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Thriller 'Last Passenger' shows random strangers trapped on a speeding train

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"Last Passenger," written and directed by Omid Nooshin, is a taut thriller that all takes place inside of a runaway London commuter train. It's fun to imagine what you would do if you forced into such a terrifying predicament. The suspenseful action film stars Dougray Scott, Iddo Goldberg, Kara Tointon, David Schofield, Lindsay Duncan and child actor Joshua Kaynama. Examiner Dorri Olds caught up with director Omid Nooshin on April 25 to talk about his heart pounding wild ride.

Dorri Olds: Were you influenced by other train movies like “Runaway Train” with John Voight and Eric Roberts or “The Taking of Pelham, 123” or “Unstoppable” with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine?

Omid Nooshin: I didn't want to be influenced by other train movies because I wanted to offer up something fresh. There was a vehicular action movie influence, Spielberg's "Duel." But otherwise the biggest influence on the script was "Rear Window" for its containment and emphasis on character.

Can you describe what makes “Last Passenger” different from those other films?

"Last Passenger" is a highly subjective take and is shot almost exclusively from the point of view of the train passengers. I'm much more interested in how ordinary people, with all their requisite quirks and vulnerabilities, react to extreme situations than those trained to do so.

Did it feel claustrophobic making the entire movie within a train?

Maybe more than you can ever imagine. Picture a long haul flight that goes on for five weeks and then picture trying to shoot a movie on that flight.

Were people getting uncomfortable and irritable with each other due to cabin fever?

Certainly towards the last couple of weeks of filming, but considering the cramped conditions it would have been almost inhuman not to feel uncomfortable.

There were two very antisocial characters: Iddo Goldberg’s Jan Klimowski and David Schofield’s Peter Carmichael. Did you imagine a backstory for each of them that would explain how they the got the way they were?

Every character in the movie had a full back-story based on a list of 100 questions which my co-writer Andy Love answered in great detail, based on discussions we'd had. The actors were each given a copy of these, and it was very much the hidden nine tenths of the iceberg.

Did everybody stick to the script or was there some improvisation?

They mostly stuck to the script although there is some imrpov here and there, especially with Iddo's character. I actually wanted to do much more but given our 5-week shooting schedule there simply wasn't time.

Who is your favorite director?

Kubrick.

What are your favorite action thrillers of all time?

It's hard to beat "Jaws" for thrills and spills coupled with great characters.

"Last Passenger" opens in New York City at Regal E-Walk 13, 247 on April 25, 2014. Action adventure suspense thriller. Rated R. 97 min.

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