hardcore henry behind-the-scenes

When I interviewed Hardcore Henry director Ilya Naishuller at SXSW last month, we spent a fair amount of time talking about how shooting this film was a total pain in the ass. But that’s what you get when you set out to make a first-person perspective action movie – you get a lot of hard days and long nights and migraine headaches. And while I have mixed feelings on Hardcore Henry, the film is impressively assembled and utterly unlike anything you’ve seen before and the process of how it was shot is genuinely fascinating. Hell, a documentary about the making of the movie would be as compelling as an actual action film.

And while no such documentary exists (yet), a music video comprised entirely of footage from the film’s shoot has arrived online and it’s an incredibly entertaining, if slightly nerve-wracking, watch.

The video is technically a music video for the Biting Elbows song “For the Kill” and it’s a surprisingly poppy track for a movie that is comprised almost entirely of shootouts, stabbings, burnings, explosions, and other forms of bodily harm. However, it’s the perfect accompaniment for footage of fearless stuntmen with cameras strapped to their heads running across bridges, scaling buildings, leaping from vehicles, and battling a couple dozen other stunt people in a massive hand-to-hand free-for-all.

One of the most interesting tidbits I learned from my interview with Naishuller was that Henry was played by a variety of different people throughout the production depending on what each scene called for. For scenes that required jumping and climbing, a parkour expert wore a camera on his face. For a scene that involved falling from a helicopter, a base jumper was employed. For a scene that involved lots of fire, a guy with experience in getting lit on fire was called up. The unseen stunt people are the real stars of Hardcore Henry and getting to watch them work, even if it’s in a music video, is genuinely exciting.

If you’ve managed to avoid everything about this movie so far, here’s the official synopsis:

Strap in. HARDCORE HENRY is one of the most unflinchingly original wild-rides to hit the big screen in a long time: You remember nothing. Mainly because you’ve just been brought back from the dead by your wife (Haley Bennett). She tells you that your name is Henry. Five minutes later, you are being shot at, your wife has been kidnapped, and you should probably go get her back. Who’s got her? His name’s Akan (Danila Kozlovsky); he’s a powerful warlord with an army of mercenaries, and a plan for world domination. You’re also in an unfamiliar city of Moscow, and everyone wants you dead. Everyone except for a mysterious British fellow called Jimmy (Sharlto Copley). He may be on your side, but you aren’t sure. If you can survive the insanity, and solve the mystery, you might just discover your purpose and the truth behind your identity. Good luck, Henry. You’re likely going to need it…

Hardcore Henry is in theaters right now.

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