"The family dynamic is so much fun, you've got a disapproving father, a crazy, clinically insane mother and a man-child..." - Director Patrick Hughes talks The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
When action-comedy, The Hitman's Bodyguard, was released in 2017, it had a lot going for it.
Led by Ryan Reynolds, who was still basking in the glow of Deadpool's near $800 million at the box office, with support from Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek, the film combined a tongue-in-cheek tone with explosive action, action honed by director Patrick Hughes, fresh from blowing just about everything up on Expendables 3.
The film followed Reynolds' Michael Bryce, the world's top bodyguard, who is unhappy to be given a new client, Jackson's Darius Kincaid, a hitman who must testify at the International Criminal Court.
The pair are long-standing enemies, but it is Bryce's job to keep Kincaid alive and kicking...
The film was a success at the box office, taking almost $180 million, and a sequel was ordered. This time, we're dealing with The Hitman's Bodyguard Wife, Sonia Kincaid, played by Salma Hayek, who spent most of the first film incarcerated.
For the sequel, Reynolds, Jackson and Hayek return, with Frank Grillo, Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas join the cast.
In the new movie, we watch as Bryce, who is in therapy and on a period of sabbatical where he is not allowed to use firearms or lethal weapons of any kind, is forced into action by Sonia Kincaid.
Unfortunately, the trio gets in over their heads in a global plot and soon find that they are all that stands between Europe and a vengeful and powerful madman...
The Hitman's Bodyguard Wife hits cinemas on Friday (June 18th). Patrick Hughes is back in the director's chair and he told us all about making this explosive sequel...
At what point did your mind turn to the idea of a sequel? Was it before the first film came out or was it really only after the success of the original?
"It was during the edit. I was cutting the film in Soho and I had months to sit with these characters. The edit is always gruelling and is usually than the film itself, and, during that time, I began to wonder what would happen to these characters and what the fallout would be from what Michael Bryce had been through. To me, the only logical thing to do was to go to therapy and to stay as far away as possible from Darius Kincaid."
How long did it take for the story to come together? Was it easy to find where to take Michael and the Kincaids next?
"To me, it felt organic. The idea that Michael's now in therapy was the hook. I went back to what inspired me in the first film and the joy of Darius Kincaid as this strange father figure to Michael Brice, who is so riddled with self-doubt and always after validation. You can't help but look for the family dynamic within that. Salma Hayek spent most of the first film locked up in prison and I really wanted to see her out in the world and adding a maternal dynamic to this weird family. The rule of this franchise is that Ryan's character always has to suffer, that's his role. The family dynamic is so much fun, you've got a disapproving father, a crazy, clinically insane mother and a man-child."
How long did it take for the key cast to all sign on to return? Did they take much persuading?
"It didn't take much at all. They all saw the success of the first one. Ryan and I have become friends and we kept in touch and we watched it blow up in all these markets. The film had only been out for a week when I got a call to ask me to come to Lionsgate and pitch a sequel. I had an outline ready to rock and roll. It all happened quite likely. The challenge was aligning everyone's schedule. It's a bit like a game of Tetris getting all these movie stars together..."
The stunts are plentiful and spectacular, how are those to direct? They look brilliant when realised, but the production must be painstaking…
"Stunts take a lot of work. And it's all in the preparation, months and months of it. If you've got a location you like, you'll probably go and visit it 15 times, so by the time you come to get it done, you're sick of the sight of it. Actors rock up and are wowed by it, but it's just work to you. You've got to manage a lot of moving parts. Action films have big crews and big sets. You spend a lot of time doing pre-visualisation and it's a bit like playing with toy cars. When you're working with helicopters, speedboats and cars, you've got to break everything down into small elements, otherwise, you get lost. That said, getting to blow up a 400-foot wall of fire off the coast of Croatia in front of a bunch of tourists is never not fun. I had to pinch myself that day."
What was the hardest day on set?
"They're all f**king hard! I can't pick one out. Directing movies like this are so gruelling. It takes it out of you physically, emotionally and mentally. Particularly night shoots, those always really take it out of you."
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is in cinemas from Friday (June 18th).