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Director Simon West Talks The Mechanic

Simon West tells us what went in to hiring Ben Foster and re-writes on the film The Mechanic
It's been a long time since 1972's The Mechanic starring Charles Bronson and Jan-Micheal Vincent. Simon West the director of this years remake, recently sat down at a press junket with Latino Review to discuss the thought process behind remaking a classic.

Here is a brief synopsis of The Mechanic courtesy of IMDB...

Assassin Arthur Bishop has a strict code and unique ability for taking out his targets. When his mentor Harry (Donald Sutherland) is murdered he wants those responsible to be murdered. His mission gets complicated when Harry's son Steve (Ben Foster) has the same vengeful goal. Steve becomes determined to learn Arthur's trade and a new mentorship is born. While in pursuit to get revenge deceptions threaten to surface and those hired to fix the job become problems themselves.

From Latino review...

How was it pairing Jason and Ben together?

With Ben we looked at a lot more obvious actors because the original had a pretty boy heartthrob type. We saw all those boys and it seemed bland, like we where watching a b-movie. Luckily we got through all those and in the end they where like well who do you really want? I said well Ben Foster never thinking they would say yes cause he's much more of a character actor and much more interesting. I don't know if they where worn down by the length of time it was taking to get an actor and they said yes. To me it's the perfect thing. Like Con-Air, which is a very bubble gum action with comedy. In those days it wasn't common to put indie actors in action movies and it's just more fun and it elevates it. It helped everyone, it helped the film and it helped Jason. Jason is obviously the character and the movie but he need someone to bounce off that's worthy.

Why re-write something people really like?

Producers have been trying to re-write this for 15 years with drafts going off in all these weird tangents in the end I think they just got frustrated and in the end they just sent it to me. When they sent it to me, they sent the original Carlino draft written on a typewriter with cut and past with a scissors and scotch tape it was a little antique, 40 years old. By that time I read it and I already seen the movie cause I didn't see the movie growing up, it wasn't like everyone in America whose seen it. So I watched the movie then I read the script and there's a lot more detail in the script that ended up in the movie cause they changed actor at the last minute from Cliff Robertson to Charles Bronson. The movie was much more streamlined then the script. The movie is also dated in terms of 70's stuff and action and structure. The basic story is Shakespearean, it's a guy who has to kill his only friend in the world and his mentor. Then out of guilt takes on his son as an apprentice and then has to kill the apprentice and when will the apprentice find out? So the structure was perfect and great it just needed modernizing. So we took the original script and the original structure and then Richard (screen writer) re-wrote every single word with in that to modernize it. We had to reinvent the hits and the audience is much more sophisticated and they've also seen a million hit man movies. So instead of putting a hat on a hat and another layer of paint on it we actually went back the other way. Being a hit man is dirty and we want to do it realistically. You go in, you get dirty, it takes a long time to kill a person, and it's not pleasant.

In the end of the film when Ben Foster's character reads that paper he laughs and we laugh with him. (Spoiler Alert)

Funny cause that wasn't in the film that was an out take. If you watch it closely the background is completely different, it's in the garage. The car never really started, you would go take one, and the car would make a noise and wouldn't start. In one of the takes (Ben) jammed the gears and just laughed about it. Then when I was editing I thought that was a great moment because originally he stops and looks down at the note and he just looked up and blew up and it wasn't quite enough. So I sifted though the footage and found the take where he messed up and laughs and I put that in there and it was golden. If you watch it, it's completely different background it's not even from the same scene.

The Mechanic starring Jason Statham, Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland is due in theaters in 2011.

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Latino Review

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