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The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker

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Kathryn Bigelow's latest male-centric action film is a real life situation: The Hurt Locker shows the daily life of a bomb tech in Iraq, disarming IEDs with increasingly devious contraptions like daisy chains and human bomb vests.

The director behind Near Dark, Point Break and K-19 shows us the daily grind of this deadly job.Crave Online: I found it comforting to know somebody knows how to handle these contraptions, even with all the cowboy shi*t he does.

Does that reaction surprise you?Kathryn Bigelow: Well, I think that's very interesting and I think it's a very apt analysis.

It is comforting to know that there are individuals who are so well versed in this particular technology that they can, in the heat of the moment under unimaginable tension and pressure, make the right decisions about how to disarm this particular ordinance.

I think it's pretty astounding.Crave Online: I can understand why the other people in his unit might not like it.Kathryn Bigelow: Well, because there's a point where you're thinking what's more threatening, the bomb or the team leader? On the other hand, what I think is so skillful about the script and the conceit of the characters, here's a guy who definitely has a kind of reckless demeanor, but that recklessness and that bravado and that swagger is attached to a really profound skill set.

So as much as you're maybe surprised by his demeanor, you're kind of in awe of his ability.Crave Online: And if it works, who's to say how he should do it?Kathryn Bigelow: Exactly.

Like Mark [Boal] used to the say when he was writing the script, maybe the guy you want to have drinks with and have dinner with is not necessarily the guy you want to have disarm the bomb.

He may not be as good.Crave Online: Was Hurt Locker a hard sell on any actors because of the conditions?Kathryn Bigelow: Not really.

I think this is why you become a filmmaker, become an actor, become a first AD.

I think it's an opportunity.

Forget all the creature comforts.

Forget all the politics and the hierarchy.

You're shooting a movie about the middle east, you go to the middle east.

There's a very simple immediacy about it.

You're not rebuilding it in New Mexico.

You're there.

Crave Online: Were there any devious contraptions you heard about that you couldn't fit in the movie? Kathryn Bigelow: Material that's classified?Crave Online: No, just that didn't fit or was too much for the film.Kathryn Bigelow: No, that's probably about as heinous as you can imagine, the darkest of the human psyche at work, I would certainly hazard to say.Crave Online: How do you achieve suspense in a real, deadly world?Kathryn Bigelow: Well, I think that is the real strength of the material is that it kind of can operate as a kind of surprising, substantive look at a day in the life of a bomb tech, but at the same time, a day in the life of a bomb tech is inherently incredibly dramatic, intense and suspenseful because of what we know of its potentiality, what can happen.

So you're bringing that to bear upon every moment you spend with these guys.

And the fact that there's no margin for error, you cannot make a mistake.

You can't.

You simply can't.

You either are right or you're tragically wrong.

There's no kind of, "Well, he's kind of almost right." I think that degree of precision creates a very, very, very tense background in which to make a film.

So that's why I do think it's kind of unique and unusual in that it can be both very entertaining but also kind of riveting and substantial at the same time.

Crave Online: Is this job made for cinema because there is this procedure that gives you scene structure? Kathryn Bigelow: That's interesting.

Just the protocol of disarmament is a narrative.

That's very interesting.

Yeah, it seems kind of tailor made for film but it certainly unfolds that way.

It has a beginning, middle and end, you're absolutely right.

I supposed I did [think of that] in the preps in a less literal way.

For instance, when they're counting off the distances, "I'm 100 meters, I'm 50 meters, I'm 25 meters," there is a kind of association with each of those counts.

At about 50 meters, you're thinking, according to Mark speaking to the guys in the field, you're thinking about your family and you're kind of making peace with everything that can potentially happen.

Then you get to 25 meters and you can't think about anything.

You're at the point of no return.

Nobody can save you now, not even that suit if it's a particular size ordinance.

That only works on a certain size and not another size.

That's a whole other layer that is there.

So it is a real narrative.

You're kind of counting down to the epicenter so to speak.Crave Online: What is it about your process that makes you take several years between films?Kathryn Bigelow: Well, I wish it didn't.

It really has to do with the fact that I develop from scratch.

You don't inherit something and then go shoot it.

I sort of really feel the need for whatever reason to kind of be able to manipulate the DNA or be really familiar with the DNA of any particular piece in order to direct it.

Maybe it's because I come from the art world and I can't imagine working on a piece of art that's sort of half done, then you come in and take over.

You kind of have to build it out of whole cloth or work with somebody and together build it out of whole cloth.
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