Walker and Wayne Kramer Aren't Running
its big brother in San Diego, WonderCon has begun attracting
attention as a way for studios to get the word out about
upcoming projects. Saturday ended up being as much about
movies as comics, with presentations on films both big (Superman
Returns, Cars) and small (Brick, Running Scared).
day also brought out the stars, and we got the chance to
sit down with two -- writer/director Wayne Kramer, who had
attracted attention with The Cooler a couple of years ago,
and Paul Walker.
me state for the record that in person, Paul Walker is a
very powerful personality. Those penetrating eyes, that
easy smile hiding a hint of danger, and a way of really
working the room all add up to -- yes, this guy could have
been Superman, even with a reputation of being somewhat
wooden onscreen. In person, he's anything but.
by many accounts, his performance in Kramer's newest film,
Running Scared, will change his onscreen reputation. Merging
dark fairy tale elements (without the supernatural) with
a high-octane mob story, the film hinges upon Paul Walker's
character being pushed to the edge and beyond.
and Kramer sat down with a small roundtable of three reporters:
Rebecca Murray of About.com,
Peter Canavese of Grouchoreviews.com
and Mario Anima. I took pictures, because somebody had to.
Special thanks to Rebecca and Peter for their cooperation
and their assistance in getting this piece put together.
Press: Was there ever a point where
you almost got an NC-17?
How did you keep them from doing that?
Kramer: You know, you can negotiate with them and
say, “Look, you’re being too harsh. The film’s
going to be darker than what you’re seeing.”
You know what tends to happen is that you become so cynical
of the MPAA that you over-shoot your movie to some degree.
You kind of like throw your first cut out there and you
kind of see what sticks and what pisses them off.
you know the one thing I can say is that I ended up with
the cut I wanted of the film. It’s an R rated film
and that’s great. On any given day, because they’re
so arbitrary, they could have decided to be NC-17. I think
I just caught them in a good mood, good time of the month
Was there any interference from studios or production companies
to try and cut back on either the violence or the nudity?
Kramer: No, not really. Even when we sold the film
to New Line there was really never an issue about that.
Initially the financing company had some reservations about
the pedophile scene. But I said, “No, this is going
to be a winner,” you know.
Walker: That’s my favorite scene.
Kramer: And you know we stuck by it. But everybody
who bought into this movie knew it was going to be a very
sort of ballsy experience.
In the production notes it says you think this character’s
closer to Paul than anything else he’s played, is
that really a quote from you?
Kramer: (Laughing) Because he’s
a tough MO, you know. I like to say he’s not the laidback
sort of surfer. I mean he is that guy on some level but
he’s not really. He’s a tough guy. I would not
like to be on the wrong side of him in a barroom fight,
think they’re going to stand up to him. It’s
like the Sean Connery as James Bond thing - people always
challenging him. I think if people decide they’re
going to challenge the guy from the Fast and the Furious
or one of these lighter comedies he’s done or something,
I think they’re going to find they’re facing
down Sean Connery.
Walker: You just created a whole bunch more trouble
for me (laughing). Press:
How do you feel about that? Is this character
closer to you than anything you’ve played?
Walker: Yeah, I think it’s probably the closest
thing to me, to be honest with you. I mean the opposite
is what, East Coast/West Coast thing. But I think attitude
and that sort of thing, I think, you know, there’s
no way I would have gone at it if I didn’t feel like
there’s a lot of me in it. There’s definitely
more of me in it than not.
on the outside what people see and what I present, especially
when I’m doing press, but what they’ve seen
in movies they’ve seen the friendly like nice guy,
which I like to think that I am. But I definitely have a
dark side. I think everybody does.