[Editor’s note: The following story contains spoilers for “Bullet Train.”]
The cast of David Leitch’s ‘Bullet Train’ is full of big names – including Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Zazie Beetz, Michael Shannon and Bad Bunny – but it’s a bit of a treat to see him cram into so many major cameos.
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Based on Kōtarō Isaka’s novel “Maria Beetle” (published in English as “Bullet Train”), the film follows Pitt’s “Ladybug”, a skilled assassin sent for work on the eponymous bullet train who discovers that things are not at all what he expected – namely, the train is populated with other assassins out to kill him.
Along the way, Pitt’s Ladybug comes into contact with friends, enemies, and a random guy. “Bullet Train” producer Kelly McCormick told IndieWire how each cameo came together.
[One more time: The following story contains spoilers for “Bullet Train.”]
How random is Channing Tatum’s recurring role on ‘Bullet Train’? He’s officially billed as “Random Passenger,” and that’s about it. Tatum appears throughout as a seemingly insignificant train conductor who meddles in some of Ladybug’s sweeter schemes, such as pretending to be the dangerous assassin by donning his signature bucket hat.
“Chan’s [character] was supposed to be fair somebody“, McCormick told IndieWire. “For a long time we looked at a lot of [audition] tapes, and I wondered who could it be? There were so many great ones, especially because we were shooting in LA and there were a lot of great actors here. But then we were like, ‘I wonder what Chan is doing, I wonder if he’s around, wouldn’t that be fun?’
Leitch and McCormick were particularly taken with the idea that they would be the first to cast Pitt and Tatum on a project together (which only led to another, more on that later) . “We just called him, and he came for a day, and they ended up cracking up all day and got so many gems,” McCormick said, hinting there might be some takes on the outing. Movie VOD.
“Cameo” might understate what Michael Shannon renders as the infamous crime lord “White Death,” who ends up being at the center of the complicated revenge plan that drives the movie. It is revealed that some of the action was orchestrated by his own daughter, Prince (Joey King), who is both pissed at being ignored by her father and eager to prove she is more than capable. to commit his own crimes.
“The white death has changed a lot,” McCormick said. “He always haunted the script, but in the original draft, the role of the prince was the complete plot driver of the villain. David really needed to find a connection to each character. For her, it was a bit too much of a manipulation for us as well as an inability to redeem her on some level.
The answer: make the White Death also guilty. “David pushed White Death more to be the orchestrator, which I think works really well and gave Michael a lot more to do,” McCormick said. “He’s the first person we went to for this role, I think, and we’ve wanted to work with him for a long time.”
McCormick confessed to a long-running rumor that Shannon nearly starred as Cable in Leitch’s “Deadpool 2.” “Actually, he was almost Cable,” the producer said. “Then there was kind of a hiccup conflict at the very last minute, and then we ended up reconnecting on this one, and we felt really lucky that this role was for him. Because Josh [Brolin] was so good as Cable, I can’t even imagine [what that would have been like].”
Another holdover from “Deadpool 2”! Ryan Reynolds appears very briefly at the end of the film as a fellow assassin who many believe is actually Ladybug. That one? “Refund for Brad for being in ‘Deadpool 2’ for two seconds,” McCormick said with a laugh, referencing Pitt’s equally brief appearance as Vanisher in the 2018 film Leitch. almost exactly the same length!”
Above all, McCormick said, Reynolds really wanted to do it. “That was, of course, what Ryan wanted to do, and he wanted to give back, and he loves playing with David, and we continue to miss each other because he’s so busy and David is so busy,” McCormick said.
Reynolds actually shot this cameo on the set of his “Adam Project,” which was filming at the same time. “We sent him the suit and some helmets for him to pick out,” McCormick said. “And then they shot it, and they were sending it, and David would look at it and say, ‘Do this version,’ or he would give more notes. They were literally working remotely while we were working on ours and they were working on theirs, which was pretty cool.
And while it’s no surprise that Sandra Bullock is in the film, it’s a bit of a twist that Ladybug’s handler, AKA Maria Beetle, appears in the final act. After gently guiding Ladybug through her voice work over the phone, Bullock appears in the flesh.
“It was always written that way,” McCormick said. “We actually shot a lot more stuff than we tried to put in, and it was almost like the bigger she was, the harder it was that she wasn’t even there. After, because she’s so awesome. So we ended up getting a bunch out of it, and we just had that moment at the end that’s so special. She only had two days, so it turned out well, that’s all we could do for this role.
Do you like what you saw? There may be more to come. “If we have a [‘Bullet Train’] franchise, she would hopefully want to play a lot deeper,” McCormick said.
And, yes, that Pitt, Bullock, and Tatum reunion on romantic comedy “The Lost City” partially reunited on the set of “Bullet Train,” mostly thanks to… the weather? “The ‘The Lost City’ thing actually happened on our set, [because] she only had a day or two [with us]and then it rained [when their final scene needed to be in the sun]”, McCormick said. “And so she was with us too long, and Brad felt really guilty about it. Then it was like, ‘Hey, I got this thing.’ They love each other, they always have, and it was like, ‘Oh, yeah. I’m going to do this thing.’ “
A Sony release, “Bullet Train” is in theaters now.
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