Posted on Friday, April 3rd, 2015 by Germain Lussier
James Wan is a big time director, but that wasn’t by design. Wan directed six movies before taking the wheel for this weekend’s Furious 7 and while many of them were huge hits, none of them compared to this. Furious 7 is a big budget blockbuster with six films preceding it. It’s also in a genre – action – that he’s never worked in. Films like Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring all connected with audiences, but they were set in small locations with moderate to small budgets. Furious 7 takes place all over the globe with some of the most insane stunts you’ve ever seen. It also had to cope with the terribly tragic death of one of its stars, Paul Walker. Which is all to say, James Wan really had to step it up.
We’ll leave the Walker discussion for after opening weekend but, with the film now in theaters, here’s the rest of our interview with James Wan. He talks about the challenge of Furious 7 acting as a sequel to two Fast and Furious movies simultaneously, changing his focus from horror to action, the size and difficulty of those massive action scenes, the fact The Rock does his signature WWE move in the film and the pressures of The Conjuring 2. Read our James Wan Furious 7 interview below.
/Film: I want to start by saying I’m one of the weird people whose favorite film in the franchise is Tokyo Drift.
James Wan: But you’re one of the cooler people. And I love the fact that you’re okay with that.
I say that because one of the reasons I was so excited for this movie is you were finally gonna wrap up that storyline. And then when Lucas Black was announced in casting, I literally jumped up in excitement.
Did you like the way we brought him into this film?
I did and that’s my question. Talk about a little bit of matching those films and how you decided how much or little you wanted to use that tangent.
So obviously we had aspirations to kind of use more between Vin and Lucas there, but how long ago was Tokyo Drift?
It was like 2006, something like that.
So that’s close to 10 years ago, right? And so people have grown in 10 years. You look different in a decade. And so for that, just from a continuity standpoint, I couldn’t really do too much with that. And so I could use footage from Tokyo Drift, but then after that, now I could use just enough that you kind of roll right into this story without harping on Tokyo Drift, which is a tricky one, because that’s the one that the least amount of people have seen.
After Tokyo Drift, every Fast and Furious film has to up the ante.
And I think the way you guys did it was make the action scenes longer. How do decide the ways to expand from the previous film and am I right in saying that as epic and magnificent as the stunts are, these scenes are much more in depth and longer than the other ones?
Well I don’t know. Geez, I guess that’s just by the nature that we shot so much. ‘Cause the shoot was so long. I didn’t necessarily go into this trying to top what they had previously done. It was more a case of, for me, I’m such a big action film junkie that I wanted to see stuff that I had not seen before. Right? Now whether that’s throwing cars out of the back of a plane or cars going off road in the mountains, watching a giant armored bus teetering on the edge of a cliff.
Even to like smaller action sequences too. Like, you know, where Paul’s character is fighting Tony Jaa and they’re fighting on a door that’s going down the stairs? You’re on a sleigh ride. I mean, geez, if that sequence doesn’t say this is a fun roller coaster ride of a movie, I don’t know what does, right?
Totally yeah. I loved that.
So just a lot of things like that that I wanted to do that we haven’t quite seen before.
Okay. Now you mentioned the length of the shoot. How long did each one of those scenes take roughly?
Oh it depends. I think the mountain assault sequence, that’s probably the longest one. And that’s with stuff cut out as well. And I think the ending is pretty epic as well. The problem is when you start out big, then it needs to get bigger and bigger.
So ballpark how long did the mountain scene take to shoot?
To shoot? Oh, collectively it’s between two units. There are like two units running concurrently, right? So you have your stunt and action and then you have your actors and then obviously you have like visual effects as well doing what they need to do to kind of make it all work and gel it all together. So probably the mountain assault sequence was the most involved. I mean, every, all the action scenes were very involved. But if I had to put them in order, that one’s on top.