The A-list cast of the new action thriller, Olympus Has Fallen, recently gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills to discuss the film.
On hand were director Antoine Fuqua (AF) and stars Angela Bassett (AB), Aaron Eckhardt (AE), Gerard Butler (GB), Morgan Freeman (MF), Dylan McDermott (DM) and Rick Yune (RY). The film also stars Melissa Leo, Cole Hauser, Radha Mitchell, Robert Forster and Ashley Judd.
Based on how they interacted with each other, it was clear this group had a great time working together.
There was talk about how Yune and Butler threw out choreography for a fight sequence and, instead, just went for it – with each warrior occasionally connecting some blows on the other. There was talk about what President Obama would think of the film and whether, after viewing the film, the Secret Service would up its game. Butler beamed and even played audio from his phone to prove that just the night before an audience full of Marines vigorously applauded the film. There was talk about how good a singer Morgan Freeman is and how he would often sing a little Peggy Lee. There was talk about how each admired the others for their various projects. And, all were proud of the finished product, helmed by Fuqua.
Olympus Has Fallen is about the violent capture of the White House by N. Korean terrorists. The body count for this film is high. Really high. It may even rival the body count of a war movie.
Gerard Butler plays a former Secret Service agent Mike Banning assigned to the POTUS, who is dismissed after a tragic accident. When the White House is captured and the POTUS is taken hostage, Banning jumps into action and takes it upon himself to not only save the POTUS, but also the First Kid, who is hiding somewhere in the White House. Eckhardt plays the President. Freeman plays the Speaker of the House, who becomes acting president after the real president is taken hostage. Melissa Leo plays the Secretary of Defense and Angela Bassett plays Secret Service Director Lynne Jacobs.
This movie goes from 0 to 60 in short order. From there it hits Warp 10 and stays there.
All of the stars of the film were eager to talk about their latest project.
Q: Why did you want to direct this film?
AF: The intention was to entertain you and make a good action thriller. Terrorism is part of our times. Our brain have been wired since 2011.
Q: What’s it like working with this cast?
GERARD BUTLER & AARON ECKHARDT
GB: To be honest, I was jealous when Morgan Freeman arrived. This excitement came over the set. I wish I had been involved in those scenes. Most of the gripping things happened in the Situation Room. It’s fun to go and kick ass as well.
Q: Can you talk about some memorable moments making the film?
AF: As a director, I have several memorable moments. Go on set and see Angela Bassett, Aaron Eckhardt, Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Dylan McDermott and Rick Yune.
Q: While watching the film at a theater, the audience actually claps when you came into the room.
MF: As well they should.
Q: Shooting in New Orleans, that heat can get brutal.
MF: I was raised in Mississippi. That heat and humidity are my bread and butter. I can’t stand cold weather.
Q: Do you study or do research for your roles?
MF: I don’t go for studying – the Speaker of the House. You know who that is.
Q: Talk about working on the film.
DM: One of the reasons I took the role was to play golf with Morgan Freeman.
Q: Talk about what you think President Obama will think while watching the movie.
AF: We’re in good hands. Hopefully our President will watch it and enjoy the movie. We worked with Secret Service. They are the best of the best.
Q: Angela, how have you evolved as a thespian over the years?
AB: Honestly I’ve not thought of that. I hope I continue to be passionate about roles. I want to always bring clarity and honesty to the table.
Q: Did you have access to the layout of the White House?
AF: Nothing about it was easy. We talked to a lot of people who can’t be named. The Secret Service. One person worked for George Bush Sr. Some people worked there. I didn’t know they had passageways. Jimmy Carter’s daughter would always sneak out.
Q: Angela, talk about working with Morgan Freeman.
AB: Incredibly intimidating, magnificent, everything I hoped for. He’s a pretty good singer as well.
Q: Talk about working with Angela and this cast.
MF: I’m still kind of star struck. I’ve seen everyone here do incredible work and I get to dance with them. I walk on the set and see Angela, It’s like, yeah, I’m there. You find a good dance partner – you want to dance.
Q: How do you stay humble?
MF: I don’t live here! I live where people put you in your place.