Spy vs. Spy
If you’ve ever wondered who’d win in a fight between DC’s ultimate bad boy Bane and Star Trek‘s Captain Kirk, McG may have the answer. The Terminator Salvation director has nabbed the real-life counterparts of those big screen brawlers – Tom Hardy and Chris Pine – for a no-holds-barred scrap in new blockbuster This Means War.
They’re not playing their DC/Trekkie alter egos in McG’s film, of course. But in the months leading up to Hardy’s villainous turn as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (aka The Most Anticipated Movie Ever) and Pine’s return to Star Trek 2, it’s a tantalising prospect.
Pegged by its director as “Ocean’s Eleven meets Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” This Means War is a slick genre-blender that has spymaster chums Hardy and Pine scrapping over “civilian” Reese Witherspoon’s affections. Or as McG delicately puts it, “What would happen if Ethan Hunt and James Bond were the best of mates and they travelled the world together, and they both enjoyed banging Croatian supermodels, and then they fought over the same woman?”
Originally scripted back in 2001 as a vehicle for Martin Lawrence and Chris Rock, McG is fully aware of what he wants from War. ”In regard to the action, I’m going for Bond. And in regard to the dynamic between the boys, I’m going for Clooney and Pitt, or Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy or Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. The classic buddy paradigm.”
So what about his men? For Hardy, McG wanted to “extract his inner Cary Grant.” Maybe so, but the Brit’s machismo was in full swing, the actor letting Witherspoon fire a paintball shot in his (albeit padded) groin for real. McG admits his starlet’s aim wasn’t always true, though. ”She missed and shot him in the leg and fucked it up.”
As for Pine, McG admits he was “very charming and wonderful as Kirk,” but it was his “in command” turn in Martin McDonagh’s play The Lieutenant of Inishmore that convinced him he was right. ”I can’t think of two other guys, at age 30, I would rather have.”
While Pine admits he had a “big crush” on Witherspoon during the Vancouver shoot, McG wanted to mangle her America’s Sweetheart persona. ”She’s the object of sexual desire in this picture. She’s on a counter-top getting down with the boys in her underwear. She’s not really known for doing that.”
It’s all pretty new to Hardy, too. Not that long ago, he was taking small roles in the likes of Marie Antoinette and Layer Cake. Post-Inception, though, he’s officially in the big league. ”It’s interesting,” the actor marvels, “because all of a sudden the people that I normally see in magazines or on TV are working in the same room as me.”
So who’d win in a fight between Bane and Kirk? Well, War‘s behind-the-scenes antics show just how hard Hardy is, as he and McG both use their bare bums as point-blank paintball targets. ”It was a badge of honour,” laughs McG, whose ass is still bruised 10 months on. ”I think it’s permanent damage. So thank you, Tom Hardy.” Is there nothing that fazes him?
♦ This Means War is currently reshooting some scenes in LA. Click the photo to see 31 new set photos.