Bus passes and guns at the ready… Mark Pilkington meets up with Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta Jones – the latest additions to the high octane action comedy sequel RED 2.
Released back in 2010, and based upon the DC graphic novel of the same name, the original RED (‘Retired and Extremely Dangerous’) was a diverse mixture of action and comedy, with added wrinkles. With box office numbers meeting the approval of the men in suits, having made nearly $200 million worldwide, it was only natural that a sequel was rushed into production. This time around there are a number of new additions to the cast, most notably two of Wales’ finest; Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago).
Mark Pilkington met up with the two new additions to the franchise to find out that maybe getting old isn’t so bad after all…
You’ve sure been clocking up the air miles making RED 2, filming in Montreal, Paris and London. How many different time zones..? (laughs) It’s been a road trip! It feels like it’s been a busman’s holiday. The locations have been fabulous, and for me coming home to the UK to work is always a treat, as I get to visit family I never normally have the chance to see.
So what is your character like? I play Katja, a member of Russian counter intelligence. There’s a bit of a cliché about the Russian spy walking about in high boots, and she is so much fun to play. They call her Frank’s (Bruce Willis’ character) kryptonite. I think that kind of sums it up really. When she arrives you know there’s going to be trouble. There’s an old love story that happened a long time ago that gets ignited again, which doesn’t exactly go down very well with the other members of the team.
How did you find acting as a Russian? Was it difficult perfecting the accent? Yes, the hardest thing for me in the whole movie was when I had to speak Russian. I learnt it, then I went to sleep, and when I woke up the next morning it was like my brain was blank. So as you can imagine, there are lots of outtakes of me swearing.
Did you have a dialect coach to help you along the way? I did, but the only problem was they gave me my lines two days before I had to do it. In the original script it just said ‘She speaks in Russian’, so I didn’t find out until the last minute what I had to say. I got through it though, but please don’t ask me to say anything… as soon as I learnt it, it went. I can’t remember any of it now.
This isn’t the first time you’ve worked with Bruce Willis, of course… Well this is actually my third outing with Bruce. He played himself in Oceans Twelve, and I had one scene that we were in together. Then I did Lay the Favorite with him in which I played his wife. It’s great to work with him as I feel I know him so well. The process is very easy, but he’s an easy-going actor anyway. He turns up, he knows his lines and he just gets the job done.
He does seem like a lot of fun to be around. Yeah, but when you think about the cast, this whole cast is terrific. I never get to work with Helen, that’s the only downside. Of course I’ve worked with Tony Hopkins before in Zorro, and to work with him again is great because we’re like old buddies. He came to my wedding, we’re that close.
How would you sum up your experience of working on RED 2? It’s just been a blast. If you’re going to go around the world shooting a movie, you’d better be with a good team of people. Not just the actors, the crew have been terrific as well. The script is a lot of fun, and of course there is a lot of comedy in it, of course there is a lot of action in it. But there are many poignant moments as well, so just playing with all those different elements is fun. But there really is a fine line, as if you push the comedy too much then the action doesn’t work, and if you are too melodramatic then the comedy doesn’t work.