×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Evans: ‘Raid’ director discovers action inspiration abroad

10 Directors to Watch 2012: Gareth Evans

Age: 31
Homebase: Jakarta
Inspired by: Sam Peckinpah (” I watched ‘The Wild Bunch’ with my father and it had a major impact”), John Carpenter (“?’Assault on Precinct 13′ creates great tension on a limited budget”), John Woo, Takeshi Kitano and Takashi Miike.
Reps: Manager: Management 360 (Darin Friedman)

What, it’s fair to ask, is a Welsh-born director doing in Jakarta making martial arts movies? Gareth Evans, whose “The Raid” became a sensation in Toronto Film Festival’s Midnight Madness lineup and is making its U.S. bow at Sundance, says he’s not really that surprised to find himself at the center of a revival of movies featuring the Indonesian silat fighting style.

“These movies are really in my blood. I watched tons of martial- arts movies over and over again growing up,” says Evans, whose producer wife, R. Maya Barack-Evans, has Indonesian family roots. In 2007, Evans’ fascination impelled him to venture to Indonesia to make a documentary about silat, which he had never before witnessed firsthand.

“It was a revelation,” he recalls. “What so impressed me about silat was its fluidity, allowing for adaptability to every possible physical situation, whether a pair of fighters is in a tiny space or there are groups under massive attack.”

While his previous feature, “Merantau,” made a modest blip with martial-arts auds, Evans wanted to create an action showcase that would deliver the confrontations at a faster pace for higher impact. Originally, his plan was to make a silat actioner, “Berandal,” but budget complications forced new plans, which led to “The Raid” and its story of a police invasion of a 15-story building ruled by a drug kingpin.

The practicalities of a contained location, plus inspiration from “Die Hard” (an Evans favorite), was just the combination to make “The Raid” possible. (“Berandal” is now planned as a sequel to “The Raid,” with star and fight co-choreographer Iko Uwais returning.)

“We learned that the key to push the fighting to a new level, far beyond what’s shown on Indonesian TV or in previous films, was to prepare, rehearse and storyboard months in advance,” the director says. “While Hong Kong and Thai martial-arts movies are able to draw on years of experience and stage action sequences on the set during filming, we didn’t have that, but I think we produced something that’s extremely intense. Violent, yes. But never exploitative.”

10 Directors to Watch
Zal Batmanglij |

Valerie Donzelli | Gareth Evans | Philippe Falardeau | Mike ‘Mouse’ McCoy & Scott Waugh | Gerardo Naranjo | Matt Piedmont | Michael R. Roskam | Lynn Shelton | Benh Zeitlin

More Film

  • Tessa Thompson'Avengers: Endgame' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    'Avengers: Endgame's' Tessa Thompson Says Valkyrie Would Spoon Captain Marvel, Thor

    Tessa Thompson, who plays Valkyrie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and upcoming “Avengers: Endgame,” had no problem addressing speculation about the character’s sexuality at the “Endgame” red carpet premiere Monday. The “Sorry to Bother You” actress explained that she played her Marvel character as bisexual. “In the canon, [Valkyrie] is bisexual. You see her with [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    Writers Guild Says Over 7,000 Members Have Fired Agents

    Over 7,000 members of the Writers Guild of America have fired their talent agents, the Hollywood union said on Monday. As promised, the guild delivered a first round of termination letters to agents in a show of support for the WGA’s full-on war with the Association of Talent Agents. “Today the Guild delivered a first [...]

  • BRAZILIAN FLAGFRENCH OPEN TENNIS, PARIS, FRANCE

    Brazil’s Ancine Freezes Incentives, Threatening Film-TV Industry Paralysis

    Brazil’s Ancine agency, its foremost public-sector source of film funding, has frozen all of its incentive programs, potentially near paralyzing new production in Latin America’s biggest film-TV industry. The dramatic decision, which has left Brazil’s industry is a state of shock and intense fear for its future, comes as it has taken further hits. In [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez Reteams With STXfilms on Romantic-Comedy Co-Starring Owen Wilson

    Jennifer Lopez is reteaming with STXfilms on the upcoming romantic-comedy “Marry Me.” Kat Coiro is directing the film and Owen Wilson is in final negotiations to join the pic, which will likely shoot this fall. The script was written by John Rogers and Tami Sagher, with a rewrite by Harper Dill. Lopez and Wilson both [...]

  • Steve Golin The Revenant Spotlight Producer

    Steve Golin, Prolific Producer and Founder of Anonymous Content, Dies at 64

    Steve Golin, an Oscar-winning producer who was founder and CEO of Anonymous Content, died Sunday in Los Angeles of cancer. He was 64. Golin was a pioneer in blending the business of talent management with production. Anonymous Content, which Golin founded in 1999, worked with a stable of big name artists such as Steven Soderbergh, [...]

  • David Leitch Kelly McCormick

    'Hobbs & Shaw' Director David Leitch, Kelly McCormick Sign First-Look Deal With Universal (EXCLUSIVE)

    Universal Pictures is signing David Leitch, his longtime producing partner, Kelly McCormick and their recently founded 87North Production banner to a first-look production deal. “David and Kelly have established themselves as a distinctive, stylish filmmaking team who can do it all, from contained thrillers to franchise tentpoles,” said Universal’s president Peter Cramer. “We are confident [...]

  • Still from cannes competition film "Parasite"

    Cannes: Bong Joon-ho Says ‘Parasite’ Is Too Local to Win Competition

    Having been partially responsible for the Netflix fall out with the Cannes Film Festival, “Okja” and “Snowpiercer” director Bong Joon-ho returns to Cannes competition this year with conventionally- financed “Parasite.” But the Korean-language film is a tragicomedy that Bong says may be too nuanced for the festival. “Cannes always makes me feel excited, fresh, and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content