While Oscar-nominated English actor Clive Owen is perhaps still best known for his work in prestige dramas like Mike Nichols’ Closer and Robert Altman’s Gosford Park, he has taken several opportunities over the years to prove that he can handle himself in an action movie as well as just about anyone. Arguably the best example of this is Owen’s performance as Smith in 2007’s over-the-top bullet-fest Shoot ‘Em Up, but he also more than proved his chops in films like Sin City.
With that in mind, Owen has long been an oft-suggested name by fans whenever the James Bond franchise needs a new actor to take over the iconic lead role. While it’s hardly the first thing most bring up when Owen’s action credentials are mentioned, his most Bond-esque turn to date came way back in the 2001-2002 BMW-produced short film series The Hire, which starred Owen as an enigmatic character known only as The Driver. Eight total shorts were made in The Hire series, with each installment directed by big name filmmakers such as Ang Lee, John Frankenheimer and Guy Ritchie.
At age 52, some would argue Owen is now too old to assume the Bond role, but BMW has no such qualms about enlisting the actor to reprise The Driver in a new short film intended to reboot The Hire series. Entitled The Escape, the short is directed by Neill Blomkamp, and is planned to be the first in a set of new entries in The Hire universe. BMW has just released the second trailer for The Escape, and it looks to pack in as much action as many feature films manage to in 90 minutes.
The Escape’s story details are still pretty vague at this point, but the trailer makes clear that The Driver is on a mission to save Dakota Fanning’s character from some very dangerous and very powerful individuals that want to do her harm. Why these bad guys are after her or how The Driver got mixed up in the situation remains anyone’s guess at this point.
In addition to Owen and Fanning, The Punisher’s Jon Bernthal and Bates Motel’s Vera Farmiga round out the small but star-studded cast. The Escape will run 11-minutes in total, but Blomkamp estimates that based on a cost to minute of film ratio, the budget of his short rivals that of most major Hollywood features. With a talented director and an impressive cast on-board, there’s definitely a chance The Escape could rival some studio blockbusters in total entertainment value as well.
The Escape premieres October 23 on BMWfilms.com