‘Bullet Train’ Director Reveals Why The Brad Pitt-Aaron Taylor-Johnson Fight Scene Was So Difficult To Film
We haven’t seen Brad Pitt in a lead role in quite a while. High-speed train change that. The last time he headlined a movie was in 2019 Ad Astrareleased in theaters almost three years before High-speed train. Pitt addressed retirement rumors while promoting the film, and a hard to shoot High-speed train fight scene could prove that his retirement remains beyond the horizon.
Director David Leitch is also a stunt coordinator
David Leitch was a stuntman and coordinator for films such as V for Vendetta, tron the legacyand X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He then moved on to directing and his resume includes John Wick, Fast & Furious Gifts: Hobbs & Shawand Deadpool 2 (although he won’t be back for Dead Pool 3).
Leitch knows a thing or two about directing and shooting a fight scene, and High-speed train contains several. He usually shoots and edits a rough cut with the stunt people to get an idea of what it will look like when the actors come in.
He followed this process on High-speed trainbut a moment of inspiration sparked a last-second change that made a fight scene between Pitt and Aaron Taylor-Johnson the toughest to shoot.
Why a ‘Bullet Train’ fight scene was the hardest to shoot
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High-speed train takes place on a high-speed Japanese locomotive, but Leitch shot most of the film in and around Los Angeles, per IMDb. The film’s train was housed in a soundstage at Sony, as he said Collider.
Leitch had a last-minute idea to change the set for a fight scene between Pitt and Taylor-Johnson, but it was a challenge even in the controlled environment of a soundstage. As he told Collider:
“[O]n the fights with Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brad Pitt, it changed the car. … I thought it was more fun to be inside the service car where the dealerships were, where the dealership cart could go in, and we could do this kind of fun gag with the dealership. The problem is that this set was not designed to fly. The walls could not move.
“So logistically, you have a camera operator there, you have a Chinese light ball, and you have sound, and you try to move and fight. And it was hard. It was hard.”
High-speed train director David Leitch on the set of the Brad Pitt-Aaron Taylor-Johnson fight
The constraints of a confined space made filming and directing the dealership car fight scene difficult. It was so hard to shoot, Leitch recalled of the specific challenges months later. The director praised the cast for going along with the drastic last-minute changes and making the scene work. It was perhaps one of the hardest High-speed train scenes to shoot for Leitch, but the results speak for themselves. The fight sequences bring some of the High-speed trainthe best highlights.
Is ‘Bullet Train’ a remake, and what is it?
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Pitt plays Ladybug in High-speed train, a skilled assassin looking to do some quiet work after several messy gigs. But Ladybug’s latest mission puts him on a collision course with several other trained killers – all with connected but conflicting goals – on the world’s fastest train.
The movie is not a remake. It’s based on the novel Maria Beetle by Kōtarō Isaka, originally published in 2010. Both the book and the film are full of violent murders, which makes sense when assassins are involved. The dealership car fight between Pitt and Taylor-Johnson proved difficult to shoot due to the last-minute location change, but there are several more action sequences featuring the five stars.
In addition to Pitt in Ladybug and Taylor-Johnson in Tangerine, High-speed train stars Joey King (Prince), Bryon Tyree Henry (Lemon), Bad Bunny (Wolf), Michael Shannon (White Death) and, in her second film with Pitt in 2022, Sandra Bullock (Maria).
High-speed train hits theaters on August 5.
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