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The Gray Man Press Conference: Cast & Directors Talk The Making of Netflix’s Blockbuster

The Gray Man is out on Netflix and last week, we attended the virtual The Gray Man press conference with the all-star cast and directors, Anthony and Joe Russo. Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Regé-Jean Page, Billy Bob Thornton, Julia Butters, Alfre Woodard, and Jessica Henwick, answered the press questions for half an hour and talked about the making of Netflix’s summer blockbuster, based on the novel of the same name by Mark Greany.

Gosling portrays CIA Agent Sierra 6, who’s on the verge of discovering some very dark governmental secrets. He becomes the number one target of former CIA agent, Lloyd Hansen, famously known for his sociopath tendencies and barbaric methods and played by Chris Evans.

The Gray Man Press Conference

The Gray Man Press Conference

Fandomwire Video

While spy and action movies are always a hit with the public, Joe Russo explained how The Gray Man becomes unique in this genre at The Gray Man press conference:

“This is a modern story. I think that, you know, Bond is about 60 years old at this point and Bourne’s about 20 years old, and this film is connected in a lot of ways to some issues that are going on in the world right now. The character is exceedingly existential, quite funny, and we just find that it fits our sense of humor (…) And, you know, it’s the kind of film that, you know, we feel would work well with today’s audiences.”

With The Gray Man, Gosling is very much back in action, and he talked about his training and what it took for him to become a CIA agent. The actor was helped by an ex-Delta Force member who gave him some amazing tips that, fortunately enough, made it to the final cut. At The Gray Man press conference, he said the following:

“There was, as you can imagine, a lot of training for the film.  But, yeah, I had, you know, an incredible amount of help. There was an amazing stunt team. You know, at first, they sort of went through all these different styles of martial arts and sort of tried to curate it for you and the character.  And then we had this amazing advisor named Chili Palmer, who’s an ex-Delta Force member.  I tried to just sort of join myself at the hip with him. He had all these, you know, amazing tactical advice, but also these really amazing ideas (…) Like, you know, you should always have skittles on you. You know? (…) Or, you know, if you’re gonna go to sleep, tie your shoelace to the door ‘cause if someone comes in, you’ll know.”

As for Chris Evans, he is once again a villain in The Gray Man, Lloyd Hansen, who is capable of the worst atrocities and will say the most horrible things to his victims, but always with a smile on his face. At The Gray Man press conference, he explained.

“Playing a villain is always a little more fun, you have a little bit more freedom, you get a lot more jokes, but working with the Russos is what gives that sense of trust and freedom. You know, when you trust the filmmakers, you’re more willing to take risks, and certainly a character like this demands risks. So, without the Russos and the relationship and rapport we have, I don’t know if I would have had such a rewarding experience.”

Ana de Armas, who portrays agent Dani Miranda, got the help of a former CIA agent, which was essential in the building of her character. In the movie, she always has Agent Sierra 6’s back and she saves his life more than once.

The actress explained at The Gray Man press conference how even though she previously portrayed a woman in high heels kicking ass in a Bond movie“, in The Gray Man, there is something really refreshing” in the fact that the focus is not on that.” She continued:

I’m not Ryan’s love interest.  We’ve done that, too.  We’ve been there.  So, you know, it’s about her power in a different way, you know? And it’s really cool. And it’s important to put women in action films in that light, you know, and have that vision of it, and, you know, accentuate that part of badass women.”

As for Regé-Jean Page, his role as Carmichael made him want to bring some relish to the deviousness.”

He explained why portraying a villain is as interesting as it is fascinating to watch, stating that to portray one is hugely freeing.”He said the following at The Gray Man press conference:

The difference between villains and heroes, generally, is that villains are not burdened with a conscience in the same way as heroes. So they just don’t have any barriers between themselves and their goals, or at least not the same barriers. And I think that my job was just to bring some relish to being unrestrained. There’s something about… My favorite villain, like, in literature is, like, Iago in Othello. People enjoy watching him enjoy himself [being] bad. And I feel that Denny and Lloyd are kind of cut from a similar cloth in that way. They enjoy themselves, just in different ways.”

As for the Prague sequence of The Gray Man (which involves a lot of running, fighting, chasing, shooting, and explosions), it took a lot of preparation and patience to pull it off, Anthony Russo explained at The Gray Man press conference:

We needed a major city square, and it continues through a chase throughout the city, so it was very complex. (…) We built a bus that was designed to look exactly like a tram but ran on wheels because sometimes we needed to run the tram faster than the tram could actually go, or we needed to take it down streets that didn’t have tracks, et cetera. And then we also had a tram that was located at a lot in Prague that was stationary that we would sort of shake, and we had blue screen around it. So, you’re building the sequence through all those different locations, we’re shooting with our main cast, we’re shooting with stunt performers for the portions that are too dangerous, and it was a very complex process to build that.”

The Gray Man is now out on Netflix, let us your thoughts in the comments!

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Written by Maëlle Beauget-Uhl

Reporter and news writer with an educational background in broadcast journalism at the New York Film Academy and a professional background in entertainment reporting and news writing.