The Hitcher - Media Blvd

Source: Media Blvd
Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton & Sean Bean In "The Hitcher"
By Christina Radish
January 2007

An update of the 1986 film of the same name, Rogue Pictures’ The Hitcher
tracks a young college couple on the road, en route to spring break. In the
feature directorial debut of Dave Meyers, the thriller follows the terrifying
trajectory of Grace Andrews (One Tree Hill star Sophia Bush) and Jim Halsey
(Zachary Knighton), who are tormented by the mysterious hitchhiker John
Ryder (The Lord of the Rings star Sean Bean). As the open road becomes
a suspenseful, action-packed battleground of blood and metal, the young
pair try to elude not only Ryder, but also New Mexico State Police
Lieutenant Esteridge’s (Neal McDonough) officers, and fight for their
lives as they face their fears head-on.

The film’s stars, Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton and Sean Bean talked to
MediaBlvd Magazine about remakes, the challenges of shooting a scary
movie, and why audiences like to watch a girl who can kick some ass.

MediaBlvd Magazine> Sean, how difficult was this character to play for
you, since he doesn’t really have a backstory.
Sean Bean> It was difficult. There wasn’t a great deal of history to the
guy, and not a lot of information about where he came from, which I
thought was quite interesting, really. It allowed me the freedom to
create what I wanted, and to invent a character. I always thought that
it was somewhat scarier that you don’t know anything about him or
where he comes from. I find that the less you know about people, the
less you trust them. I usually like to have something to go on, but for
this particular movie, I would say he was like an angel of death. That
quite appealed to me.

MediaBlvd> Sophia, what are the challenges of playing a girl like this?
How do you avoid the typical horror movie clichés?
Sophia Bush> I didn’t want to be that girl, running around, whining and
irritating. But, at the same time, I didn’t want to come out like Lara
Croft, with guns blazing, because that’s not quite right either. Something
that made it great, for me, was a lot of what Zach and I got to do
together because we spent weeks just working on the chemistry of our
relationship, and how Jim and Grace behaved and reacted, and the ways
in which partners in a long standing relationship mess with one another.
That gave me some license to go on the emotional roller coaster instead of
just being one kind of woman. When Grace wasn’t going to make it, Jim
pulled her up, and when Jim wasn’t going to make it, Grace pulled him up.
It was a very symbiotic relationship, and it allowed me to show both sides.
It allowed me to flip the scales from her being kind of happy go lucky to
her being stripped down and very animalistic. It let me do that more slowly,
in a see-saw, than in one quick flip, and I think that’s a more accurate of
how people change and how people tap into their strengths.
MediaBlvd> Sean, how difficult was it stepping into Rutger Hauer’s shoes?
Sean> I saw the film when it first came out about 20 years ago, and it made
a big impression on me. It was a very well constructed film, and Rutger Hauer
gives a very good performance and I remember being scared by it. I
thought it made an impact, but I really didn’t want that running around
my head and cluttering things up, when we were making our version of it.
Working with Zach and Sophia, I think we created quite an interesting new
version. I really didn’t have any reservations or concerns about being
compared to another actor. I just wanted to do it my way.

MediaBlvd> Zach and Sophia, you’re in the same outfits for most of the movie.
How many different versions were there, and how gross did they get by the end?
Zachary Knighton> It was the same outfit. I wore the same thing every day.
It smelled really bad.
Sophia> For continuity’s sake, they had to keep a couple of pairs of all the
Zach> But, there were different stages, because we shot out of sequence.
Sophia> He looked at me one day and was said, “We smell,” and I said, “I
know.” We were covered in dirt, blood and filth, so we probably would have
smelled, anyway. I don’t think anyone noticed, except for us.

MediaBlvd> Sophie and Zach, how was the relationship between you and
Sean, since you had to be scared of him?
Sean> It was quite good that they were scared of me.
Zach> I’m still afraid.
Sean> The first scene we did in Austin, Texas was a night shoot. It was quite
a long scene and it was quite good that we didn’t really know each other at all.
Zach> You didn’t talk to us at all.
Sophia> It took us a couple of weeks to get us all speaking.
Sean> But, it actually worked because we weren’t supposed to know each other,
so I’m glad we did that.
Sophia> Our first conversation was about how hard he could push the knife into
my face. I was like, “Hi, how are you? Feel free to hit me.”

MediaBlvd> Was it hard to shoot the scenes with the heavy rain?
Zach> If you shoot in the rain, you have a lot of voice ADR and voice looping
to do after the movie.
Sean> It’s only hard, if you’ve got lines. It was quite warm in Austin, that
time of year. The rain always feels good to me.

MediaBlvd> Sophia, how challenging is it to find quality scripts?
Sophia> It’s definitely hard to find films of quality that you want to make.
When this script came, prior to reading it, I didn’t really know it was going
to be anything other than a typical scary movie. As I was going through it,
I realized that there was something special here. Not only did that tomboy
side of me get to completely freak out, in my stunt junkie way, and do all
of these amazing things and watch cars get blown up and helicopters fly
over our faces and ride around the desert with guns, but there was such
development for this character and a slope for this girl to fall down. I try to
choose projects that give me some work to do, and look for things that
I haven’t done before. This was something very exciting. The relationships
between our characters is phenomenal and real, and something that gets
overdone in our age range a lot. And, to be working with Sean, I was like,
“Yeah, I want to make a movie with Sean Bean!” We had a moment in that
first sequence we filmed, barely knowing each other, where we were fighting,
and I was like, “God, this guy is so strong and he has my face in his hand,
and this is great.” I made some noise that worried him and he looked at me
and said, “Are you alright?,” and I was like, “I’m okay. We’re back in the scene.
Beat me up some more.”

MediaBlvd> Sophia, what do you think the fascination is with girls kicking ass?
Sophia> I think what’s great about it is that we’ve seen so many great male
heroes in men, like the iconic Indiana Jones and Dirty Harry. We’re at a point,
in our sociology, where we’ve evolved to realize that women can kick as much
ass as men, and we want to see it. There’s something that’s a little less
expected about seeing the girlfriend end up with the shotgun. It’s exciting
and it gives the girls in the audience something to root for. You no longer
have women being dragged to an action movie by their boyfriends.

MediaBlvd> Sean, playing a villain, do you have any favorite movie villains?
Sean> I like the old style ones, like James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson --
the quite rough and ready, no-nonsense gangsters. I tried to play this guy
without being too aggressive. John Malkovich is someone I always admire,
as a villain. I like him, in general, but I think he also has an assertive quality
about him.

MediaBlvd> What’s next for you guys?
Sean> I’m not really doing anything, at the moment. I just finished this film
in the Arctic called True North, with Michelle Yeoh. It’s also about three
characters, but slightly different from this combination. So, I’ve been over
there for awhile, and I’ve been flying around a bit. I’m just looking at a few
things now. There’s nothing definite.
Zach> I am currently in the mix for some things and hoping that something
works out. I’m basically hanging out and surfing.
Sophia> I’m finishing the fourth season of One Tree Hill. We start on hiatus
half-way through April so, in the next few weeks, all the things that will be
put together, and we’ll figure out what pool we feel like diving in for the summer.

MediaBlvd> How long do you think One Tree Hill will go for?
Sophia> We never really know, and I think it’s hard to say. That depends
on how long the kids keep watching, and how long we keep the teenagers

MediaBlvd> Sean, any plans to go back to the Sharp series?
Sean> I don’t know. We did one in India last year called Sharp’s Challenge,
which was a lot of fun. It would be good to resurrect it one day, so long as t
here is something to talk about, and as long as we’re not just going on
because it was popular and successful. But, I would like to think there is
life in it, as long as it’s meaningful and we are just not repeating what
we did already. Obviously, it’s a favorite of mine.


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