Gareth Evans opens up on how he started making films in Indonesia, his filmmaking style and his brand of violence in The Raid 2
GARETH Evans has walked a strange path as a filmmaker. After struggling to make a name for himself in the UK, the Welsh director went on to give us one of the greatest action films of the last five years, The Raid: Redemption, in Indonesia of all places, where he continues to work. Evans has just released the sequel of the Raid series, The Raid 2: Berandal. The franchise has a world-wide cult following, which includes prominent Bollywood and Hollywood personalities like Quentin Tarantino, Anurag Kashyap, John Abraham and Imran Khan. More from the director:
How did an English man from Wales end up in Indonesia making films.
My wife is Indonesian/Japanese. After we got married, we were living in Wales for a while. I’d made Footsteps that I foolishly expected to open lots of doors.After a year, my wife found freelance work doing a documentary in Indonesia, so we took up that. I found a topic for a feature film, I met a choreography team that I could use and everything just fell into place.
After The Raid: Redemption , were you worried about measuring up to fan expectations?
When talking about pressure and expectation, we tried to avoid that. And the way we approached it was basically to make it in our own creative bubble. So we didn’t do so much of what we thought the audience wanted because we didn’t do that on the first film. We just made that film and luckily it found its own audience.
In The Raid 2, you spent time fleshing out the characters. How important was that during the script writing process?
Hugely so. This was always going to be a sort of a departure from the first. I didn’t want it to feel like a bunch of faceless people getting killed in an action film.I wanted to establish relationships and emotions between all of them and try to establish some kind of back story.
Martial arts is an integral part of these films. How do you craft your action sequences?
What we do is from the script. I always give an example of the scene, the tone of it, the opponents, the weapons, the skill set of the people they are up against and finally what the outcome is. My choreography team then sits down and starts work-shopping the scene. And if I happen to have an idea for something extreme or a punchline as I call them—something that happens that is extreme in terms of an audience reaction—then we will add those.
Could you comment on the violence in the series?
I am really curious about the different aspects of violence and how people react to it and how a filmmaker justifies it. There is a moment in The Raid:2, with the hotplate scene, where the whole purpose is that you don’t see anything. It’s an intensely violent and aggressive moment. It’s not meant to be confrontational, it’s more of a curiosity thing, like where did you stare? Where is your interest in that shot?
What’s the story arch for the third film?
I am keeping things under wraps at the moment. But if The Raid 2 starts two hours after The Raid 1, then The Raid 3 starts three hours before the end of The Raid 2.
The Raid 2 is scheduled to release today.