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Director Renny Harlin Talks 5 Days of War, Die Hard 2 & Cliffhanger - Plus Trailers

Although he enjoyed his big action Hollywood blockbusters, director Renny Harlin states he truly enjoyed making his relatively low budget film 5 Days of War, which is currently reaching viewers via Blu-ray and DVD.
UK's The Record describes the film as a moving story of the brutal conflict between Georgian forces and the mighty Russian army during the battle over the disputed South Ossetia region in 2008.

Said Harlin, "Movies like this are definitely for my own peace of mind, I need the passion projects and I need to feel like I'm not just part of the assembly line creating mindless entertainment. The big comic book movies are my least favorite movies. Hollywood is making far too many of them just now. I'd be lying if I said that making a big studio movie that gets a lot of attention and can be very successful is not also very tempting, because when you do that you get more power to do these other things. It would be nice to hop between the big ones and smaller movies, that would make me happiest."

"This [5 Days of War] is the most enjoyable film I have ever worked on. We filmed in a lot of places where the people who were acting as extras, didn't have to act because they all remembered exactly what they had lived through themselves. It was chaotic shooting it in the real locations, but it was worth it. We only had 12million dollars, which is not a lot when you're doing a war movie so the whole cast and crew became part of it. Nobody was demanding a top stay in the big hotels with trailers. Sometimes we ended up staying on a train or a farmhouse and it was extremely cold at times. We didn't know where the next meal was coming from but it brought everyone close together."

In the same interview, Harlin says of Die Hard 2: "When we were doing Die Hard 2, Bruce was saying that we should make John McClane more serious and more realistic. I said, 'I don't agree, he is serious but he also needs to be funny and have that dry sense of humor, it's part of the character and the franchise'. We had a disagreement but I said, 'Ok, let's shoot it your way and then my way and see how it works when we put the movie together'. He agreed, and in every scene, the funny one worked better and that's what the audience enjoyed, and that was a good lesson that humor is very important."

Of Cliffhanger, he recalls Sylvester Stallone having difficulty with the opening scene where he has to climb out over a chasm between mountains to rescue a woman who's going to fall to her death. Fear of heights was what was paralyzing the action star.

Reflects Harlin, "So I flew him up to the peak in a helicopter and I went out on the wire myself, dangling away over the edge, 80ft over the ground and started waving to him and saying it was great fun. So he couldn't let the Finnish guy do something he couldn't do so he was like, 'Oh yeah, just put the harness on' and that's how I got him over the fear."

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EdGross
6/26/2011
Daily Record

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