It’s safe to say, we’ve completely fallen for her…

There’s a place for complicated, cerebral, abstract, arthouse concepts in cinema. There’s also a place for handing former stuntman David Leitch (Bullet Train, Deadpool 2) a ton of cash and saying “do some Jason Bourne stuff”. The Fall Guy, out in cinemas across the UAE now, is a movie (based on a 1980s TV series) that is firmly of the latter designation, starring the dream Hollywood pairing of Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt. It’s about a stuntman (Gosling, and presumably vicariously Leitch – see, action can have art too) who’s tasked with diving into the criminal underworld to track down the movie star he’s been taking falls for. There’s a little romance in there, some comedy, a dog (obviously), and a whole lotta Wick-esque violent schtick.


We were lucky enough to catch up with Emily Blunt ahead of the UAE premiere, here’s how it went.

What’s On: You choose your projects carefully. What appealed to you about The Fall Guy?

Emily Blunt: When this project came to me, it came with the names of David Leitch and Ryan Gosling, so I knew that I would be signing onto the promise of something completely rare, exciting and stylistic, yet grounded. I just love David’s movies; I love the flare and the madness of them. And I’m such a huge fan of Gosling! Also, the idea of it being a love letter to movies and to these stunt men who risk their lives and limbs for us actors—literally taking the fall for us—was so appealing. Plus when I signed on, the part of Jody Moreno was still being written and developed, and so they brought me completely into the creative fold and I got to build my character with them, which was really amazing.

How would you explain this story in a nutshell?

The story in a nutshell is that you have this stunt man named Colt Seavers, played by Ryan Gosling, who is just getting over an almost career-ending accident that he had on a film set. So, the last thing he wants is to be pulled back onto another set to reinvigorate his career as a stuntman; but the appeal of it is that his former love, Jody, is the director of this movie. So, he goes in with the desire to win her back, but ultimately becomes an unwilling bounty hunter as he’s pulled into a conspiracy that could ultimately napalm Jody’s entire film. And so, he gets in a tangled web trying to win her back.

What is Jody Moreno, your character, like?

Jody is really warm and inviting, but also eccentric and a bit of a mess, like all of us. The film she is working on is her directorial debut, which is this ridiculous extravagant sci-fi western called Metal Storm, and she’s kind of in way over her head. Jody has huge talent, but she’s under an exorbitant amount of pressure to deliver on this film and sort of hanging on by a thread. So, the last thing she needs is this ex-boyfriend showing up to unravel everything she’s built and turn her whole world upside down, but ultimately their feelings for each other and the chemistry they have are going to override any desire to try to keep things professional.

What do you like the most about her?

Well, I think what I love about her is that she is not this sort of severe director. She is someone super creative who used to work below the line as a camera operator and is passionate about making movies. Now she’s working above the line and desperately wants to succeed. I guess I like playing people who are in over their heads, struggling to get themselves above water.

How do you compare her directorial style to David Leitch’s?

As a director, Jody is brave, daring and visual. She loves the aliveness of what she’s doing and she’s unafraid of taking big swings, very similar to David, but I feel Dave’s more together than Jody.

What is Jody and Colt’s past story?

Jody and Colt met on a previous film they both worked on, where they had this very fast love-struck fling. I think they thought it could be lasting, but while on the movie he got into a pretty devastating accident, and then he ghosted her and disappeared—which I think threw her off because all she wanted was to be there for him, help him heal and be a support system. However, he operates on the typical kind of thumbs-up stunt guy stuff and chose to survive this accident with that mentality rather than with the love of his life.

Can you talk about the orchestration of their journey back together?

Colt thinks that Jody is the one who’s called him back to set and needs him to finish this movie, but that’s not true. It was all finagled by the producer, Gail, who really wants to enlist his help to track down their missing movie star and knows that she kind of has him over a barrel because he’s desperate to win Jody’s love back. So, when he arrives, Colt thinks he’s going to be welcomed with open arms, but in fact he’s sort of the last person she wants to see.

Was it fun to explore the world of making action movies from the inside?

Yes, there was so much to explore from all our own experiences in this industry. You have these very accelerated friendships with people on a film set, and you are sort of in a secret club with these jokes and quips that we got to inject into this project—there’s a reality and grounded feeling to it all. Here we show the juxtaposition of the spectacle and the reality of making movies, which is beautiful. It’s absurd and wonderful at the same time. And there is another layer of tension that comes with action films, like setting up these stunts for hours to then drop someone off a building.

How does a filmmaker like David Leitch deal with those sequences?

I would watch David, who would be on edge doing these death-defying stunts. Some of them were completely extraordinary and he wanted to do them all practically, as The Fall Guy is his love letter to stunts and stunt performers who risk everything and set out passionately to do this job that makes audiences feel what they do. I think CGI is used too much nowadays, and for David to have made this a love letter to the old-school way of making movies and doing stunts was just beautiful.

You mentioned that one of the main appeals to do The Fall Guy was to work with Ryan Gosling. What can you say about him?

I just don’t know who else could play the role of Colt Seavers. And I feel that term is used a lot with certain actors, but I truly don’t know anyone who can be as captivating, funny, smart and quick-witted as Ryan, while also capturing the physicality of that role. He’s so alive, grounded, and loose. And he becomes a hero, but the most sort of unwilling hero. That’s what makes him all the more lovable because he’s so vulnerable and such a mess, but yet this expert, brilliant stunt man. I think all of Ryan’s exquisite qualities got to blend into this perfect role for him.

Leitch has admitted that he was so entranced by the chemistry and banter you both had on set that he would sometimes forget to call “cut”.

Yes, there was a lot of banter, and I love that Dave didn’t want to call “cut” on it, as we rarely stuck to the script. I feel like every day we would improv and stretch everything around. Ryan, especially, was constantly on the search for something funnier and more exciting. That’s what’s wonderful about working with him, as he’s so alive and spontaneous. I love working like that, and especially when you’re trying to create a love story and something that people can see themselves in. Our characters are a bit of a mess, trying to figure out their feelings for each other in an incredibly real yet hopefully charismatic way.

We haven’t seen a movie like this in some time…

I think romance in movies has been left in the dust, and it’s sad because I grew up watching those incredible action romantic comedies. So, The Fall Guy is 100 per cent a love letter and a throwback to those films that are so nostalgic for me. I believe romance is still alive and kicking in everyone’s desires and hearts, so if you can capture it on the big screen and make people laugh, then I’m in!

Watching The Fall Guy on the big screen just enhances all those qualities, right?

I think it would be criminal not to go see this in a movie theater, as it was made with so much passion and love for the cinematic experience. So, go find the biggest screen you can to watch it, because then you’ll see all the layers, all the work and all the love that went into The Fall Guy. It’s got something in it for everybody: romance, humor, action, intrigue… There are so many elements for it to have a far reach on a big audience.

And how was it to watch Ryan do those stunts?

It was definitely nerve-racking watching Ryan do a lot of the stunts because he was so game, just totally up for it and capable. I think actors feel really safe doing stunts for David Leitch because they know he has the most impeccable team. He has the pros of all pros, so you know you’re safe and there’s nothing more reassuring than Dave going, “I promise you’ll be okay.” You believe him, but on other action films I’ve done in the past you don’t always believe that you’ll be okay.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays another fun character.

Yes, he plays a movie star who’s an absolute nightmare. He’s one of those nightmare actors that we’ve all been around. I feel so bad for directors when they have to deal with them, and I’ve witnessed it at times in my career. So, Aaron plays this awful actor to work with who is all superficiality, selfishness and ego, and he’s also clearly unhinged. I definitely enjoyed my scenes with him where I’m trying to reign him in and I’m seeing how impossible he is. Aaron is so wonderful to work with because he would throw everything at you, and you didn’t really know what he was going to do as that character, which certainly kept me on my director toes. It was very fun and bonkers working with him.

And what did Hannah Waddingham bring to the role of Gail, the producer of this sci-fi western your character is directing?

Gail is a producer who’s got her eye on the prize and will stop at nothing to get the movie made. She’s ruthless, somewhat remorseless, super clever, Machiavellian, and the puppeteer of this whole shenanigan. We don’t know whether we should trust her, or really who she is, and Hannah played that role with such gleeful relish. It was just wonderful watching her blow the doors off the place as this rather awful producer.

Who does Winston Duke play?

Winston plays Dan Tucker, the stunt coordinator. Winston is such an incredible actor, and he’s got such presence and gravitas to him. You feel safe with Dan, and you love him and can rely on him. But Dan is being asked to perform the most extraordinary stunt sequences, and as Jody is a bit of a whirlwind of creative ideas, he’s up against it and at the same time is being pulled by Colt, who’s his friend and has a job to do as well. Everyone’s just trying to do their day job amidst all this chaos!

And behind it all is an extraordinary filmmaker. What do you believe makes David Leitch such a unique director?

What I love about Dave Leitch’s movies is that they have a completely unique tone, and that tone captures everything from the absurd to the grounded. They are also stunningly stylistic to look at! He knows exactly how to move that camera around in order to capture something emotional and rare, and he’s completely open-minded. David is an amazing collaborator—probably the most collaborative person I’ve ever worked with—with him the best idea wins and I think that’s what gives his movies this grounded reality.

You can book tickets to see The Fall Guy, in cinemas across the UAE now.

Images: Provided