In the action thriller “Getaway,” former race car driver Brent Magna (played by Ethan Hawke) is pitted against the clock. Desperately trying to save the life of his kidnapped wife (played by Rebecca Budig), Brent commandeers a custom Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake, taking it and its unwitting owner (played by Selena Gomez) on a high-speed race against time, at the command of the mysterious villain holding his wife hostage. Here is what Hawke, Gomez and “Getaway” director/producer Courtney Solomon had to say during the New York City press conference for the movie.
What was it like filming “Getaway” in that car during the winter in Bulgaria?
Hawke: The problem is, it was the middle of the night, so it was cold.
Gomez: We actually liked being in the car. I liked being in the car.
Hawke: It was warmer than anywhere else when you were actually in the car, under in the lights.
Gomez: What I think was good though was that we actually ran it a lot before we got in the car, so we could actually physically walk around and do the scene over and over again, so it kind of seemed fresh. And then we get in the car. It got too much doing it over and over again sometimes doing it over and over it. So we would step out and do it too, which was nice.
Were you really filming as you were driving along?
Gomez: Yeah. We weren’t driving that fast, but it was good.
Hawke: With a whole movie of car chases, any way to do a car scene, we did it that way. We did it with the camera in the back, we did it on a wag. Any way you could think of shooting a car scene, we did it.
Solomon: We had a really unique rig for them as well, so we actually filmed in a way most people don’t do, which is the car was actually on the ground and there was a stunt man driving them, and I was sitting facing them. You guys would be here and the stunt guy would be beside me.
So they would go around those corners pretty fast, it was like 35, 40, and sometimes they got up to 60 [miles per hour], and that’s when we wanted Selena to go left or right in the car, as she was trying to grab on for dear life. We gave her a little Method addition to the whole thing by actually rocking her around. But they could feel the potholes in the street and everything!
Hawke: They would have never let us shoot this movie in any city in America. There’s just no way. Everything flying around and guys hanging off… That aspect of it was a lot of fun.
Solomon: I wouldn’t be here right now, that’s for sure.
Hawke: What Selena was saying is true, too. It’s really rare in an action movie that we would do takes of 10 pages of dialogue. We’re always in the same place. The set, I a way, never changed. We were always in this car. The background changed, and the speed changed, and all that other stuff, but it’s rare in an action movie that you can do that kind of level of scenes. That was fun.
Selena, your character in “Getaway” is quite rebellious. Can you relate to that at all? Have you ever had a rebellious phase in your youth?
Gomez: Am I still in my youth? I hope I am! No, I think it was really fun for me to pretend to know about cars and technology, because I know nothing about that, so I did actually get to learn a lot. As far as having one in my real life, I don’t know…
Hawke: It’s coming!
Gomez: I stole Chapstick when I was 7 at a store
Hawke: I don’t think that qualifies.
Gomez: I don’t know.
How was it handling the gun? Did you know how to do that before filming “Getaway”?
Gomez: I kind of knew, but Courtney wanted me to figure it out on my own, because I was supposed to be a young kid, and I wasn’t supposed to be a professional at that. So I did learn how to hold it properly, but I was scared. It was definitely the weirdest thing. I kind of felt like it was cool.
Selena, did you feel pressure acting opposite an established actor such as Ethan Hawke?
Hawke: Yeah, she was so nervous.
Gomez: I was actually nervous. What helped was that Courtney, Ethan and myself, we actually got to rehearse a lot, and [Ethan Hawke] made me feel comfortable immediately. I actually have sheets of notes that they would say out loud and I would just write them all down, from what Courtney would say to Ethan would say, so I was really comfortable and they were really great to me.
Selena, your character in “Getaway” is grittier than the characters that you tend to play. What do you say to fans who might thing you’ve become grittier in real life?
Gomez: I’ve already passed that. We did “Spring Breakers,” and I think they get it. I feel like half the time they don’t give kids my age or younger enough credit, because obviously they see who I am and they see I get to play a character and get to be completely different. It was fun. It was good. I think they’ll enjoy it.
What was your character’s name in “Getaway”? It wasn’t made clear in the movie.
Gomez: I was The Kid. Mysterious!
What was your first car? And since you filmed “Getaway,” has your driving gotten better or worse in real life?
Hawke: My first car was kind of sad. My first car was when my parents had completely worn out their Toyota Corolla that they had for 16 years or something. They gave me, for my 19th birthday, this really ancient Toyota.
So that was my first car. And I loved it. I thought it was amazing, and I drove it cross-country. It was not aesthetically appealing in any way. It was it fast. It did not handle well, but it lasted forever. I drove cross-country and back, and then I gave it to my sister, and she drove it for another 10 years.
Gomez: That’s great.
Hawke: I’m representing for Toyota here.
Gomez: My [first car] was actually pretty sad too. I got my first car when I was 16, but I didn’t have a license. It was a Ford Escape. And I just let it sit there for two years, because I enjoyed having my mom drive me.
When I was 18, I finally got my license, and then I drove it. I’ve been driving ever since this year. So I’ve had that car forever. My driving has not improved. I cannot drive that well. I drive slow and I try to be safe, because I’m in Los Angeles, so it’s crazy.
Solomon: I didn’t get [a first car]. I drove my mother’s car. It was a silver Honda Accord.
Hawke: That’s why we’re doing a movie about a Shelby Cobra — because none of us had a cool car. If we had one, we would have moved on.
Ethan and Selena, what attracted you to the “Getaway” script?
Hawke: I just thought it’s very difficult to make any kind of action movie that might be unique or worth watching, and there’s something so simple about the idea of making a movie about one car chase. It had a simplicity to it that I thought made it unique and fun and one that I’d be interested to see. That’s usually my barometer.
In a lot of action movies, it doesn’t matter who plays the part — insert 50-year-old male, insert 27-year-old-female — it’s so much about the explosions and things like that. In this movie, I thought whoever the actors were would have an opportunity to make an impact on the film. So it became more interesting to me because of that.
Gomez: I’ve been wanting to do different things, starting with “Spring Breakers,” and then doing some other fun roles. I wanted to do an action movie. The opportunity to be a tomboy that knows about all this stuff I don’t know about.
I got to dye my hair black (I asked Courtney if I could dye it black), just getting the opportunity to be someone else. And obviously, being able to work with Ethan made this movie an honor. It was fun.
Hawke: A dubious honor.
For more info: "Getaway" website