Brad Pitt’s Former Stunt Double Directs “Bullet Train”

For director David Leitch, the chance to direct a movie that was unlike any other presented an unmissable opportunity.

Photo from Columbia Pictures

In Bullet Train, Brad Pitt stars as Ladybug, an unlucky assassin determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs gone off the rails. Fate, however, may have other plans, as Ladybug’s latest mission puts him on a collision course with lethal adversaries from around the globe—all with connected, yet conflicting, objectives—on the world’s fastest train. The end of the line is just the beginning of this non-stop thrill ride through modern-day Japan.

“I was attracted to how bold and original it is, and that’s the kind of movie I like to make,” David says. “It has a tone of relentless fun and snappy dialogue. But the most important thing to me was that it had well-defined characters that gave the actors a lot to chew on. It’s a fun action-thriller with crazy, bombastic characters – and it’s a meditation on fate. Really.”

Photo from Columbia Pictures

“All of these characters show their humanity,” David adds. “Ladybug wants to be a better person. But you also see it in the characters played by Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson in their brotherhood – they clearly care for each other. Joey King’s character is a sociopath, but she has a dynamic with her father that we can all connect with. You can go on this journey with these remorseless killers and still feel for them, have fun, laugh at the jokes.”

That makes it a movie that fits squarely into Leitch’s vision as a director. “It’s hard these days to strike out and make an original movie – not a sequel or a superhero story – but we’re up for the challenge,” David continues. Through his company 87North, David is seeking to bring his own personal stamp to action movies and the way action is portrayed. Having entered the business as a stuntman, and rising to become a stunts supervisor and choreographer before staking a groundbreaking directorial style with the films Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, and John Wick, David says that there are boundless opportunities to stretch the action genre. “There’s action in comedy, there’s action in thrillers, there’s action in horror,” he says. “My entire adult life has been action on film. Action is in my DNA. So I’m excited by the idea of taking big, provocative swings and making bold choices, as we keep it action-adjacent.”

Photo from Columbia Pictures

David had gained Brad’s trust by serving as his stunt double on several of the actor’s classics – Fight Club, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Troy, and more – before making his mark as a director. Brad knew he’d be in safe hands. “It was a little funny to me, watching Brad play a stuntman in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. I can tell you that the relationship between actor and stuntman that was part of that movie is real,” says David. “You develop a close and collaborative relationship. We went in different directions for a while, but fate wasn’t done with us, and I’m so glad it’s brought us back together.”

Watch the film’s newest trailer here:

In Philippine cinemas August 3, Bullet Train is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

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