Luke Owen chats with Jaume Collet-Serra, director of Non-Stop…
Ahead of its release on DVD and Blu-Ray tomorrow, we sat down to have a chat with Juame Collet-Serra, director of Non-Stop, talking working with Liam Neeson, filming on one location and his hatred of flying.
An air marshal springs into action during a transatlantic flight after receiving a series of text messages that put his fellow passengers at risk unless the airline transfers $150 million into an off-shore account.
What attracted you to the idea of Non-Stop?
Basically I liked the idea and the challenge of doing a movie in one location. I’m a big fan of Hitchcock, Polanski etc and, yeah it was the challenge. Unknown was all over Berlin which was fun, but when I read Non-Stop I thought, I haven’t seen an airplane movie in years and no one has tried something like this before. We’ve done disaster movies, we’ve done terrorists, but not a murder mystery. Plus, I don’t like flying!
What were the challenges of shooting in one location?
One of the main challenges is, usually you write the script and then you start shooting. In this case, we were building the plane as we were writing the script. So, while making changes to the script, we were making changes to the set so I could get the shots I wanted. I was back and forth from set because yesterday it was fine but today it isn’t.
You’ve worked with Liam Neeson before on Unknown, what’s he like to work with?
Liam is great. It’s like working with a friend, there’s a lot of trust. We’re both on the same level. It’s like a dancing partner, we know each other and we have a good time doing it.
He’s really reinvented himself as an action star, why do you think directors look to him for their action movies?
He loves thrillers and these kind of movies. He loves all the choreography and he does all of his own fights himself. He won’t be jumping out of buildings, but he will do all his own fights. People are drawn to that. Plus, he’s such a great actor and you don’t see these kind of actors in these kind of movies. He’s talented and he’s carved this niche for himself.
What was it like working with Julianne Moore?
Julianne was great, she brought a lot of life to the part. We never fully developed Jen [her character] in the script so we needed someone like [Julianne] to bring some reality to it and someone very charming. She brought moments of suspicion even when they weren’t scripted.
Shooting in one location can be tough, how much did you storyboard?
I only storyboarded one section of Non-Stop. I don’t really do storyboards anymore. I have experience and it’s in my head. I shot the movie out of order and it was such a close process – from script to shooting – so that by the time we went to shoot, I knew what shots I needed. I sometimes had a shot list to give to people in case I needed something special like a crane etc. But I don’t really draw anything anymore (laughs).
Would you do a one location movie again?
Yes, but not on an airplane. The one set wasn’t the issue, it was the plane. It was terrible! It felt like you were getting on a plane every day and I wouldn’t recommend it.
What’s your worst aeroplane experience?
(pauses) It would be the smaller planes. The one with like 20 people because you feel everything that happens to the plane. The bigger ones are much easier.
What’s next for you?
A movie called Running All Night with Liam again which is set in New York. We’ve actually finished shooting now so we’re now editing.
Non-Stop is released on DVD and Blu-Ray tomorrow.