The Fall Guy
Ryan Gosling in 'The Fall Guy' Image Credit: Supplied

'The Fall Guy', starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, is described as an affectionate, action-fuelled ode to stuntmen working in Hollywood.

Those unsung heroes, who often take the fall for the matinee idols, will get a moment to shine in this movie and director David Leitch, who was a stuntman before becoming a filmmaker, realises it more than anyone else.

In an interview, Leitch claims his star-led movie is a fitting tribute to all the stunt performers and the people who make movies great.

‘The Fall Guy’ is out in UAE cinemas on May 2.

Excerpts from an interview with Leitch on his dream project, and why Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt share this incredible chemistry …

How would you describe ‘The Fall Guy’ in a few words?

It can be described as action, romance, comedy, and a love letter to cinema and stunt performers and the people that make movies great. ‘The Fall Guy’ to me is really a love letter to stunt performers and to the blue-collar artisans that make movies: the production designers, the cinematographers, the grips, the electrics, the production assistants, the assistant directors and really just everybody who gives their heart and soul to this business and spends hours on set trying to bring the magic of storytelling to the screen.

So, how personal is this to you?

Well, having been a stunt performer for years, it’s very dear to my heart to bring this film to life because there’s a lot of real-life anecdotes from my journey and my below-the-line crew in there. We accessed a lot of our own experiences for years as crew members. Truth is stranger than fiction in Hollywood, and as a crew you spend so much time together that romances actually happen. You may think that the love story in ‘The Fall Guy’ seems maybe a little bit exaggerated or something you’d only find in movies, but it’s true. You can’t spend so much time with these people and not form intimate relationships, so the comedy, the absurdity, the romance, and the drama are all taken from the real-life making of films. It is a circus in the best way possible, and to make ‘The Fall Guy’ this love letter to my experiences as a stunt performer and below-the-line crew member has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.

The Fall Guy
Ryan Gosling in 'The Fall Guy', out in UAE cinemas on May 2

And how would you explain the look of the movie?

Well, I wanted the aesthetic of this film to have a degree of naturalism. I think that sometimes the movies that Kelly McCormick and I make in collaboration with our artists are slightly heightened worlds. For example, you look at Bullet Train and it’s full of colour, great costume design and amazing photography from Jonathan Sela. Here, Kelly and I went to Jonathan and told him that we wanted to explore naturalism. So, we shot multiple cameras with longer lenses and tried to create this sort of voyeuristic feel that you’re on a set with these people. And because it’s in our DNA to have fun, there are pops of colour and these crazy costumes that come from our collaboration with Sarah Evelyn; but that, again, is not far off from what happens in reality. There are a lot of eccentric characters in this movie business who are full of colour and craziness, which leans into the type of filmmaking I make anyway. You might think it’s a heightened world but it’s actually naturalistic, just through the prism of my cinematic team.

Can you share your interpretation of the term “fall guy” and of what it means here?

The term “fall guy” in the stunt world refers to the guy that takes the hits. It’s the guy that steps in and takes the fall off the horse, off the bike, down the stairs, etc. It was a term that was coined early on in cinema, but I think we took it to another level here, as it also became a metaphor for our guy taking the fall for something he didn’t do and being someone who’s fallen in love so deeply that he’s willing to risk everything.

It’s hard to imagine anyone else but Ryan Gosling as stuntman Colt Seavers. What was it like to collaborate with on The Fall Guy?

Ryan Gosling is such an engaged collaborator, which can maybe intimidate some directors, but for me it meant this constant feed of energy that I thrive on. Kelly and I like to make movies organically, so we have a script that we love, but if we know there’s something better that could happen, we’re going to take it and run with it, and Ryan is constantly on a search for better — that’s the kind of collaborator I want. He was the perfect man for the job.

How did he deal with the action and the physicality of the role?

Ryan has an incredible aptitude for action. I think that as we got more comfortable with each other on set and while the trust between him and the stunt team grew too, we ended up coming up with more stuff that we could do together. This film is sort of the pinnacle of using old-school stunts and an actor who has the ability to blur the line and never break the illusion. There are moments when you don’t believe it’s not Ryan Gosling doing that, but the fact is we used four doubles for him and great stunt performers who are doing amazing things, and he celebrated that. This is a movie about stunt performers and having doubles do incredible things to help bring that character to life, which made total sense to him in the DNA of the story.

And the core of the story is the romance between Colt and Jody Moreno, the director of the film they are shooting, played by Emily Blunt.

I do believe that the romance is probably the most compelling piece of the material, being the relatable human drama of it. We have all the fun, experiential action, and referential stuff in the film; but that’s like the dressing because the meat of this is the heartfelt love between these two characters, with him needing to get it back and come full circle, telling her why he really left. So, Colt needs to show the best version of himself not only as this action hero, but as a fully formed human who can express his feelings to the one he loves — that’s why the love story is compelling and something I think everyone can relate to it.

The Fall Guy
Emily Blunt in 'The Fall Guy', out in UAE cinemas on May 2

The chemistry between Ryan and Emily is extraordinary.

Well, with Ryan and Emily, you have two of the greatest actors of our time. It’s humbling to have them on set together because, first of all, they’re so fun and wonderful human beings and their chemistry is very palpable, especially as they’ve done the homework of understanding what these people are feeling. From the moment I rolled camera, that energy popped up through the lens and we felt it, which is a testament to how good they are at their craft. You work with different actors who have different techniques, but Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt are just very natural and true professionals. When the camera turns on, there’s a laser focus to the person in front of them as they embody these characters and bring them to life, then we are with Jody and Colt. I found it fascinating that I would sometimes forget to call “cut” precisely because I felt like I was watching two other people. That’s something I haven’t experienced as a director before.

Don’t miss it!

‘The Fall Guy’ is out in UAE cinemas on May 2.