Thriller diller “Hunter Killer” is set on a ship. So where to open it? On a ship. The Intrepid.
The film’s godfather and star Gerard Butler, what’s he know about submarines?
“Nothing. I read books. I saw them in movies. I took journeys in my head. I dreamt possibilities of commanding them some day. It was 2011 when I read the script, but it took me eight years to bring this together.
“That’s because the Cold War at the time was over. No friction then with Russia. A chilling tense nuclear catastrophe, secret Russian coup, Navy SEALs braving enemy waters to stop WWIII, didn’t feel right then. It felt like from another era. Now, you bring it into today, and it feels right.
“They had another role in mind for me. I said, ‘No. I’m going to play the sub captain. I want to be able to give the commands. The role that shows authority, power.’ I loved projecting the moment-to- moment authenticity. I began assimilating facts off- and on-screen so that real people who do this respect you as an actor.
“There are long tight scenes. We’re way under the ocean holding on for dear life. Tension crisis in Russian waters. Whathehell’s a commander do? He has a young crew. For authenticity, we painstakingly met with naval engineers, investigated torpedo rooms, digital maps, LCD systems. An actual sub commander came with us four months before shooting and began to teach us commands, like who moves where.
“Filming was claustrophobic. I myself went down in the USS Houston to see. We built our sets slightly wider, extra dimensions, because it’s a crew of 15 plus a camera crew of 10 and in that small space it’s hot, sweaty and intense.
“I’ve screened this three times for four-star admiral sub commanders.”
And then this tough heroic playtime naval hero got up to hug co-star Common.
Not your average Common film
Common: “I loved my scary part. I studied the script. Look, I only knew submarines as a kid from video games. I didn’t know anything. I went to visit one and stayed at a naval base three days. Our director replicated and constructed a sub, which we lived in. We filmed in London.
“I’m grateful to be in this. I’ve been lousy in a couple of movies. Like I won’t forget my work in ‘Date Night.’ Uggghh. I was nervous when I began as an actor. I started to study the profession, and I took lessons and then I wanted more. I dug deeper. I spent every waking moment learning. I’m hard on myself.”
Bits & pieces
Yankee Stadium Monday. Rain poured down and along with 47,000 fans pouring in were the Three Wise Men: B. Clinton, R. Giuliani, B. O’Reilly . . . After awards playing majesties (head shaved for “Mary, Queen of Scots”) and before “King Lear” here, Glenda Jackson is now recording more royals for BBC radio. Forget Emmy, Tony and Oscar. Miss Jackson deserves an ermine stole . . . It’s Grammy nominee Janelle Monáe at the 92nd Street Y. For $40, you can hear her talk about opportunities, work, initiative, women, whatever on Tuesday. And Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. for an extra five bucks you can hear Tom Hanks. And for the literary, coming up is Jon Hamm and John Turturro doing a reading of Philip Roth’s masterpiece “The Plot Against America.”
Odds & ends
Rich folks are growing older — and colder. And property, like Florida weather, is hot. Said one: “Banks give you nothing, so better to buy real estate.”
I once wrote that Broadway producer Terry Allen Kramer was selling her 5 Palm Beach acres. She then said no. She now says yes. I’ve enjoyed this glorious estate, and it’s up for $135 mil. The town’s previously most expensive residential sale was DJT’s $95 million in 2008.
What a scene
Crates of crews yesterday were at 150 W. 26th, where BD Wong once lived and Tim Allen once owned a place. Comedy Central’s “Broad City” shot a scene of an air conditioner dribbling onto star Ilana Glazer. A second-floor unit got the close-up.
Queens Boulevard smartass: “Political pros don’t grow on trees. They swing from them.”
Only in New York, kids, only in New York.
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