Stallone, who first approached the director with the project, notes, “I thought it would be great to work with Walter Hill on this type of buddy movie, which is a genre he knows well. Although, in this case, the main characters are not really buddies at all, but rather adversaries who have to work together against a mutual enemy because their lives depend on it. But out of that, an interesting relationship evolves.”
Hill offers, “Sly and I have known each other a long time and have talked about working together in the past, but we could never quite make it happen. I admire him very much and always wanted to do a movie with him, so this proved to be the perfect opportunity.”
The story is based on the popular graphic novel Du Plomb Dans La Tête, which, although originally written in French, was very much inspired by the American cinema.
Acclaimed French author Alexis Nolent, whose nom de plume is Matz, confirms, “I’ve always been a big fan of buddy movies, which is a genuine American specialty. I was playing with some ideas and thought it would push things up a notch to team a killer with a cop—to have a bond that has to cross the line of the law and ethics and principles.
The cop is, of course, a little more square than the hit man, who is more able to think outside the box. But the concept was that these two characters who seem to have nothing in common actually have much more in common than they ever imagined.”
“Bullet to the Head” also reunites both Stallone and Hill with another premier action veteran: Joel Silver, Chairman of Dark Castle Entertainment and an executive producer on the film. Silver previously produced the Stallone films “Demolition Man” and “Assassins” and collaborated with Hill on several projects, including “48 Hrs.” Says Silver, “It was exciting to be back in business with both Walter and Sly. Walter is a director who knows what he wants and comes to the set with all the answers, which is a joy for any producer, and it goes without saying that Sly is an iconic star the world over. We had a great time working together on this film.”
“I’ve been working in this business a long time and I can tell you that Joel Silver is a true original,” Stallone states. “He’s an incredibly creative and hands-on producer. Between him and Walter, I was in good hands.”
Producer Alexandra Milchan showed the graphic novel to screenwriter Alessandro Camon, who loved it. He recalls, “I thought it was a great genre piece, highly cinematic, with a wild and attractive premise—a kind of anti-buddy movie, where the two character embarking on a mission don’t only have a clash of personalities but may actually want to shoot each other. That seemed like good fodder for both tension and comedy, and ultimately a good way to let the characters make huge choices: between loyalty and duty, and between what they feel and what they believe.”
Hill says, “We want the story and characters to be taken seriously, but in a movie like this, I think it’s good to add a touch of humor. Finding that balance can sometimes be tricky, but I think it’s an important part of the entertainment value. I think that’s also one of the things Sly responded to.”
The film gave Stallone and fellow cast members Sung Kang and Jason Momoa, a chance to sink their teeth into some challenging stunt sequences. The fight scenes culminated with a thrilling mano a mano axe fight between the two hardened killers, played by Stallone and Momoa.
Opening across the Philippines on Feb. 6 2013, “Bullet to the Head” is distributed by Buena Vista International through Columbia Pictures.