In 2021, One Shot blasted into action followers’ hearts, making full use of Scott Adkins’ diverse talent set. It’s a high-octane tactical action movie with a enjoyable gimmick: The entire movie is designed to appear like one steady take.
The newly launched sequel, One More Shot, now accessible all over the place you lease or buy films digitally, is a extra assured, polished effort than the unique, including a compelling and acquainted action-movie setting (an airport), extra action legends (Tom Berenger and Michael Jai White), and a string of thrilling battle sequences that benefit from the placement, the self-esteem, and the expertise.
One More Shot additionally reunites director James Nunn with Adkins and battle choreographer Tim Man, who’ve every labored with Nunn 4 occasions. However this movie is Nunn and Adkins’ most achieved collaboration but. Polygon spoke with Nunn concerning the difficulties of taking pictures an action movie in a single take, following within the wake of Sam Mendes’ Oscar winner 1917, hiding the cuts, what he discovered from the primary movie, and his hopes for the way forward for the collection.
This interview has been flippantly edited for size and readability.
Polygon: As somebody who’s filmed extra standard action films, like Eliminators, what do you suppose is completely different for the viewers when a movie is portrayed as one steady take?
James Nunn: Nicely, it’s humorous, as a result of it began as an train in How can I push one thing? How can I be completely different? How can I be distinctive? How can I exploit Scott’s uncooked, wonderful capacity to one of the best? And the way can I exploit my technical knowhow? So it truly began as extra of an experiment in simply proving to individuals, I’m actually good technically, he’s actually good bodily and on digicam — merge them abilities, make a movie. That was the place the preliminary pitch got here from. However as time went on, and as we began filming it, truthfully, I’ve type of fallen in love with doing it this fashion. You notice that you simply’re pushing this immersion on your viewers.
All films have a ticking clock. That’s the premise of quite a lot of tales: You’re going from A to B, or A to Z, however it’s not concerning the letters, it’s concerning the journey between. There’s all the time a ticking-clock narrative, particularly in action films. Whether or not it’s a bomb going off or saving your beloved as a result of she’s about to fall into acid, there’s all the time a timer. And I feel what occurs once you don’t manipulate time with cuts is, you’re truly forcing individuals to, virtually on a unconscious stage, simply really feel that timer a bit extra, really feel the urgency, and be a bit extra current in it.
Now look, quite a lot of issues include the type, as a result of you may’t movie Scott as one of the best martial artist on this planet, essentially, as a result of you may’t do the angles that actually showcase what he can do. Equally, he can’t be like, spinning round doing wonderful butterfly pirouette kicks, as a result of it could simply be of a unique world. So the format comes with restrictions. And we all know what we’re doing. We attempt to maintain again on the flashiness and go for, like, this grounded CQC [close-quarters combat] navy vibe, which inserts very well. I feel the elongated take of it, whether or not you prefer it or not, you’re simply being sucked in.
Sure actors will actually rise to the event and be one of the best you’ve ever seen, as a result of they’re like, I don’t need to be the one on this 10-minute take who messes it up. So that they swap on to this stage of authenticity and focus, and you’ll really feel that as nicely. However then equally, should you’ve bought a barely weaker efficiency, it’s tougher to disguise away from that.
I’ve fallen in love with it. I received’t do it perpetually. I’ll return to regular, standard moviemaking quickly, I’m certain. However I’m having quite a lot of enjoyable. And I’m so happy with the reception that we’ve had.
What did you study from One Shot that you simply utilized to One More Shot? The movie feels extra assured — did it really feel that method to you whereas taking pictures?
For certain, we did. And I say “we” as a result of I’ve bought a really strong core crew who I like working with, and so they’re all on the identical prepare with me. I feel the primary movie, though I used to be assured… Look, I attempted to preserve it a little bit of a secret within the first one, however everyone knows there’s hidden cuts within the movie. Don’t get me flawed, I’ll run a take so long as I can. There’s three causes to break: security, geography, or actor availability, in case you have to shoot out of sequence. These are actually the explanations I reduce. If not, I’ll go for so long as I can inside that timeframe. So that you’re actually taking a look at, like, eight- to 10-minute takes.
On the primary movie, I knew we might do it, however we hadn’t performed it, in that we hadn’t truly hidden cuts earlier than. So I put quite a lot of the main target within the first movie on ensuring that we might disguise the cuts. The distinction with the second movie was that weight had been lifted. We’d performed it. I knew we might do it. I knew how to do it. I knew how to get myself out of a bind, even when one thing wasn’t working on the day and I wanted to get out of it. As a result of we’d tried and examined it earlier than.
In order that weight had been lifted off my shoulders. So it’s like, OK, nicely, now I’ve truly bought the time to suppose a bit extra about being extra elaborate with the digicam. And in addition, we had a tiny bit more cash on this one. So we might do stuff like hand the digicam out of the automotive and throw the digicam down a stairwell on a rig and know it could be OK. We had been in a position to be slightly bit extra tricksy.
How did you handle filming at London Stansted Airport?
That was essentially the most troublesome a part of this complete course of, filming within the working setting of an worldwide airport. We knew we wished to go larger. The fan response to the primary one was overwhelmingly optimistic, and way more than we’d anticipated. Clearly once you set out on these ventures you consider within the movie — you’ve to, in any other case you wouldn’t do it. However I actually wished it to land. And it didn’t essentially get the large push I hoped for, due to COVID on the time, however it did sufficient to actually discover an viewers.
We listened to the suggestions of the followers. Not essentially the large paper evaluations, however the followers. And we tried to reply to that on this movie and provides them extra fights, give them extra hand-to-hand, give them extra plot, but additionally make it not really feel as low-budget of a location, which was one thing we ran into rather a lot within the feedback.
So as soon as we came upon we got the fortunate alternative to go down the highway for quantity two, we embarked on what we’re going to do, and we had been like, We’re by no means gonna get an airport. We’re simply imagining we’re gonna get, like, some personal little runway. It’s gonna be rubber, it’s gonna really feel low-budget anyway. So the producer, Ben Jacques, was tasked with Are you able to get an airport? And as if by some form of miracle, the fourth-largest airport in England, Stansted Airport, confirmed an curiosity. They had been like, Oh, we love the sound of this. Yeah, come on down. And so we did.
So we went down and we appeared, and we thought it’d be good. After which we wrote the script round it. However that is the place it turned tough. The primary movie, we had a derelict location, which we might movie for 11 hours a day, no questions requested, easy-peasy. However going to Stansted got here with an enormous quantity of restrictions, the identical restrictions you face as a traveler flying internationally. You’re going through the metallic detector, you’re going through the screening factor. Getting 100 crew in with weapons, with knives, with pretend explosives takes an hour off your day simply.
Equally, you’ve bought vacationers working round ready to catch their flights and stuff. Within the U.Ok., you may’t fly between midnight and 4 a.m. They mainly shut it down so that individuals can sleep. And that was once we shot the movie. So we’d get within the airport at like 7 or 8 at night time, do some rehearsals, have a little bit of meals. After which we actually began kicking off between midnight and 4. It was a tough cease at 4, as a result of the planes had been coming in, or individuals getting on planes.
One explicit night time, we had been within the baggage declare space, and we had a protracted take and an hour to go. And we’ve had months and months of conferences about this. However , there’s all the time one man who’s by no means on the conferences who reveals up and is like, Oh, you’ve bought to wrap in 20 minutes. We managed to get two takes that had been 9 minutes every. The second’s within the movie.
Everybody is aware of the structure of an airport, so it turns into rather a lot simpler for the viewers to floor themselves in the place issues are, what access-restricted places appear like, that type of stuff. But it surely allows you to work together extra with the setting when it comes to the action. What else did the airport location add to the movie?
It’s type of like how I really feel about 1917. One factor we confronted popping out after 1917, regardless that [One Shot] had initially been written earlier than 1917, was that individuals struggled slightly bit with the backstory. There wasn’t an enormous quantity of backstory being instructed. And the issue with doing issues in actual time as a one-shot factor is, you may’t cease in the course of a battle and begin calling your mother or your spouse, as a result of the viewers is aware of what you’re doing. You’re crowbarring in a backstory, however it simply begins to really feel hokey and never actual.
And the benefit that 1917 had over us is that the nation and the world’s collective understanding of a soldier in World Struggle I — all people’s studied it in class. You instantly have some concept or backstory information of that soldier. So it’s not essentially that 1917 even has extra backstory than we do. However what makes a distinction is that there’s this unwritten understanding of World Struggle I that you simply simply perceive. It’s in your unconscious, usually talking, as a Western viewers.
And that’s the identical, in all probability, with the airport. Not all people’s seen a Guantanamo-style base [the setting of One Shot] outdoors of a movie. Whereas all people is aware of an airport. And I feel that’s the place [One More Shot] heightens as nicely, is that we’ve gone to someplace that you simply all type of perceive: Oh, there’s gonna be an escalator, there’s gonna be this, there’s gonna be that. So I feel to harp on your level, I agree with you completely. And then you definitely simply begin having fun with the fruits of what yow will discover, you’re strolling round and also you design the [fall] going over the rails, or combating on the metro.
By the way in which, that’s my favourite battle within the movie.
Me too. We don’t reduce throughout the fights. That’s a part of the rationale that Scott loves doing it as nicely, is that we actually make him do it for 2, three minutes. And what I like concerning the metro battle is due to the entire foreground, poles, beams, and glass, it’s truly unimaginable to have even put a reduce in there. So that’s simply two bodily wonderful on-screen fighters [Adkins and Aaron Toney] actually going for it. And I’m privileged that they did that for us on a transferring prepare at about 30 miles per hour.
What strikes me as one of many hardest storytelling challenges of the format are the transition sequences. How did you method getting from scene to scene inside this construction?
[That’s where] the benefit of going to the placement [came in]. Having a 10-page define, discovering the placement, then writing the script across the location, after which doing set visits . And in addition it being a [real] location, not being one thing we had been constructing that individuals had to try to perceive.
As a result of there’s quite a lot of One Shot that’s truly a set. Like, we use the outside terrain, however truly all of the interiors are usually fudged collectively in a fitness center on the placement. And that was a lot simpler for [screenwriter] Jamie [Russell] to write these passages of time. After which I had a few actor associates come down about three months earlier than we shot the movie, and on a GoPro, we walked each scene only for script timings.
You need to do one other considered one of these? One Final Shot, maybe?
Yeah, I do need to do one other one. I’ve bought no spoilers for you. There’s no inexperienced mild but. I’m gonna attempt my finest and knock on each door to hopefully get us there. However there’s no information, apart from the title. And it looks as if the web has discovered the title itself.
I imply, you set us up for it.
[Laughs] Me and the producers have talked about it prior to now, however it’s form of organically been like this little little bit of a curler coaster on-line, which is enjoyable and thrilling. So I desperately would love to try this movie, however we’re not there but. Let’s see.
One More Shot is out there for digital rental or buy on Amazon, Apple TV, and Vudu.