“I could control everything… like Stanley Kubrick”: John Woo Claimed Most of His Films Were Shot Without a Script For an Insane Reason

John Woo Claimed Most of His Films Were Shot Without a Script For an Insane Reason
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While the script is the most important aspect of filmmaking, as it serves as the backbone for the rest of the production, there have been exceptions when the lack of a script equated to a film’s success. One prominent example is Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini, who rarely made a film with a completed screenplay, and this was also the case for John Woo’s most acclaimed film to date.

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Known for his highly stylized directing skills, whose works served as a massive influence on Quentin Tarantino’s films, not having a completed script for most of his works often worked out for Woo.

Also read: “He’s like the benevolent father that you just want to please”: Ben Affleck Was Obsessed With Making Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible Director Happy for $117M Movie That Was Rejected by Matt Damon

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Mission: Impossible 2 Director John Woo
Mission: Impossible 2 Director John Woo

Moving Ahead Without a Script Helped John Woo Take Full Creative Control

Although having a thorough script helps everyone onboard to have a clear overview of the project they’re attached to, in John Woo‘s case, most of his films proceeded without any traditional screenplay. Considering the director had struggled to convey his ideas to others, this helped the MI 2 director establish an iron grasp over the project and take total creative control like auteur Stanley Kubrick. Woo’s ways eventually paid off with 1989’s The Killer as it surpassed language barriers, becoming the most successful Hong Kong film in America since Enter the Dragon.

The Killer (1989)
The Killer (1989)

Speaking with Vulture, Woo explained,

“There was no script. It was all in my mind. But this was a good thing as well, because I could control everything myself — like Stanley Kubrick. The studio gave me a reasonable budget, and I told them how many days for the shoot and what the story is about, then I could totally control the budget, crew, and everything. I love to shoot on soundstages. Every day, I just shut the door and made my own film.”

With no disruption from the financiers and his fellow crew members, Woo was allowed to bring his original vision to life, which fans fell in love with.

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Also read: “Sure, and Michelangelo can paint ceilings!”: Quentin Tarantino Scoffed at a Studio Exec After He Insulted John Woo’s Skill With Action Genre

John Woo
John Woo

John Woo’s Dancing Skills Came in Handy for The Killer

Looking back at the 1989 classic that reshaped the action landscape when the genre was at its lowest per Quentin Tarantino, Woo joked that being a dancer helped him craft the iconic scenes.

Per The Wrap, he said,

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“Most of the action, I choreograph by myself, because I’m a pretty good dancer. An action sequence is like I’m making a dancing scene, or I’m dancing with the actors.”

Also read: Johnny Depp Shot Himself in the Foot by Rejecting Cult-Classic Sci-Fi Movie Directed by Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible Director

The Killer (1989)
The Killer (1989)

While he has witnessed his fair share of lows, with one example being MI 2, often considered the weakest of the franchise, his contribution to the action realm remains unmatched.

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Written by Santanu Roy

Articles Published: 1353

Santanu Roy is a film enthusiast with a deep love for the medium of animation while also being obsessed with The Everly Brothers, Billy Joel, and The Platters. Having expertise in everything related to Batman, Santanu spends most of his time watching and learning films, with Martin Scorsese and Park Chan-wook being his personal favorites. Apart from pursuing a degree in animation, he also possesses a deep fondness for narrative-driven games and is currently a writer at Fandomwire with over 1000 articles.