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Equilibrium Commentary
Kurt Wimmer

7. Awaking Emotions

Transcription by  g3po

The gun kata. Ok. So, I invented the gun kata in my yard, basically. After I would make sure that my family was out of the house and my neighbors weren't looking over the fence and I would, I developed it in the grass behind my house. And I remember thinking, "Wow, y'know am I crazy?" "Do I actually have the balls to hang a movie on this concept which may not work at all? Which may fail completely and if it fails the movie itself will fail?".

The reason I did, I think, it grew out of frustration and love of, simultaneously, of gunfights on film. Y'know, about ten years ago, or more actually, Hong Kong invented the great idea of having two guns in your hands when you shoot. And Hollywood quickly caught on and soon everyone was holding two guns and blasting away. And then Hollywood came up, sort of, with their own urban variation on that which was to turn the gun sideways when you shooting. And then Hong Kong reabsorbed that, but that simply seemed to be the end of gun fighting for several years. And it was frankly getting pretty damn boring. And I asked myself, "Y'know, in a thousand years, is this really what we're going to be looking at in terms of gunfights?". And, I just wanted to see something new. And, so I invented the gun kata.

I remember when I first showed it to my stunt coordinator Jim Vickers in the hallway in Germany, and I was going down the hall doing this. He was the first person to ever see it, and how silly I felt actually and I don't know what he actually thought when he was watching it. He never said, to his credit, he just embraced it and he flew with it. And I think together, given our limited resources, we actually did a pretty decent job of conveying this cinematic fiction. And it is obviously a cinematic fiction . I tend to think that the thing most suited for film is dance. I would actually love to do a musical one day. This is sort of my version of combining the two and translating them to film.

Originally this scene was supposed to take place on his roof. He was supposed to wake up and be so overcome with emotion that he runs upstairs bursts out onto his roof and sees the sunrise. But, as usual, and I'll be flogging this all throughout this commentary, budget, budget, budget! As usual we didn't have time or the money for several locations were moved. Interestingly enough, I then reasoned, "Okay, well, they wouldn't have the need for clear windows in Libria because you wouldn't need to look out of a window, they were simply there for transmitting light.". So it led to this idea of tearing this skin off the window, which I think actually sort of thematically works better as a substitute for the drama of running up the stairs.

We have the digital cityscapes were created by a company called Digital Firepower and a guy named Charles Darby, a very talented painter.

For the life of me, I don't know why, I didn't have Christian run with greater urgency here but it bugs me every time I see it.

So I love shots like these. But I got to tell you, for those of you who are first time filmmakers, or about to be first time filmmakers, this is what they call the "shoe leather". These are the shots that are the first to go when you're trying to get your 2 hour and 25 minute assembly down to a brisk 90 or 100 minutes. It's interesting if you start paying attention, which you do after you have to loose a few of these scenes and it breaks your heart. To veteran directors, when they have shots like these, there's something going on in frame that is essential to propelling the story forward that makes it so it's not "shoe leather". Keep that in mind, you love 'em, but ultimately, you gotta loose 'em.

Dion and I made the decision to not gel the fluorescents in this which is the sort of decision that freaks out producers and has them on the phone to the lab trying to find out how bad the film actually looks. It turns it a little green, but, I don't think it hurts it at all. In fact it has the effect that we wanted and I think it works quite well.

Critics laughed at this scene and I for the life of me don't know why. I think it's a nice scene. Very difficult to light though because the only place you can put the lights is either behind this crowd of people, or steeply up looking down, which in this case led to these great shadows, these very dramatic shadows on Christian. But, it was a very difficult scene to shoot because you can only do it on Steadicam, and the focus is almost impossible in that kind of lighting, with a Steadicam moving on a set of stairs.

This is the main platform of that subway I was talking about. You can see, if you go back, the lines for the train, train tracks on either side. It's underdressed only because of budget, but the space itself, I think, gave us a good amount of production value considering our modest film.

I always regret not using a more strident sound cue to introduce Taye there. These are the things you tend to obsess about after the fact. Little things that drive you nuts.