Discovering the Mysteries of Thailand: A Conversation with Lake Bell
NO ESCAPE features an acclaimed cast including; Owen Wilson (Midnight In Paris, Wedding Crashers) as American businessman Jack Dwyer; Pierce Brosnan (Die Another Die, Golden Eye) as British expatriate, Hammond; Lake Bell (Man Up, In A World…) as Jack’s wife, Annie Dwyer; Sterling Jerins as their eldest daughter, Lucy Dwyer; and Claire Geare as their youngest daughter, Beeze Dwyer.
Jack (Wilson) is a man desperate to protect his family in this intense, fast-paced, action-thriller.
As he relocates his family to Asia, with wife Annie (Bell) and their two young girls, Jack has no idea of the terror that lies in store. Within days of their arrival a violent uprising has swept through the city and the family are on the run desperately searching for safety. With seasoned expat Hammond (Brosnan) as their only ally, time is against Jack and his family as they are caught in the middle of a nation at war, with their courage put to the ultimate test.
The Fan Carpet’s Jen Scouler had the pleasure of speaking to Lake Bell who plays Annie Dwyer in No Escape, she tells Jen what drew her to the film, working with Piece Brosnan and her experience filming on location in Thailand…
Now you played Annie Dwyer in No Escape. What was it that drew you to the film?
You know what you look for as an actor is diversity of roles to your filmography and so when I read the script and when I heard that it was not only a type of movie that I’d never taken on, but a role that I’d never taken on. You know, having Owen Wilson be the star of it, I thought they were doing something really interesting by taking people who traditionally do something more comedic and putting them in these harrowing circumstances.
For me, it makes the movie kind of refreshing and more unpredictable. You feel and it gives the audience a false sense of comfort- so, like ‘these guys are in it, so it couldn’t get that bad’ and it really does get that bad. I think it was really a wise way to cast it and to separate it from the myriad of other thrillers that are out there.
Can you talk about the preparation you went through to get into character, particularly in playing the role of the mother?
In terms of the preparation, in the movie I think it comes across as scary but we weren’t meant to all of a sudden know how to shoot a gun, or know Kung Fu out of nowhere. It’s not like we’re superheroes, we’re just very realistic in our fumbling and in the messiness in which we take on these very extraordinary circumstances. It makes it all the more nerve-wracking for the audience, so we didn’t prepare too much in terms of physicality but there was a tremendous amount of rehearsal and I always feel lucky to have that in taking on the project. Particularly with this, in order to create the relationship between me and the girls who play my daughters and with Owen, because we all travel together in the movie we had to feel very fused and connected. So we spent a lot of time together in rehearsals and also in discovering Thailand, which is where we shot the movie, which provided the perfect bonding experience.
Did you get along well with with your co-star Owen Wilson?
Yes of course, I mean, there was a lot of joking on set because it’s a sombre subject shooting this movie. I thought that maybe since we both do a lot of comedy that we’d have this goofy rapport but in the end the film set the tone and we’d show up every day in a very focused and respectful way.
And if you don’t mind me asking was Pierce Brosnan as dapper as his Bond reputation?
Absolutely, if not more. He just comes on the set and he just emanates his movie star presence. I’ve known him for a while now and I’m in awe of how he maintains that but I think it’s natural, just this kind of inherent gentlemanly quality.
How did you find the filming in Thailand?
Well, it’s one of the more extraordinary, mysterious, romantic, beautiful countries in a truly unique part of the world. It was impossible to ignore its beauty and mysticism. I feel like not only was it a great life experience to make this movie and to be in that part of the planet but also the people that we were working with, the local workforce that came on the movie, which was the majority of our crew. They were so hardworking and so dignified, generous and hospitable.
Was there any moments during filming where it almost became too intense, because the film creates these dramatic scenes, it must have felt quite realistic and scary at times. Did you find that at all?
Absolutely, there were riots and protests going on in Thailand at the time. There was an actual coup that was brewing and obviously in world events, we know that it happened after we left there but there was political unrest so there were only certain times in the wee hours of the night that we could shoot the protest. You couldn’t always see the cameras in the big crowd scenes and it would feel like ‘wow, this is really happening’. The government also requested that certain colours be avoided in the production design and costume design of the protesters in order to not offend certain political groups. Also you’re shooting with these young, very sweet and innocent actresses who are just little girls, and we’re shooting sometimes at three in the morning in a river in rural Thailand. Of course I don’t know where we are, when there’s rain machines going on and all the mud and muck is not set design but just really our locations. So there are times when the emotion that you’re seeing is not far from the truth.
Do you think that being a director yourself, has it changed the way you’re found working on a film set?
Yeah, I think the biggest change since I’ve been directing and now acting in movies as a director as well, nothing vast changes but how I learned to direct was being an actor and being in the trenches of a movie set, as well as being able to be on the inside looking out through observing and sponging as much information as possible. So I think that being on a set like this, with John [Dowdle], and part of the appeal of being on this movie when I’d never been on this type of set was that I could then get a college-level course in how to do a thriller! It becomes a tremendous education as well, so there’s that as well as it being a reminder that as an actor your job really is to show up (laughs) and know your lines and deliver that performance to your director.
No Escape is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 11th January 2016, courtesy of Entertainment One