Michael Brandt has spent the better part of his career in Hollywood as a writer. He's penned some of the most popular films of the past decade, including "2 Fast 2 Furious," "3:10 to Yuma," and "Wanted." He recently made his directorial debut with "The Double."
The movie is based on an original story by Brandt's and stars Richard Gere, Topher Grace, and Martin Sheen. I had the opportunity to speak with Brandt while he was doing press for the new film.
Where was the movie actually shot?
It was shot in Detroit. The actors were never actually in Washington, D.C. I spent a couple days in D.C. shooting plates and getting some shots. The scene with Richard Gere and Martin Sheen in front of the White House [was shot] in Detroit. We did what we could with effects [to] try and make the whole thing feel like it was in D.C., Paris, Russia, or wherever it's supposed to be. The Paris scenes were [shot in] downtown Detroit. That was actually a few blocks from Tiger Stadium.
What were you trying to accomplish with the film?
It was kind of an homage to the movies that I wish Hollywood made more of. There's a reason why this script wouldn't get made in a studio these days even with big stars. It's because the days of [political thrillers] like "Three Days of the Condor," "The Parallax View," and even "No Way Out" are gone. I miss that. I wish they were back. This is definitely my version of those movies. I wish studios would make more of them.
If you had one chance to convince someone to watch "The Double," what would you say to them? Why should they watch the movie?
I feel strongly that there's a giant group of moviegoers who never got to see the bad-ass, tense version of Richard Gere; the really passionate Richard from "Internal Affairs" and "An Officer and a Gentleman." Richard played one of the most nefarious and darkest dudes you'll ever meet and [audiences] still loved watching him. You remember him for that movie. Richard from the Diane Lane and Julia Roberts movies is great. He's suave, handsome, charming, and all of that. I think I would say watch "The Double" because you get to see a version of Richard you haven't seen in a long time and he's still awesome at it.
What are you working on now? What will we be seeing from you in the near future?
I'm writing "Wanted 2" and making a pilot right now. Dick Wolf of "Law & Order" fame is producing it at NBC. It's about the Chicago Fire Department. It's more like "ER" or "NYPD Blue." It takes place in a big firehouse with lots of characters and drama. We're shooting that in a month in Chicago. That'll [air] next fall if it gets picked up.
Derek [Haas, "The Double" co-writer] wrote a short story that Jerry Bruckheimer bought. Derek has a website called www.popcornfiction.com that a lot of screenwriters write short stories for. He wrote one that Bruckheimer bought and we're finishing that up right now. It's a pretty exciting, big, and cool Bruckheimer movie. I'm also writing another one that's not really public yet. It's with "3:10 to Yuma" director James Mangold. I'm writing another script for him that I'm really happy with. I think it's going to be fantastic being able to [work with him] again.
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Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Gerard Butler, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.
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