Roundtable Interview With Olivier Megaton On Taken 2
Taking the reins from Pierre Morel on Taken 2 is Colombiana director Olivier Megaton, another French filmmaker intent on keeping Liam Neeson‘s explosive action image alive.
In Megaton’s film, we’ll watch Liam Neeson reprise his role as Bryan Mills while his family vacation is cut short by vengeful Albanians intent on making him pay for slaughtering their family members two years before during the events of Taken.
Recently, we were able to sit down with Olivier while he was in New York promoting the film. He discusses what it was like shooting in Istanbul, the challenge of taking on the franchise from another director, his relationship with Luc Besson and much more.
Check it out below.
We Got This Covered: As a director, how much secrecy did you have to implement in the filming of this movie production wise?
Olivier Megaton: You know, it’s very fragile when you make any movie. Not just this one, but when you make any movie, everything is very, very fragile. The finance, everything. To be on the set with the actors, with the location, every day changes, every day something can go wrong. The secret is much more about protecting the production of the movie, protecting all this flow, than protecting, whatever, something about the story.
And everybody wants to know, and that’s the problem. Today with the internet you can destroy something very fast, even if you just have .0001 percent of the information, you can really destroy something. So it’s not because it’s a big deal to know who’s going to be abducted this time, it’s about protecting the entire structure of making a movie.
We Got This Covered: How about shooting in Istanbul?
Olivier Megaton: The problem is that when I discovered Istanbul many years ago, I always went there in the summer, or spring. It was fine, you could imagine, but in October we began to shoot and then, the temperature went down, and it was even worse than in Paris. Raining all the time. Raining, sunny, raining, sunny, so it was the worst. For me it was a real pain in the ass to work there just because of the weather.
This town is so magical and so gorgeous though. You have this big river sharing three towns, monuments everywhere, mosques everywhere, five days a week, you’re on another planet. For a movie maker, it’s a dream, because it’s so exotic and everything is so beautiful, so on and so on.
The people there run around and don’t care what you’re doing. They don’t know you, they don’t know Liam, they don’t know anything. They just want to work, so it’s another energy, another logic. Despite all the problems we had with light and weather, it was a great, great experience because it was another location nobody shot for a long time. Nobody.
When you make a movie you really have to be clever and smart, find something new for the worldwide audience because you aren’t making a movie for just France or Germany, it’s for everyone in the world. The people in the world today, because they can see everything on the internet, they need to have new locations and need to have this new character in a movie.
We Got This Covered: The rooftops almost demand to be filmed, correct?
Olivier Megaton: The rooftop was the most difficult scene to shoot because it’s really the heart of the town. The market is right in the middle, the five big mosques are around, and we shot right on this old market roof. But the problem was we couldn’t do anything, because there was only those big lines and between each line were about 150 miniatures. You couldn’t put a foot on the tiles because they weren’t classified tiles and so on, blah blah blah.
So, we were about 200 people on this roof, on this very narrow place, we couldn’t have any crane, couldn’t have any cables come, couldn’t have any helicopters going down with the wind and such, so we had to find a solution to work with because this location was so amazing, you know? You’re in the middle, in the heart of this town. So we found a very little helicopter, a toy, and we shot with this and a steady cam, so each time we had to find something different because the location was asking us to, we had to find solutions.
Afterwards, the rooftop was a big memory for me because it was the first shot of Liam in the movie. When he’s arriving, in the frame, and the Blue Mosque is in the background, it’s the first shot of the movie and we were not supposed to shoot that day because the weather was so bad the week before that we had two or three hours to shoot back.
Maggie was there too, we shot with her. We had to do it again as well and I had to ask Liam “You’re not working tomorrow but can you be there,” and he showed up like this *snaps fingers* anyway. It was a great experience and it was very organic, it was very, you know, improvising things, all the time, every hour, every minute, everybody try themselves, everybody trying to find something. It was very funny.
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