around," Fuqua said. A replica of the White House and the surrounding area was built in Louisiana where much of the film was shot. CGI techniques and footage from Washington contributed to the setting as well.

Many consultants,  including former Secret Service, political, and military experts were used in an effort to make a completely fictionalized movie seem more real.  ""We took all their ideas," Butler said. "What would they (the terrorists) look for? What would they find? What would I say here?"
Even in this time when polls show that Americans' opinion of their governmental leaders is extremely low and the country is polarized politically, the reactions at screenings have shown "how much there is a connection with the White House and the presidents," Butler said.

Butler poses with fans after the screening
In fact, Butler maintains that it is really the character of the president who is most important to the impact of the film. "In the end, it is the president who we are inspired by. He is the hero of the movie," Butler said.

So how did Eckhart, who thanked Fuqua for giving him a role where he spent 7 weeks of filming being tied up and beaten in a simulated small White House bunker, feel about the film? While he acknowledged that violence and the inclusion of so many edge-of-your-seats scenes will probably bring viewers to the theater, he hopes they leave with something  more. "It's a human movie and it's about the decisions you have to make in a crisis," Eckhart said.

Fuqua, the director of the critically acclaimed Training Day,  concurred that there was more than mayhem to the film. "Sometimes we get to document life. And sometimes we get to fictionalize life. Then sometimes we get to send messages, too," he said. "I think this film deals with what we are about as a country and that obviously effects you in an emotional way."

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
If you want to hear more from Fuqua and the stars of the movie, The Washingtonian interviewed them yesterday and you can read that article by clicking here. Interestingly, Olympus Has Fallen is not the only White House attack film this year. On June 28, White House Down with Jamie Foxx as the president and Channing Tatum as a Secret Service agent who must protect him from terrorists will be released. To read an article comparing the 2 films, click here.

Blog Archive

Popular Posts