Driving Getaway to some unusual action
There are three main characters in the new film Getaway, opening Friday (August 30).
There’s an ex–race car driver named Brent Magna, whose wife is suddenly taken; there’s a mysterious figure credited only as the Voice, who orchestrates the kidnapping in order to force Magna to drive all over Sofia, Bulgaria, doing illegal tasks for his benefit; and there’s a wiseass young woman who accidentally gets involved in the mess.
Ethan Hawke and Jon Voight were natural-enough choices for the roles of Magna and the Voice, respectively, but it’s the casting of Selena Gomez as the feisty female lead that’s turning heads. Director Courtney Solomon suggested the singer-actor after receiving a list of candidates from a casting agency who were all too old for the part.
“I asked them, ‘Do you guys represent Selena Gomez?’ ” Solomon tells the Straight in a call from Toronto. “And they said, ‘Yeah.’ And I said, ‘She, for some reason, just seems like the right person to me.’ And I met her and what she said about the part made all the sense in the world to me. So I thought she could really pull this off and have a really interesting dynamic drawing off of Ethan. So I called up Ethan and said, ‘What do you think of this?’ And he said, ‘Well that’s gonna be an interesting pairing.’ And I was like, ‘No shit.’ ”
Solomon himself was an interesting choice to helm the caper. He’s better known as a producer, having directed only two films prior to this one, the last being 2005’s An American Haunting. He was already signed on to produce Getaway, when he read the script and just couldn’t resist a spot in the director’s chair.
“Directing is my first love,” he says. “After I did American Haunting, I got out of it for a bit because we made a deal with Lionsgate and I had to fill the contractual obligations of that deal, which was a certain number of years to run the company and produce movies. So I wasn’t really allowed to direct. And then I read the script and I said, ‘You know, I’d like to actually direct this film, it’s kind of cool.’ ”
Getaway has a feel similar to Joel Schumacher’s claustrophobic 2003 thriller Phone Booth. Almost all of the movie takes place in a car—yet it also covers an entire city, bringing with it some interesting differences from the traditional action film. It’s something that Solomon wanted to exploit.
“We did things that you don’t conventionally see in a movie,” he says. “Like play full dialogue sequences in the middle of an action scene. Usually, you start and you stop, you start and you stop. But my idea for this thing was, when we start, we just keep on going until it’s over, just to keep up the intensity. Between the sound and the way that we shot it, I really wanted it to be an intense experience. Almost like when you go into a movie, you’re going on a ride.”