Marvel stuntman Sam Hargrave makes his directorial debut with 'Extraction'
Sam Hargrave’s Midas touch as a stunt director on several films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This saw his path cross with the influential Russo brothers (Anthony and Joseph), who directed "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (2014), "Captain America: Civil War" (2016), "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018) and "Avengers: Endgame" (2019).
In an exclusive interview with Hargrave, he expanded on how he came to direct "Extraction" for Netflix, which sees the Russo brothers as well as actor Chris Hemsworth on the producer credits.
He said: “I read the first script about 7 years ago, it was under a different name. And I really enjoyed the script. It was fun and very fast-paced, exploring simple, primal character needs. I was very attracted to the script then. It stayed on my mind. Then when I got onto "Infinity War" and was working with the Russos, I had mentioned during our long history that I was looking to direct and looking for a project.”
Not long after, he was sent the "Extraction" script.
He added: “I read it and it was very familiar, then it clicked in my head. And I said this would be great, I love it and thank you.”
“I knew I was going to do this one day. This is part of the process. Then you step back, say, ‘I just directed a movie’. It took two years, including scouting for locations. It’s a very surreal thing to have directed a movie with Chris and the Russo brothers, who the biggest names in the business. It is humbling, mind-blowing and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity,” he added.
The movie follows Tyler Rake (Hemsworth), a black-market mercenary who helps Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the kidnapped son of an imprisoned kingpin by another crime lord. The mission is fraught with problems. But Tyler fearlessly proceeds with the high-risk mission.
On directing Hemsworth, he revealed: “He is incredible, not only as a human being. I worked with him for the first time in 2011 when we were shooting The Avengers movie. I saw glimpses of his ability. Working with him one on one, his collaborative mindset and work ethic was really mind-blowing. It surprised me. I don’t come across a lot of people with his undying work energy and ability to work. He would be on set for like 13 hours, then he will do another rehearsal with the stunt team. He was fantastic. I would work with him again.”
As for shooting in two foreign locations, he shared: “We shot the movie in India as well as in Thailand. It was an amazing process to shoot in these different locations and to work with the crews over there because they come from a very long history of film-making.
"It is a very different way of approaching the cinematic process of how we do it in the western world.
"There’s a deep respect for the process and a love for the work. It was really cool to see the cultural differences and the vision the film gave everyone. It was common ground. It was a beautiful process working with the crews over there.”
Viewers will get to see glimpses of Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bangladesh, Ban Pong and Ratchaburi.
Hargrave also sang the praises of Netflix.
He admitted: “This is my first chance to work with Netflix. They were very helpful and respectful of the vision were very supportive; always a phone call away and never breathing down your neck on set.”
On the urge to also oversee the stunt designs, he admitted: “I can’t help myself. It’s my background, I grew up living as a stunt designer. It was hard to let go off. I was fortunate to work with Steven and he was my stunt coordinator.
"It was great having someone who knows me so well and speaks the language that I speak. There were so many aspects to making a film that I didn’t have the time. But I couldn’t help myself, I did get int there and adjust things. It was a very close working relationship that turned up some great action sequences.”
Hargrave is pretty confident about his directorial debut and encourages audiences to catch the movie.
He shared: “Well, hopefully, audiences will enjoy many aspects from the location, which was shot in a part of the world western audiences don’t see a lot of in its context. People will enjoy the relationship between Tyler and Ovi. And the action is refreshing and something many have not seen in a while.”
"Extraction" is streaming on Netflix.