Superhero movies tend to feature several repetitive elements. From the triumph of good vs evil, to heroes fighting in colorful costumes, such aspects have become general expectations for this type of genre.
However, movie director Timur Bekmambetov made the decision to produce a film that breaks this repetitive cycle. With the help of comic book writer Mark Millar, the two ended up creating the cinematic masterpiece, Wanted.
Unlike most superhero movies, Wanted follows the life of Wesley Gibson, an everyday office drone prone to anxiety attacks, as he suffers under the abuse of his boss, while his girlfriend sleeps with his best friend.
One day, a female assassin named Fox approaches him and reveals that his father is a member of a secret order of assassins.
From there, Wesley’s life turns upside down, and he breaks out of the repetitive cycle of his everyday life. From there he is given the opportunity to develop his potential and explore a new path through which to forge his own destiny.
With so many inspiring themes, its no wonder that Wanted became the 18th highest grossing film of 2008. Even after ten years following its release, it retains a positive reputation among fans of the sci-fi genre.
However, over the course of its production, many can’t help but notice some interesting details leading up to, and following, its release.
Here are the 20 Crazy Details Behind The Making of Wanted.
20 The Movie Is Adapted From A Comic
For those not familiar with the full history of Wanted, it seems like just another intense action film. However, the origins behind this movie go far deeper into the domain of superhero culture.
Originally, the movie's plot was adapted from a comic book series of the same name written by Mark Millar.
Following the film's release, many fans of Millar’s work noticed how the movie deviated from the comic’s source material.
However, Millar himself oversaw most of the production process as a fellow producer.
Despite his initial concerns of the deviations, Millar changed his mind after Timur joined the project. According to an interview with Millar, Timur helped saved 70% of the original material.
In the end, Millar was more than happy with the end result.
19 It Marked The First Comic Book Roles for Chris Pratt & James McAvoy
Nowadays, both Chris Pratt and James McAvoy, are well known for their contributions to superhero films.
From X-Men: First Class, to X-Men: Apocalypse, McAvoy did an amazing job depicting the origins of Charles Xavier and how he became Professor X.
On the other hand, Chris Pratt is credited for his success in portraying Star Lord. In the Guardians of The Galaxy series, and in the Infinity War Saga, Pratt has become an important player within the MCU.
However, before they became the stars they are today, Pratt and McAvoy’s debut in superhero films began in Wanted.
For McAvoy, his role as Wesley Gibson was certainly a stellar performance that pushed him to surpass his limits.
Sadly, Chris Pratt is limited to his role as Wesley’s friend, who later sleeps with his girlfriend.
18 Morgan Freeman Worked On Two Movies At Once
Wanted marks quite a few milestones for Morgan Freeman. According to an interview, Morgan describes that Wanted was his first time working with a foreign director.
He also explains that working on a movie adapted from a graphic novel was new territory that greatly intrigued him.
In the end, no one else could have pulled off Sloan the way Freeman did. However, in addition to his performance, there is another interesting fact regarding Freeman’s time working on Wanted.
It turns out that in addition to Wanted, Freeman also worked on another production as well.
In addition to his role as Sloan, Freeman also found the time to play Lucius Fox in The Dark Knight. Despite dividing his time between both movies, Freeman still manages to pull off a flawless performance as both Lucius Fox and Sloan.
17 Alternate Opening And Ending
Wanted’s use of distinctive camera shots and movements to enhance the impact of certain scenes, especially action sequences, is just one of many reasons why it triumphs as a cinematic masterpiece.
However, as great as it was, it was impossible to include all the movie's original material.
Originally, the movie featured an alternate opening that flashes back to ancient times.
It is in this opening where where the audience learns more about the history of both the Fraternity and the Loom of Fate.
It seems like a shame that such an intriguing opening was never included at the time of the film’s release.
Thankfully, this opening can be viewed by fans in the special feature section in the blue-ray edition of the film.
16 It Was Bekmambetov's First American Movie
In addition to its impressive cast, there are other reasons that explain why Wanted is widely considered an amazing film.
It marks a huge milestone for Timur’s career, as it was his first time directing an American film.
Prior to Wanted, Timur was known for his work as a foreign director. Even so, Timur’s talents put him in a league of his own.
His works such as The Night Watch and its sequel Day Watch, earned him the attention and trust of Mark Millar who entrusted him with modifying the film’s original script.
Suffice to say, bringing in Timur proved to be the right decision.
Without him, Wanted would not be the masterpiece that it is today.
15 The Score Was Composed By Danny Elfman
As mentioned in the previous entry, Bekmambetiov’s reputation as a director is well knonw throughout the industry.
In addition to earning Millar’s trust his presence also inspired others to join them in helping with the film’s production.
This includes the film’s composer, Danny Elfman. As a professional songwriter, Elfman has made several contributions to both film and television. One of his biggest being the theme from The Simpsons.
After he was brought on board, Elfman applied his skills into creating the heavy metal approach that makes up the film’s unique soundtrack.
He was even responsible for writing and performing the song These Little Things, which was featured throughout the film, as well as its ending.
14 There's A Video Game Sequel
As part of a publishing deal between Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Grin Barcelona, a video game adaptation of Wanted was born.
The video game adaptation Wanted: Weapons of Fate takes place shortly after the events of the first movie.
In addition to playing Wesley, players also have the chance to play his father, Cross.
The game creates a vibe similar to that of the movie, which greatly enhances the experience of this first-person shooter.
Furthermore, in addition to the film, the game also draws inspiration from the graphic novel as well.
Playing this game allows players to see more of the Fraternity on an international scale. Furthermore, we get to see more of Wesley and his father, as they follow their respective paths as assassins.
13 The Movie Used 3-D Models Of Actors
When it comes to movies like Wanted, actors are often pushed to both their physical and mental limits.
Over the course of its production, actors like Angelina Jolie and McAvoy were required to perform extremely dangerous stunts.
In fact, some of the stunts were considered so dangerous, that they were almost impossible to pull off. Thankfully, the film applied alternative means by using digital stunt doubles.
Following a 15 second scan, 3-D models of the actors are created. Afterwards, they are downloaded and given layered exteriors complete with both skeletal and muscular systems.
After the proper programming is added, the digital stunt doubles are ready to go and perform just like the real thing.
12 Angelina Was Rigged To A Harness On A Moving Car
As previously mentioned, the stunts performed in Wanted were often physically demanding for many of its cast.
Angelina Jolie was no exception as she performed one of the movie's most intense stunts.
In the film’s first car chase scene, Fox drives through the city to escape from a persistent Cross.
At one-point, Fox shoots out the front window of her vehicle and climbs out onto the hood to get a better vantage point from which to fire at her pursuer.
In this scene, Jolie was rigged to a harness while the car was driving at 30 mph.
While it may not be as fast as it appeared in the film, it was still a dangerous stunt.
11 James McAvoy Suffered a Lot of Physical Punishment
While McAvoy was more than happy to get the part of Wesley in Wanted, his role required him to make several sacrifices and lifestyle changes.
In an interview with Reuters, he states that “It was a very physical film and I had to get fit and go to the gym, which I don’t really enjoy.”
McAvoy did indeed bulk up for his part, but even then, he still had to endure his fair share of physical burdens.
On average during filming, McAvoy estimates that he performed around 60% of his own stunts.
During that time, he suffered from a twisted ankle, injured his knee, suffered several bruises, and even developed an ear infection.
According to an interview with IGN, he also rode on the hood of a car going 30 miles an hour.
10 Angelina Jolie Based Her Character Off Of Clint Eastwood
As a member of the Fraternity, Fox is the most loyal member and shows the most dedication to the cause. She even puts herself in harms way to help Wesley master his abilities.
In the comics, Fox is a little more bloodthirsty and promiscuous than she is in the film.
However, Jolie’s performance successfully reinvents the image of her character. In fact, a large part of her performance was mostly inspired by Clint Eastwood.
Prior to working on Wanted, Jolie worked with Eastwood in The Changeling. The time she spent with him inspired her to adapt aspects of his personality onto Fox.
As a result, Jolie transforms Fox into something more than just a ruthless assassin. She becomes a character that shows concern for her destiny in a way that the audience can’t help but sympathize with.
9 Millar Wanted Eminem T0 Play Wesley
Compared to the graphic novel, the film Wanted differs greatly from the source material. One of the most interesting things they changed was Wesley’s appearance.
While McAvoy may have been chosen to portray him, he does not exactly bear a close resemblance to his character’s comic book counterpart.
Fans have often noticed that the Wesley from the comic bears a striking resemblance to Eminem.
Millar explains that he did indeed show interest at the idea of having Eminem play Wesley.
After he mentions this in an interview, it sparked a whole bunch of rumors and conspiracy theories revolving around Eminem’s possible role in the upcoming movie.
Unfortunately, the rumors were later debunked and shut down by both Universal and Eminem’s representatives, after they confirmed that the rapper had no interest in playing Millar’s character.
8 They Built L Trains And Moved Bridges
In Wanted, Wesley and Fox often find themselves caught in situations that involve them running on top of trains. While it makes for some intense action sequences, a lot of work and effort goes into making them possible.
In one scene, they are seen running atop some rooftops in Chicago before landing on a moving "L" train.
What most are not aware of, is the fact that these life-sized L trains were actually built from scratch and placed on a green screen stage.
According to Bekmambetov, while the trains themselves were too large to move, they came up with an alternative solution.
They moved the bridges instead.
According to special effects supervisor, Dominic Tuohy, the trains were placed on computerized winches and moved at a controlled speed. This way the actors could safely, and to great effect, perform their stunts.
7 It's All About A Grounded Concept Of Fantasy
In the graphic novel, Wesley is known for sometimes wearing high tech armor to compliment his status as a super powered assassin.
Unfortunately, in the movie, the attire worn by many of the characters, differs completely from their comic book counterparts.
Bekmambetov goes on to explain that the reason why these changes were made in the film, is because there are already far too many superhero movies featuring characters in costumes.
He goes on to explain that “… you can focus on how they are on the inside not the outside. It was a concept to ground the fantasy world”.
Under such circumstances, we can’t help but agree with his decision.
The movie establishes a serious atmosphere and the presence of superhero costumes would have diminished the impact.
6 Bekmambetov Claims A Sequel Is Coming, But In A New Direction
Even after a decade following Wanted’s release in theaters, questions are still going around concerning the status of a possible sequel. Fortunately, Bekmambetov has an answer.
According to SYFY WIRE, Timur claims that a potential sequel is indeed in the works. However, rather than focusing on the power of guns, he seeks to direct his focus more towards the power of the internet in the 21st century.
At the present time, Bekmambetov is pursuing an ongoing project known as “Screenlife.”
It introduces a new concept of storytelling in the filmmaking process by telling a narrative through a computer screen. Examples of films that utilize Screenlife, includes Unfriended, as well as Hardcore Henry.
In the future, Bekmambetov hopes to include the Wanted sequel into this project. Considering the success of Hardcore Henry, it seems like an interesting idea.
5 The Movie Helped Angelina Jolie Increase Her Reputation
When it was announced that Angelina Jolie would be in Wanted back in 2017, Millar made it clear that no other actress could replace her.
As a joke, he claims that the only possible replacement for her was “Tom Cruise in drag.”
Interestingly, around July of 2008, Jolie was chosen to replace Cruise as the protagonist in the film Salt.
For years, men have always been chosen to play the roles exclusive to the action genre.
Thanks to her work as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider and Fox in Wanted, Jolie stood out as a viable candidate to portray the main protagonist in such films.
The fact that she also forced the film’s director, Philip Noyce to change the title and parts of the script, speaks volumes of her reputation.
4 Mark Millar Was Kicked Off The Set Of Dark Knight Rises
One of the more interesting facts about Wanted was that it was part of a neighboring production. The filming of Wanted took place in Chicago, where it was also filmed alongside the production of The Dark Knight.
Millar, who is a huge Batman fan, was given the opportunity to look around the set by David S. Goyer.
However, he ended up going a little overboard.
During his tour, Millar was caught by Chris Nolan and Emma Thomas, sitting on the Bat-Pod.
Due to not respecting the rules asked of him, he was escorted off the set.
Even though he did break the rules, we can’t help but admire him for his gutsiness for taking such a huge risk.
3 Angelina Jolie Agreed To Play Fox On the Condition that her character Pass Away
Over the course of the film, it becomes clear that Fox and Wesley develop feelings for each other. Unfortunately, Wanted is not the type of movie to have a textbook romantic ending.
Rather than ride off into the sunset together, Fox sacrifices her life to save Wesley from the other members of the Fraternity.
However, the decision to eliminate Fox was not made by either Millar or Bekmambetov.
The one responsible was none other than Jolie herself. After reading the original script, Jolie believed that Fox was the type of character that show's absolute loyalty to her beliefs.
Thus, she would not hesitate to terminate herself if she discovered that she was going against them.
Thus, Jolie was able to convince the producers to allow this change to the movie.
2 James McAvoy Was Initially Rejected
As the protagonist, McAvoy undergoes an incredible transition from submissive office drone, to hardcore assassin. To date, his performance as Wesley is one of the biggest roles in his career.
However, it is crucial to note that the movie version of Wesley we are familiar with almost did not happen. When McAvoy first auditioned for the part, he was classified as the “runt of the litter.”
Originally, he had been passed over in favor of someone with a more muscular build to fill the role. Eventually, it was decided that McAvoy’s status as the runt, actually worked in his favor.
From a small ant, McAvoy was able to transform Wesley into a titan capable of eliminating an entire branch of trained assassins. He was even able to outsmart Sloan, who was himself a skilled manipulator.
1 Bekmambetov Faked An Office Freakout To Promote The Movie
As his first north American movie, Bekmambetov went to great lengths to promote Wanted.
Prior to the film’s release, a video was leaked online showing an office worker going completely nuts.
From smashing office equipment, to even attacking fellow employees, the contents of this video had many people believing that the video was the real thing.
Thankfully, the video was a form of covert advertising masterminded by Bekmambetov to promote the film. While unorthodox, Bekmambetov’s video received a view account of nearly 4 million.
According to him, the purpose of the video is to evoke feelings of one’s desire to escape from everyday life.
He even channels this theme through Wesley after he breaks out of his routine by having his own freakout in his workplace.
Can you think of any other secrets behind the making of Wanted? Tell us in the comments!