French director Camille Delamarre is no stranger to the action genre. Having directed films such as Brick Mansion and The Transporter Refueled, Delamarre has a solid sense of why this genre is so popular. His latest, indie actioner, Assassin Club, stars Henry Golding (Snake Eyes), Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), Noomi Rapace (Prometheus), and Daniela Melchior (The Suicide Squad) and employs a number of effective tricks to immerse audiences in its fight sequences.
We caught up with Delamarre ahead of Assassin Club‘s home video release, talking everything from Henry Golding and Noomi Rapace to the key to creating great action…
STARBURST: Could you tell us a little bit about Assassin Club?
Camille Delamarre: The movie is about a hitman who wants to take his retreat for a woman, but he has to accept just a last job, a last mission, just about to kill six other assassins all over the world. He is, of course, also just a target. So he has no choice if he wants to stay alive and to go away, to take this last mission.
You have a really good cast for this movie. What was it like working with them? Had you worked with them before? Did anything surprise you?
No, I met all of them for the first time on this movie. Noomi Rapace was attached from the beginning of the movie, so I met her in London and just what a great actress! We were on the same page about her character. So it was great to work with her because she’s professional. She’s very intense on screen. With Henry, of course, the goal was to find someone who is not only a generic action hero with just a muscle guy without any charisma and sensibility. Sam Neill -he’s just a legend. To work with Sam was, for me, a dream. His voice! His charisma! He has something, just in front of the camera, like crazy for a director. It was just so cool to work with him.
And Daniela – it was, of course, some years ago before what she’s doing now. And now, she’s a movie star! But when I met her for the first time, she was a very great European actress. And for me, it was really important for her to fit with Henry because they are a couple in the movie. We organized a meeting altogether, and just it was like, ‘okay, let’s make this film together!’ It’s the perfect casting for that.
Did Henry do his own stunts for the movie? Or did you have somebody come in for him to do some?
Henry and Noomi gave me an easy life as a director because they were with me for all the stunt scenes and fighting for real. All the stunt doubles were on the chairs, and the main cast was in front of the camera! It gave me a lot of liberty to shoot them and to avoid having them only for some closeups and just shooting the fight from the back. They gave me a lot from the beginning to the end of the shoot. They were with me and ready!
It’s impressive when great actors are also great stunt people. It’s such a different skill set that interacts with acting so beautifully if they do it right. The stunt work in the movie is really good. You have Henry leaping out of windows as the building explodes and stuff. It’s epic action. What would you say are some of the challenges that are specific to directing action?
For me, it’s just an area where I feel very confident – action is my passion! The most difficult thing was the time and the money we had on this movie. It’s an independent action movie, not a big studio film with a huge budget. When you have only one day, it’s a real challenge to just finish the day, to get everything, to make a good scene. So, of course, working with some actors and actresses who are with you to play the action scenes for real saves a lot of time.
Toward the end, when the action gets bigger, and the stakes get higher, one of the things we noticed about some of the camera work was a POV shot. It was like a first-person shot and a break in the normal way action is shot.
The goal was to be very immersive and to be inside the action with the characters. And just like a rollercoaster, you have also this sensation of movement, speed, and danger. So yeah, the point of view is important to create this sensation of the feeling of a rollercoaster!
Are there going to be more of these? It definitely ends on a note where it’s like, “Oh, they could keep going with this.”
Yeah, we have all in mind that we all hope just to be all together again for the next chapter, for sure.
Assassin Club is now available digitally in the US and on June 13th in the UK. It will be released on DVD/Blu-ray in the US on June 6th.