Wanted (2008 film)
Wanted is a 2008 film loosely based on the comic book miniseries Wanted by Mark Millar. The film is directed by Timur Bekmambetov and stars James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Thomas Kretschmann, Konstantin Khabensky and Angelina Jolie. Production began in April 2007. Wanted has a target release date of June 27, 2008. Wanted is rated R in the United States for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality.
Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is offered the opportunity to seek revenge in the murder of his father, who was an assassin. Gibson is invited by his father’s partner, Sloan (Morgan Freeman), to follow in his father’s footsteps. Sloan’s second-in-command, Fox (Angelina Jolie), mentors Gibson, who follows death orders issued by The Fates, weavers who read individuals’ destinies in fabrics produced by mystical looms.
- James McAvoy as Wesley Gibson: A meek 25-year-old who works in a cubicle. Gibson has a disloyal girlfriend and a boss who bullies him. McAvoy was cast in the lead role in October 2006. McAvoy, who had screen-tested for the role early in 2006, was initially rejected due to the studio seeking an actor that had conventional Hollywood leading-man looks and physique. The actor was later recalled, being considered the “runt of the litter” of those who tested. According to McAvoy, “They [ultimately] wanted someone geeky.” The Scottish actor, who portrays an American in the film, trained for the film’s action scenes.
- Morgan Freeman as Sloan: The assassin partner of Wesley Gibson’s deceased father.
- Angelina Jolie as Fox: Sloan’s second-in-command. Jolie was cast in March 2007 after screenwriter Dean Georgaris rewrote the screenplay to tailor the role for her.
- Common as The Gunsmith: A professional gunman who trains others to use weapons.
- Konstantin Khabensky as The Exterminator. Khabensky, who starred in Bekmambetov’s Night Watch (2004), was cast so the director would have a familiar face around Wanted.
- Terence Stamp as Pekwar
- David O’Hara as Mr. X
- Chris Pratt as Barry
- Kristen Hager as Cathy
- Thomas Kretschmann as Cross
The comic book miniseries Wanted by Mark Millar first attracted the attention of Universal Studios executive Jeff Kirschenbaum, a comic book fan who sought a film adaptation that would be considered a “hard-R” and encouraged the studio to pick up the rights to the miniseries. By 2004, producer Marc Platt set up development of the film adaptation. In December 2005, Russian director Timur Bekmambetov was attached to helm the project as his first English-language film, with the script being written by Derek Haas and Michael Brandt.Millar did not like the first draft of the script. He explained, “I wanted the film to basically be the opposite of the Spider-Man movie, the idea of someone getting powers and realizing they can do what they want, then choosing the dark path. The [script] I read was just too tame. It just seemed a little bit Americanized. But Timur came in with his Eastern European madness, and he really made it nasty. He went closer to the spirit of the book.”
Director Timur Bekmambetov said that the film would keep the same characters from the miniseries, though the director would take liberty in adapting the comic book’s world. In July 2006, screenwriter Chris Morgan was hired to revise the third act of the Wanted script written by Haas and Brandt.The script was also rewritten by screenwriter Dean Georgaris to include the role of The Fox for actress Angelina Jolie.Haas and Brandt returned to even out the character of Wesley Gibson, which they had established in their first draft.
Comic book author Mark Millar described the first half of the film as being close to the graphic novel. Millar also said that the film’s ending was similar, though it was relocated elsewhere from the setting in the graphic novel. The superhero costumes in the series were also removed, with the exception of the leather attire worn by Wesley Gibson and The Fox. Ironically, this had been Millar’s intent when writing the graphic novel, although he and artist J. G. Jones had forgotten to. “I wanted them to have those powers and then just wear those costumes for the initiation, but just for one panel.” he said. “And then I forgot. I’d have liked [the filmmakers] to keep the supervillain mythos. That’s one thing I’m kind of sad they didn’t keep, ’cause I really liked that, the idea that supervillains and heroes did exist at one point and they’re all gone now.” The story arc of the Fates issuing death orders in line with the series’s original theme of predestination was a new element to the film, an addition to which Millar was amicable.
Wanted will include free running and parkour in addition to car chases and gunfights utilizing “bullet-turning” technology.Wanted creator Mark Millar saw previsualized footage for the film and said the footage had raised his expectations for the film adaptation.The film will be the first to use the Red One digital camera, a new tool that has gained interest among cinematographers.
Location plate shooting took place in Chicago in April 2007. Several chase scenes, including one with a low flying helicopter, were shot in Chicago on May 17 and 18 on Wacker Drive along the Chicago River, between Columbus Drive and LaSalle Street.Production moved to the Czech Republic later in May, scheduled for 12 weeks of shooting. For the film, production designer John Myhre constructed a large textile factory in Prague as part of an industrial world, the setting of a mythological environment in which looms create fabrics interwoven with the destinies of people, interpreted by weavers to issue orders for specific individuals’ deaths to preserve the balance of the world.[Afterward, filming moved to Budapest, then returned to Chicago in August.