“It’s an ancient Greek tragedy dressed as an action movie.”

Checking his sights….

So states director Timur Bekmambetov, above, of his actioner, Wanted, opening today, in an interesting interview with the Canadian web site MoviesOnline. The film stars Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, and Common as a team of super assassins.

Wanted is being hailed by those who’ve seen it, or even those, like me, who’ve only seen its trailers or commercials, for its high style and eye-popping visuals. The MoviesOnline interviewer compares Bekmambetov’s work to that of John Woo and The Matrix.

MoviesOnline: Were you a fan of The Matrix?

TIMUR BEKMAMBETOV: The first Matrix. Yes.

MoviesOnline: Would you mind if this was compared to it?

TIMUR BEKMAMBETOV: It’s another type of food. It’s a different meal. It’s not the same. There’s no sense of humor in The Matrix at all. It’s very serious. It’s interesting. It’s totally inhuman. We are very funny.

The interview includes some basic information of how certain effects were achieved—the type of stuff I tend to avoid in advance of seeing a movie—but no spoilers, and also explains Bekmambetov’s thinking on how he chose actors.

MoviesOnline: Can you talk about casting James McAvoy? It’s unusual casting, did you see him in a movie where you thought he could be an assassin?

TIMUR BEKMAMBETOV: Yes. First of all it was very important to find an actor who’d be very unpredictable for this role, because to create his journey, to create this arc from the ordinary man to the dangerous super-assassin and warrior fighter, it was important to have somebody who would be unpredictable. And the second element was the actor has to feel the tone of the comic book. What was unique for me is its irony and its smartness. This comic book had a very unique tone. It’s a little bit smarter than other comic books, except the great character in Iron Man, he’s a great character, and it’s kind of the same direction. What’s happening in comic books now is the hero is becoming more dramatic, more real. James grew up in the same city as Mark Millar, the writer who created this comic book. He’s from Glasgow. I found that they have the same sensibility and that was very important because I was trying to protect the original source, to make it as close as possible to the original character, even if it’s visually different and it looks different, and there are different scenes, but tonally it’s the same.

This being the third post I’ve written on Wanted, it’s probably pretty clear I’m excited about seeing the movie.

What do you think? What do you think of Bekmambetov’s qualification of his film as “an ancient Greek tragedy dressed as an action movie”? Let me know your impressions of the trailers, commercials, or, after you’ve seen it, the movie, itself.


1 comment so far ↓

#1 Ray Winbush on 06.30.08 at 4:50 pm

I saw “Wanted” and was mesmerized. 20 minutes into the film, I realized that it would be a film I viewed at least 3 times on the big screen and would buy the DVD.

There’s so much to stay about the film, and it *is* a modern Greek tragedy. The film is *so* well-layered and like the First Matrix, it will be discussed for years to come…can’t wait for the sequel…

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