Yesterday FilmDistrict released the trailer for the first of two upcoming White-House-under-siege movies, Olympus Has Fallen, which will have Gerard Butler kicking terrorist butt come March 22. The movie centers on the journey of disgraced secret service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) as he finds himself the only free man locked inside the White House after its violent takeover at the hands of terrorists, with a mission to save The President (Aaron Eckhart) at any cost.
If director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) has anything to say about it, the action thriller will leave Washington D.C. questioning just how possible Fuqua’s action sequences in the White House really are.
“We want to scare the s**t out of Washington D.C.,” Fuqua told us at a private first look at the film last week in Hollywood. Joined by Rick Jones, the technical consultant on the film and a retired Secret Service officer who served under the Bush Sr. administration, Fuqua is adamant about bringing a realistic, action- packed thriller to audiences.
Jones was brought on to serve as the film’s technical consultant in order to gauge how realistic the script was in comparison to Secret Service drill scenarios and protocol. In other words, he’s been around the block and knows the difference between what would make higher-ups in Washington either laugh out loud or tremble with fear. “The Secret Service prepares for everything,” Jones said emphatically, “and I can tell you that, while this has yet to happen in our capital, we are prepared for it. The action sequences Antoine filmed are scarily realistic.”
Following the trailer, Fuqua showed three different clips from the film that looked pretty realistic despite some unfinished special effects. In the first scene we witness the driving force behind Banning’s quest for redemption when we see him make an impossible decision involving The President and First Lady, establishing the beginning of Banning’s hero’s journey.
Fuqua really pulled out the guns (no pun intended) with the second scene he showed: a riveting sequence of Washington D.C. and the White House under attack that left my palms sweaty and heart racing. This scene alone was so intense that I’m itching to see it again once the special effects are complete. With the White House firmly in the hands of the terrorists, Fuqua showed us one last clip: Speaker Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), having been appointed acting president of the United States while the president and vice president are being held hostage, realizing that there is one last hope left inside the White House: Mike Banning.
“I wanted to emphasize the art of deception with this film. If someone is going to hit us, it’s going to be when we’re not on guard,” Fuqua said, adding that the reason why he chose July 5 as the date on which his movie takes place is that we’re oftentimes less on guard the night after a big party. “Stay on guard. Stay awake. Stay alert,” Jones added. “Thus far in film, no one has portrayed the Secret Service as accurately as Antoine.”
Fuqua also explained the casting of Gerard Butler as his male action lead. “I wanted a big, masculine man to be believable in this role. For me, Gerry is that guy.”