Nearly everybody the notoriously lethal hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) has ever met across the globe want him dead – but that’s only if Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), the vigilant bodyguard recruited to protect him at all costs, doesn’t shoot him out of sheer infuriation first. The hair-triggering rivalry and potential joining of forces between a high-flying, Triple-A rated hired gun and a protection specialist results in an outrageous, fast-paced action comedy that twists and twines the hitman thriller, the bodyguard romance and the odd-couple buddy comedy into one irreverently fun ride. Featuring a hilarious “bromance” between blockbuster stars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, creatively choreographed fight scenes and exhilarating high-speed chases HITMAN’S BODYGUARD offers a non-stop mashup of laughs and outrageous action.
INTERPOOL IN NEED
The wild chase begins when Interpol strikes a risky deal with a newly captured Kincaid: if he agrees to be a star witness against the bloodthirsty Belarusian tyrant Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) in the International Criminal Court, they’ll free Kincaid’s cherished, and not-to-be-trifled with, wife Sonia (Salma Hayek) from jail. There’s just one problem: Interpol has only 24 hours to transport Kincaid from the North of England to The Hague – knowing full well that cutthroats and assassins will be lying in wait to hit the hitman the entire way to Holland.
THE GIRLFRIEND IN NEED
Things go wrong right off the bat, as Interpol Agent Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung) leads the prison convoy transporting Kincaid into an ambush. Determined to get an unrattled Kincaid to his destination, she calls on the only guy she knows who can protect the unprotectable: her bitter, burnt-out ex-boyfriend and former hotshot bodyguard, Michael Bryce. Once Bryce was at the top of the executive protection game, but after a job gone sour he’s lost his edge. He has everything to prove, but zero desire to prove it with Kincaid. The two are not strangers. In fact, after a long career dodging Kincaid’s bullets, the hitman’s life is the last one on earth Bryce has any inclination of saving, let alone risking his own for such a scoundrel.
RYAN REYNOLDS & SAMUEL L. JACKSON
As the highly skeptical hitman and his completely unenthusiastic bodyguard embark on a race against henchman coming at them from every angle, they unwittingly forge their own hilarious, awkward bond. They may not trust the other any further than their trigger fingers can aim, but their volatile mix of aggravation and admiration might just fuel them to band together long enough to reach the Hague, rekindle a romance, save Sonia and at long last restore the triple-A rating of The Hitman’s Bodyguard.
Says Ryan Reynolds: “I love the bond between Bryce and Kincaid. These two guys couldn’t be more polarized but as we move through the story they start to acquire begrudging love and respect for each other. There’s a bromance and several love stories all wrapped up in this incredible, crazy action story.”
Adds Samuel L. Jackson: “Ryan and I go on a crazy fun jaunt through the roads of Europe – and it’s full of chaos and humor between two characters who have a very unusual chemistry.”
THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD SUPPORTING CAST
Surrounding Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson in THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD is an especially crack cast including Oscar® nominees Gary Oldman (Best Actor, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, 2011) and Salma Hayek (Best Actress, Frida, 2002), and rising French star Elodie Yung.
Funny as the story of THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD is, it also feature a serious baddie, as Oldman sinks his teeth into another epic villain, the ruthless Dukhovich, who has evaded global calls for his downfall. “I had a lot of fun with this role,” confesses Oldman. “The script had a fantastic marriage of action and dialogue and Ryan Reynolds and Samuel Jackson are a great double act.” Despite no prior knowledge of Russian, Oldman was required to speak it expertly in the film. “I probably could have learned Hamlet measure for measure in the time that I’ve spent on my lines” he laughs. Nevertheless, working with a Russian coach daily, Oldman did just that.
Adds Patrick Hughes: “The minute Gary arrived on set, I knew we had a movie because he brought something terrifying for Ryan and Sam to unite around.”
Like Oldman, Salma Hayek had a blast going fully to town as Sonia, whose massive passion and personality cannot possibly be contained even in her jail cell. “Sonia is a fantastic character,” says Hayek of what drew her to the unconventional role. “Her marriage is a little bit unusual because she’s married to a hitman but she’s really, really tough. If anyone can handle Darius it’s definitely Sonia. With Sonia, you just never know what’s going to come out of that mouth and that’s what makes her so memorable. I have to say I just love her – yes, she’s cuckoo and unpredictable but that is exciting to play.”
As for what keeps Kincaid and Sonia together through ups and downs the life-threatening likes of which most couples will never face, Hayek says the bottom line is the same: “It’s love. They have the most amazing, passionate, crazy, mad relationship that is full of fire in every way. The best part for me is that notorious as Kincaid is you definitely get the idea Sonia is his match, and he knows it.”
Working with Samuel L. Jackson was a delight for Hayek. “He is a legend and I was so very excited to finally work with him. It’s been so easy and fabulous to be his wife, even if she’s his crazy wife, you can see why they are meant for each other.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge for Hayek was Sonia’s epic bar fight, which convinces Kincaid she’s the one for him. “I was sore for a week after we shot that,” she admits. “But I’m so happy that at 49 I am still kicking ass and able to do all my stunts.”
Hughes adored how completely Hayek threw herself into the role. “Salma is electrifying as Sonia. From the start, I could see that Salma and Sam were going to be an exciting pair. You might think that since he’s this crazy hitman Salma would want to contrast that, but instead the fun is that she actually makes Sam’s character look downright easygoing. They’re two extremes who have fallen in love, but the way Salma plays it, you also realize their love is genuine.”
For Elodie Yung, who plays Bryce’s ex, part of the fun was getting to break up what might otherwise be purely a boy’s club between Kincaid and Bryce. “I thought it would be great to be the girl in this boy’s world,” she muses. “I found the script very funny to begin with, and once I was on set and began to improvise with Ryan and Sam it got even better. I was laughing all the time and I know people are going to have a great time watching these guys. They really love what they do and it’s infectious.”
“Ryan brings his natural humor to this,” she observes. “But whether he’s the Bryce who is at the top of his career or the Bryce who has become kind of a loser, he manages to make him feel real.”
Yung has her own major fight sequence in THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD and loved training for it. “I’m an Interpol agent, so Amelia has to be efficient. In this kind of role, you get dirty and bruised but it’s part of the fun!”
ROAD TRIP – THE LOCATIONS
As THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD careens in near-constant motion from England to The Hague, erupting into outlandish chases by car, motorbike and boat, the production spanned iconic European locations. The breathless road trip nature of the film gave director Patrick Hughes what he calls “an incredibly textured canvas to work with.” In conjunction with cinematographer Jules O’Laughlin, production designer Russell De Rozario and Oscar®-nominated editor Jake Roberts (Best Film Editing, Hell or High Water, 2016), Hughes set out to capture the raw energy of live-wire performances set against an array of exhilarating stunts.
Much of the filming was shot in Bulgaria, which offered the production a wide span of landscapes able to double for the UK and Europe. Says Les Weldon, “With the resources available in Bulgaria, we were able to transform sets more quickly than almost anywhere else in the world. We had so many complex action sequences and the technical crews in Bulgaria were phenomenal in pulling them off.”
More filming took place in and around the iconic Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, one of the globe’s most breathtaking art and history museums, housed in a lavish 19th Century Gothic building. It is here that Kincaid leaves flowers so that Sonia can see them from her prison cell window. The art department even constructed a nearby flower stall where Kincaid stops to purchase the pink tulips. In Amsterdam’s adjacent Museum Square, the production shot the scene in which Bryce drowns his sorrows in an open-air bar, whilst Kincaid fights off mercenaries, mixing furious action with a photogenic setting.
A favorite scene for production designer De Rozario is the bar fight that sparks the romance for Kincaid and Sonia, for which he created the fictional Cucaracha Bar from scratch. “It’s a fantastic scene with Salma and Sam, and we built this amazing place out of neon signs and old American cars and it turned out quite painterly. When they shot it with all the stunts, it looked spectacular,” he muses.
De Rozario filled his sets with all manner of quirky details, ranging from a colossal Caravaggio reproduction for the office of Richard E Grant’s dodgy businessman, to latex mannequins for the Amsterdam sex dungeon, to a sickly green wallpaper for the safehouse where Bryce takes Kincaid, echoing Oscar Wilde’s deathbed retort, “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has to go.” The funky van of nuns in which Bryce and Kincaid unexpectedly find refuge was another fun design for De Rozario – and as the cherry on top, De Rozario himself took the role of driving the van.
While chaos prevails on the trip, and the design reflects some of the madcap places Bryce and Kincaid wind up, De Rozario notes the entire production had to be designed like clockwork to come off without a hitch. “Designing this film was kind of like designing a 3-dimensional jigsaw puzzle,” he summarizes.
ELODIE YUNG (AMELIA ROUSSEL)
Elodie Yung can next be seen in the Netflix series The Defenders, playing superhero Elektra Natchios alongside Finn Jones, Mike Colter, Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter and Sigourney Weaver. The series will be released on August 18th.
Yung most recently starred as the female lead in Lionsgate’s 2016 film Gods Of Egypt, directed by Alex Proyas. An adventure fantasy film, it followed the story of a common thief who joins a mythical god on a quest through Egypt. Elodie starred as ‘Hathor,’ alongside Gerard Butler as ‘Set’ and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as ‘Bek.’
She also starred in the second season of the Netflix series Daredevil, playing Elektra Natchios, that premiered in 2016. Daredevil, created by Drew Goddard, is an Emmy nominated Action/Crime Drama starring Rosario Dawson, Charlie Cox and Deborah Ann Wool.
After first earning a law degree in France where she was born and raised, Yung realized that she wanted to follow her lifelong passion of acting instead, which lead her to enroll and later graduate from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.
She immediately booked work out of school, first as a recurring character in the serial drama La Vie Devant Nous and then in the very well regarded drama Fragile(s), which premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
FROM FRANCE TO HOLLYWOOD
Those experiences led to what would be her breakout roles in France. First, she booked the role of ‘Laura Maurier’ in the French series Les Bleus, and then she booked the female lead in District 13 Ultimatum, the follow up to the hit Pierre Morel film (District 13) and an international hit itself. It was in this film that she was able to also feature her extensive martial arts skills, something that had been a passion since she was a child.
It was those jobs that led to Elodie getting attention in the US, ultimately booking her David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in the role of ‘Miriam Wu’. She followed that up by booking the lead role of ‘Jinx’ in GI Joe 2: Retaliation opposite Dwayne Johnson and directed by Jon Chu.
Yung resides in Los Angeles.
Probably, The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Killer’s Bodyguard), presents the highest body count ever. Although both are completely different, in each minute the two good guys kill some of the bad ones more or less. However, everything happens in a funny way. The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Killer’s Bodyguard) is a true action comedy. Therefore, a lack of logic is acceptable. Those, who expect a serious crime story, could be disappointed. But, those, who are looking for true entertainment, presented by brilliant actors, will enjoy the film. It’s not the best of this year, but, nevertheless, it’s a worth seeing comedy.
Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, and Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung, Joaquim De Almeida, Kirsty Mitchell, with Richard E. Grant