The Commuter Director Talks Fast Trains, Future Movies & Liam Neeson | EXCLUSIVE
Director Jaume Collet-Serra has had quite an interesting career and, even if you don’t know his name, you’re probably familiar with his work. His career has been tied to that of Liam Neeson’s of late, as the duo have collaborated a total of four times on some of the Irish actor’s action movies that have been a staple of his career over the last decade. That trend continues with The Commuter this weekend, which is another crowd-pleasing, fun action/thriller.
The movies that Liam Neeson and Jaume Collet-Serra make with one another represent the kind of movies that don’t get made all that often in Hollywood anymore. While the majority of movies released these days are either very low-budget or massive, mega-budget blockbusters, movies like The Commuter exist somewhere in the middle. Studios have shied away from these mid-budget movies in recent years, but Collet-Serra and Neeson have found a way to make them work.
Starting with Unknown in 2011, Liam Neeson and Jaume Collet-Serra kicked off this series of collaborations. The pair later worked together in rapid succession on the airplane thriller Non-Stop in 2014 and then the action/drama Run All Night in 2015. These movies may not be critical darlings, and they may not be blockbuster smash hits, but they are entertaining and make money. Something about these two working together really works. The Commuter hasn’t had the chance to show what it can do at the box office yet, but it feels right in line with these previous collaborations.
Jaume Collet-Serra has also spent some time with horror, getting his start directing the House of Wax remake in 2005 and the indie horror flick Orphan. He also dipped his toes back in that well, at least with certain elements of the movie, with 2016’s The Shallows. He hopes to return to horror at some point, but in the near future he’s got some very big fish to fry. Namely, directing the big-budget, possible start to a major franchise, The Jungle Cruise for Disney, which stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
That movie is sure to make him a bigger name in Hollywood, but he’s already been up for other big jobs, such as Suicide Squad 2. And, as he teases in this interview, some other high-profile gigs we may never know about. With that, here’s my interview with director of The Commuter, Jaume Collet-Serra.
You make these movies that simply don’t get made anymore. These mid-budget thrillers and it’s great. How did you find yourself doing these sort of movies
Jaume Collet-Serra: It’s thanks to Liam. I think that Liam has a huge fanbase, he’s a huge star and he likes these kinds of movies. And I like them too, and we are able to collaborate and make them and give them some sort of unifying through line. It’s obviously, there’s a lot of people involved, like producers and financiers and people that allow us to continue making these movies, if the audience goes to see them. We’ll see how this one does and, if it does well, then we’ll make another one. It’s always thanks to the people that go watch them. It’s mostly because the audience loves Liam, and Liam is such a great actor and so likable, and such a great action star that people are fans.
This is your fourth collaboration, I believe, with him [Liam Neeson]. This one I feel like, specifically, because there’s so much going on to possibly distract from his performance a little bit. Did working with him so many times before help you be able to get what you needed to get this time around?
Jaume Collet-Serra: Yeah. But it’s not even really about getting stuff, because he’s an endless well. He can do anything. But it’s mostly that we don’t want to repeat ourselves. In other movies that I’ve done with him, he sometimes had a darker past, or a drinking problem, or some big redeeming thing that he had to do. So, in this one, I just wanted him to sort of be more of an everyday man and have a happy family, be a good husband, be a good father, and just make one small mistake, and then from there on, unravel a huge conspiracy. But I wanted him to be more charming, you know? And the fact that it’s his environment. It’s the train that he rides with the people that he already knows. He was able to kind of investigate, or find the clues, not from a power position, like in other movies with a gun or whatever, but from a fellow passenger. And I think that was a different side of Liam that I hadn’t worked, in that capacity. Usually it’s quite different.
I personally, I loved it because I have this affection for these action/thrillers and that’s, like, what I grew up on. This feels very 90s to me in a strange way. Did you have any specific movies that you were looking to channel?
Jaume Collet-Serra: The 90s. That’s me too. No. I think that always, when it comes together, it for me, as a director and a storyteller, I’m just trying to put the essence of the movie on screen and it’s both a mixture between, sort of the simple concept of [Alfred] Hitchcock, or older movies, but with the fun and flare of the 90s or the late 80s. I put those two things together. I think that this sort of medium-sized movie, I think in the 90s we discovered that they could be very satisfying and they could have a very nice structure to them. And they would have a very nice resolution, and everything would kind of develop and then have, you know, not to completely tie it in a nice little bow, but it would be satisfying and I think that that’s what I tried to do. Because I think earlier movies, they had this weird concept and sometimes, I don’t know, the third act was just very flat, you know?
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Via:: Movieweb – Movie News