“Crash” didn’t pussyfoot around race, and its extras don’t either. Writer-director Paul Haggis, producer-co-scribe Bobby Moresco and star Don Cheadle address the thorny issue in by far the most compelling portions of the pic’s bonus features.
Haggis says he didn’t set out to write about race, but “just started following these characters around,” with a carjacking 10 years earlier in mind. However, co-scribe Moresco points out it didn’t take long before they decided to deal with race directly — no matter how ugly it might get.
“We did not allow ourselves to be put off by the ugliness,” Moresco says. “Race is nothing if not ugly.”
Indeed, during their commentary, the trio concur the humiliating scene where Matt Dillon’s cop manhandles Thandie Newton’s upscale Buppie was the most difficult one to get through.
The extras also address the filmmakers’ determination to shoot in Los Angeles, and their awareness that financing might be difficult given the subject matter and Haggis’ extensive TV background. Haggis wrote “Million Dollar Baby,” but he cracks that to many, he’s “the guy who made ‘The Facts of Life.'”
Nevertheless, filmmakers soon attracted star-producer Cheadle, who praises the film’s honesty in dealing with politically incorrect jokes about race. “These are not issues that to me are new. These are not issues that to me are daring or risque,” Cheadle says. “This is what happens when people aren’t being polite.”
Remainder of the audio commentary and making-of featurette is given to praise and production detail along the lines of “hey, that’s in Studio City!” The disc also contains a teeny intro by Haggis that hardly merits mention, but tops the list of extras on the box art.