Renny Harlin on filmmaking

harlinThe Finnish director who filled the directing shoes on the second Die Hard — and fit the shoes quite well, mind you — talks about filmmaking. It’s always a joy for me when I listen to all these commentaries and the commentator is a delightful surprise because of how much insight or illumination is being provided into the craft of filmmaking by the given person. Renny Harlin is a wonderful commentator. I’ve split the commentary into two parts – part 2 of which will be posted later. This one tackles all the pieces of information of it that dealt with the technical and in general, filmmaking advice. The second part is a nice collection of Harlin’s thoughts on action films.

Enjoy, and learn, and if you like it – comment.


ON FILMMAKING



ON ACTION FILMS



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5 thoughts on “Renny Harlin on filmmaking

  1. Pingback: Jan De Bont on filmmaking + Kuleshov effect origins | filmschoolthrucommentaries

  2. These are a great pair of commentaries. I’m actually surprised they lasted as long as they have because their screen specific. Renny Harlin is actually quite articulate about his work. Not shocking per se, but just interesting to note because their are so few directors who either aren’t capable of or willing to share their process.

    He echos a common thread I notice among directors of tent-pole films and that is action is not fun to shoot. I always wondered why filmmakers would share the responsibility of action scenes with second unit directors but after hearing first hand accounts from so many directors, its obvious that making it is a lot less fun than watching it. Gathering all the little pieces that make it work must be a long and painstaking task.

    His thoughts on action movies tropes are hilarious. The entire time I was listening I just kept nodding my head and laughing in recognition. The approach to set-up and payoffs, the location and production design choices are so familiar now but hearing them broken down in such detail alongside the film was amazing.

    It brings up some interesting ideas about how action scenes are organized. One of the best pieces on some of the choices directors have to make is here: http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2011/01/14/planet-hong-kong-the-dragon-dances/

    Also interesting to hear how he collaborated with the screenwriter on the action. I have always been curious about how that process worked, in particular with action films.

    • Your mention of handing off to 2nd unit director reminded me of my surprise during McTiernan’s Predator discussion to find that most of the central palapa infiltration battle was directed by stunt coordinator Craig Baxley. The movie’s editing was so seemless I had assumed John masterminded the whole enchilada. Today the movie’s only real flaw is the ultra-grainy shot of the (Arnold) stuntman towards the end plummeting into the water.

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