Di­rec­tor Scott Waugh was adamant about duly hon­our­ing the car flicks of yes­ter­day for the high-oc­tane Need for Speed

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES - PETER MITCHELL

There’s a scene in the new ac­tion film Need for Speed in which Aaron Paul is driv­ing a $2.8 mil­lion Swedish Koenigsegg hy­per­car 130km/h on a bridge.

He pulls the hand­brake and the car slides.

When au­di­ences watch the scene, they will no­tice it is cap­tured in one unedited shot.

You see Paul’s an­guished face be­hind the wheel and the Koenigsegg, which has a top speed of 440km/h, slid­ing side­ways for the cam­era.

It stops right on the mark – just cen­time­tres away from the cam­era.

Paul, di­rec­tor Scott Waugh and stunt co-or­di­na­tor Lance Gil­bert wanted Need for Speed to pay homage to the great 1960s and ’70s car films – Bul­litt, Grand Prix, French Con­nec­tion and Van­ish­ing Point – star­ring the likes of Steve McQueen, Gene Hackman and James Garner.

The stars did their own driv­ing stunts and there was no com­puter-gen­er­ated ac­tion.

“It was all real, and the ac­tors drove,” Waugh says.

“In French Con­nec­tion, you watch Gene Hackman, in one shot, drive through cop cars, slide around the cor­ner, slide into the wall, jump out of the car and run by the cam­era.

“The au­di­ence is like, you’re like, ‘That’s Gene Hackman!’.”

For Idaho-raised Paul, who plays blue-col­lar me­chanic Tobey Mar­shall, who em­barks on a high-speed race from New York to Cal­i­for­nia, the film was a new chal­lenge.

He liked cars, but it wasn’t un­til he re­ceived reg­u­lar work on the TV se­ries Big Love in 2007 and then shot to star­dom in 2008, when he was cast as drug ad­dict and meth cook Jesse Pinkman in Break­ing Bad, that he was able to say good­bye to his 1982 Toy­ota Corolla.

“When I had my first con­ver­sa­tion with Scott, he said, ‘If you want to do this movie, great, but I want to do a throw­back to the films that re­ally started this genre, like Bul­litt and Van­ish­ing Point’,” Paul says.

When Paul signed on to the film, which is in­spired by the hit Need for Speed video games, he spent al­most ev­ery minute of spare time at the Wil­low Springs In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor­sports Park out­side of LA per­form­ing stunts and driv­ing at high speeds.

On the first day of Paul’s train­ing, a ner­vous Waugh, who was a stunt man or co- or­di­na­tor of Spi­der-Man, Water­world, Speed and other Hol­ly­wood ac­tion films be­fore turn­ing to di­rect­ing, went out to the race­way.

He was re­lieved about what he saw.

“Within four hours Aaron is al­ready drift­ing cars, do­ing re­verse 180s, all this stuff, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is gonna be blast’,” Waugh says.

Waugh ad­mits he shut his eyes as the Koenigsegg slid to­wards him for that bridge scene, so he didn’t know ini­tially if he cap­tured the risky shot that could have cost him his life.

Sud­denly his cin­e­matog­ra­pher, who was watch­ing on mon­i­tors in a van nearby, jumped out.

“I was like, ‘Did I get it?’,’’ Waugh re­calls.

“He’s like ‘Oh, my God, that was great’.”

opens to­day.

Scott Mes­cudi and Aaron Paul

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