Known only as 47, Friend dons the custom-tailored suit of the deadliest assassin who was genetically enhanced since conception bent on breaking the syndicate out to unlock his secrets as the undefeated killing machine the world has ever known. With two mysterious characters in tow, Katia van Dees (Ware) and John Smith (Quinto), 47 is on a race against time to fulfill his mission while he stealthily dispatches an entire phalanx of soldiers and unknown operatives in a series of split-second action sequences before they even realize he’s there.
“They understand action in the best way that I’ve ever seen working on set,” enthuses Friend. “They call it Gun Fu, which is basically kung fu, but with guns in your hands. So as you saw in the trailer, I’m breaking people’s necks with my legs, which I did about 65 times. It’s full on, and they want full contact.”
Action unit directors Chad Stahelski and David M. Leitch, stunt coordinator Jonathan Eusebio and fight coordinator Jon Valera – all from 87-11 Action Design, one of the industry’s premier stunt teams. 87-11 has also overseen the stunts and action for “Jurassic World,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “John Wick.”
Among the company’s fans is Rupert Friend, who notes, “87-11 doesn’t just create arbitrary fighting styles. Each character has a distinctive style.” To that end, Eusebio, Valera and stunt coordinator Chris O’Hara made John Smith a brawler with a big haymaker-punching style. He’s very much a bull-in-a-china shop, while 47 is a far more tactical fighter.
“47 is the opposite – he’s more linear and efficient in his movements,” Eusebio continues. So we trained Rupert in Malaysian Silat and Filipino Kali martial arts ‘empty hands’ styles.”
But Friend made sure he was more than adept at wielding the silver ballers. “I spent weeks with a fantastic lead armaments team that trained me to the point where I could put a bag on my head and take the gun apart, and then put it back together.”
“Hitman: Agent 47” opens August 19 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.
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