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Following Olympus Has Fallen (2013) and London Has Fallen (2016), Angel Has Fallen delivers plenty of the hard-hitting action characteristic of the franchise. Applause and cheers rang throughout the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood at the film’s premiere on Tuesday following the conclusion of several elaborate action sequences that saw the characters whiz across a lake on boats and chase fugitive trucks in the dead of night.
“Morgan Freeman is special. I had to run that guy all over the place, upstairs, downstairs, throw him in a room, in cars. And then in that pool, I basically had to dive up, grab him, pull him under and hold him under for a while,” Gerard Butler shared on the red carpet at the premiere. Reflecting on the amount of action he found himself in, Morgan Freeman, who turned 82 earlier this year, said to The Hollywood Reporter, “At my age, I break easily.”
U.S.-Russia relations, elections and fake news form part of the pic’s narrative — alongside drone warfare and artificial intelligence, for which the filmmaking team conducted heavy research. “We tried to take modern-day stuff that are hot-topic buttons [and] infuse them into the movie,” shared director Ric Roman Waugh, who joined the production after a call from Butler.
In this latest installment in the film franchise, Butler reprises a more mellow, emotional version of Mike Banning, a top Secret Service agent who has a wife and baby at home. “We wanted to find a way to take it in a different direction,” shared the actor, “so it became a much more personal movie, involving family, involving a man who is actually struggling with everything he has been through.”
Tapping into his 15-odd years of experience working as a stuntman before becoming a director, Waugh sought a more personal side to the action: “I wanted to have the audience experience what I experienced as a stuntman. What was the adrenaline rush? What felt scary? What was the point of view and the thrill?” The helmer brought a similar philosophy to the cast’s performances, helping them cultivate a better understanding of their characters’ psyches. For Jada Pinkett Smith, who plays a leading FBI agent in the film, Waugh set her up with FBI agents and military men and women to speak with and better understand her role.
In almost every interview on the red carpet, castmembers raved about the team that the film brought together. “Having the opportunity to work with Gerry, director Ric, we just had such a great time on the set,” Smith told THR. Others referred to Freeman as an “icon” and “idol.” Lance Reddick, who plays a Secret Service agent, shared, “It’s one thing to be a fan of [Freeman’s] work, to experience his power as an audience. It’s another thing to be in the room and work across him. I don’t know how to describe it.”
Seeing the whole cast on the red carpet and recalling a reunion at the film’s press junket a few days ago, producer Alan Siegel said, “I get teary-eyed when I see all of them together.” He added, “As long as the people love Mike Banning and love how we make these movies, we’re going to be doing more.”
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