Start your engines, the "Need for Speed" trailer is here, and it's filled with chills, spills, tire-screeching awesomeness, Aaron Paul (from "Breaking Bad") speaking in a grizzled, low voice.
The action revenge thriller, based on the popular EA video game, revolves around Tobey (Paul) being framed for a crime he wasn't responsible for, then settling the score brought on by the devious deeds of his former friend-turned-enemy Dino (Dominic Cooper).
In addition to the high octane action presented in the new footage, Yahoo Movies recently spent some time with Paul and director Scott Waugh to find out what makes "Need for Speed" such a unique action movie: practical effects and stunts.
"What's so great about this film is that Scott made it very evident before I attached myself to this that he wanted me to be driving," Paul told us during the visit to Waugh's multipurpose audio visual media company Bandito Brothers. "He wanted all the action sequences to be practical. He didn't want all of this to be done behind a computer after we shot it all. He said, 'You're going to have to be behind the wheel and doing all these crazy races.' I was like, 'That's fantastic. Let me do that.'"
Paul did as much of the driving as he was allowed, and then some. Waugh, who comes from one of Hollywood's most prolific and well-respected stunt performing families, put the "Breaking Bad" star through plenty of training to test and enhance his driving abilities, and was pleasantly surprised by the results.
"When he came out to the track the first day, they put him through a bunch of test driving and reverse 180s and slides," Waugh said of Paul's first day of drive training. "I came out there about halfway through the first day, I really wanted to see how he was doing, and I asked the stunt driver, Lance Gilbert, my coordinator, 'How’s he doing?' and he was like, 'He's really good. If this acting s--- doesn’t work out, he could be a stunt guy.' ... So, he's a true physical phenom. It really almost reaffirmed my viewpoint on him being the next Steve McQueen."
Waugh and his stunt team went through great lengths to make sure audiences feel like they're in the real-life version of the video game, veering away from over-the-top CGI racing sequences and crashes. The scene in the trailer (above) where the car drives up a grassy ramp and flies over several lanes of highway traffic? That is real.
"The grass-hopping [stunt scene] was not me, thank God," Paul said. "That was the most terrifying thing I have ever seen." There were about 27 cameras rolling for that stunt, he recalled, and everyone braced for it. "The stuntmen and women are such a family. Scott's a second generation stuntman. Gilbert is our third-generation stuntman, the stunt coordinator. Anytime before a massive stunt they would gather around and hug each other. They wouldn’t necessarily say goodbye, but they would say, 'See you on the other side.' Because they’re about to do something crazy. You saw the grass-hopping scene. That was speeding down the freeway at god knows what speed, going up this ramp and flying over three or four lanes of traffic. That's all practical. They actually did it. It wasn’t CG. They did it. I was just like, 'Oh my god, Troy. Please be okay.' Seeing that happen, I was like, 'Thank god that isn’t me.'"
Waugh hopes that after seeing the stunt sequences in "Need for Speed" audiences will be even more savvy about seeing through the CGI that has seemingly seeped into all of mainstream movies.
"I just think subconsciously the audiences know the difference. I think you'll see this movie and realize all the other stuff you’ve been watching is fake, because inherently you'll say, this is real," Waugh said. "I always giggle, and this is probably just me because of my film background, you'll notice that the actor's car is always just a little bit higher than the rest of the cars around them, because it's on a process trailer, so its a foot and a half off and I was like, "No man, the wheels need to be on the tarmac," and I just feel like, there's a rule I have here in my company, that you can’t break physics, because if you break physics, it hurts the story because then the characters don't apply to the physics either. So, if a car can jump off a bridge 100 feet up and land on the ground and keep going, then my characters can get shot and their head blown off and they can keep going too, because it just doesn’t apply," he said. "I wanted to make sure that everything in this movie is authentic and real, so we put the cars through things that it would survive, so that the characters’ stakes are real, so you really feel for the revenge story and you really believe in it, because it feels real and it’s not a fantastical world. It’s a very practical world."
Thanks to Waugh's practical approach, his star has a whole new set of skills he plans to keep practicing.
"Once you understand the mechanics of the car in that sort of way, it's amazing the kind of things you can do. It's so much easier than you would think," Paul said with a smile. "Just flying towards a mark and slamming on the emergency brake. Just drifting, sliding around, you can do 360s or reverse 180s. It's actually a lot easier than you would think. I recommend anytime you can get into a rental car, use that emergency brake," he joked. "It's a blast. It's incredible. … I was actually questioning my career, thinking, 'Actually, this is a lot more fun than acting! I’m going to drive around in cars more often.'"
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