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Ilya Naishuller Poster

Biography

Jump to: Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (4)  | Personal Quotes (9)

Mini Bio (1)

Ilya Naishuller is a director and writer, known for Hardcore Henry (2015), Biting Elbows: Bad Motherfucker (2013) and Leaving Berlin.

Trivia (4)

He was born in Moscow but spent the ages of 8 to 14 in London, UK.
His first-person-POV music video Biting Elbows: Bad Motherfucker (2013) attracted approximately 33 million views on YouTube and another 21 million on Vimeo. The reactions were enthusiastic, for example director Darren Aronofsky wrote a Tweet, calling it "So well done" and Samuel L. Jackson wrote "This is some Buck Wild shit!". Timur Bekmambetov contacted Ilya Naishuller through Facebook and offered to produce a feature film in the same style.
Speaks English and Russian fluently.
Was asked to create the opening of The Brothers Grimsby (2016) in his trademark POV style, but had to decline because he was already working on Hardcore Henry (2015).

Personal Quotes (9)

[on Hardcore Henry (2015)] The balance is that you do everything you can practically and then you help it with CG. You don't do everything with CG and help it practically. I love practical stuff and I love all the prosthetics and things with real, physical weight. I love designing that stuff. Actually, I don't design it. I talk about it with my designer and he does his concepts. There are about 1,800 CG shots in the movie, which is a huge number. But it's all augmentations. There's practical blood, but we added a little more so it's more visible. There is wirework, so we had to hide all the wires. But the stunt man really is jumping from that bicycle at fucking high speeds and [landing] on the top of a van and he needs the wires and there's the shadow of the wires that we have to take out. There were 70 shots where you see [a lighting rig] and that had to be taken out. That was time consuming and obviously not too cheap. [2016]
[on Hardcore Henry (2015)] The first thing I want to mention is that this was always, first and foremost, a film. I love video games. We weren't making a video game. This is a film that was directed with the intent that people who love movies and go to the movies will go see it and be blown away. If they happen to be gamers, that's an extra click for them. [2016]
[on Biting Elbows: Bad Motherfucker (2013)] There was a lot of inspiration from video games, obviously from first-person shooters. The idea [with the music video] was to capture that excitement and keep it going non-stop for 4 or 5 minutes. [2014]
[on Hardcore Henry (2015)] I had the music video first and Timur Bekmambetov, the producer, wrote to me the next day after it came online. he Facebooked me and said let's get on Skype. We Skyped. He said let's do a feature. I said that's a terrible idea, I don't think it works at 90 minutes. I was just as hesitant then as people who hear about it for the first time are now. He probably asked me the most important question I've ever been asked in my life. Wouldn't you want to go see a great action POV film in the cinema. And I said, I actually would. And he said, then you should go make it. And I was like: Ah, a once in a lifetime opportunity! I better grab it and run. (...) Timur actually pitched me my own film. It was his idea to expand the music video. I said if you give me final cut, I'll do it. He said furthermore, "I'll let you do the film anyway. Just do what you think is right. I know there's a film in there somewhere. Go figure it out." He was helpful. I could have called him at any time. He never visited the set. People actually asked me if Timur was really working on the film. And I was like, yeah. I talk with him, I send him stuff, we go back and forth and have great discussions. He gave me fantastic advice, but he never once said "You have to do this." I don't think this film could have been made if I didn't have complete freedom. I had the budget and I knew what I could and couldn't do. There were discussions. I had help. But there were never any strict rules, which is a punk rock way to make a movie. I don't think I'll ever have the luxury again, but in this particular scenario, I don't think it could have happened any other way. [2016]
[on Hardcore Henry (2015)] There are no simple films. You could have two guys talking in a room and that's a very complicated film to make. Just because films are complicated. But with this, everyone had to re-learn their craft a little bit. The stunt guys can't put the camera where they want to hide the punch. You have to work around that issue! Every film is a bunch of problem-solving, non-stop. But with this, we just didn't have as many tools as usual to solve them. Which was great. It's a creative cage that makes you think. Once you're thinking outside the box inside that creative cage, beautiful things happen. But it was a complete pain in the ass! But you get a shot that's good and you know that no one has ever done that shot before...the feeling of happiness that fills you up inside at the end of each day. We gathered the crew at the end of the day and we'd sit down for five minutes and just watch. People got excited. I'd bring guys from craft services up and we'd just watch. I'd see their reactions and know that we were getting something very special. Usually, the people on film sets want the movie to be good and they're working hard, but there was this electricity in the air. People were like "This is special." [2016]
Before Biting Elbows: Bad Motherfucker (2013), we were working for about 2 years on a very calm psychological spy thriller set during the Cold War. When Timur [producer Timur Bekmambetov] offered me the chance to do this [Hardcore Henry (2015)], I had to think it over a lot. I didn't think my first film would be a crazy action movie, but it turned out to be and I'm very glad that it did. [2014]
If Hardcore Henry (2015) does well then people are gonna be more open to it [POV feature films]. And if it makes money, I guess people will jump on that bandwagon. And someone will make a piece of shit, and someone might make something great, and I honestly wish them the best of luck because I'd love to go to a theatre and see how they handle the same problems that I had to handle. [2016]
[on Hardcore Henry (2015)] It was never the idea to make a film for video gamers. I purposely avoided a lot of the tropes that one would expect from a videogame film. Someone suggested we could have a health bar on screen, but I was like, 'People are gonna know the filmmakers like videogames, you don't need to give them a heads up.' The fact that it looks like a videogame is because the most time we see this perspective is in video games. [2016]
[on Hardcore Henry (2015)] Hopefully none of us are going around picking up weapons and stabbing people. But if we were to do that, that's what it looks like. [2016]

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