Movie Interviews

Published on March 12th, 2014 | by Joseph Saulnier


Scott Waugh And Aaron Paul Talk Need For Speed

Last month I had the opportunity to sit down with Need for Speed director Scott Waugh and star Aaron Paul to speak with them about the upcoming film.  It was a kind of round table interview, so there were 5 of us in their from multiple media outlets.  Unfortunately, I was not able to get the names of the other journalists, so I cannot provide proper attribution.  They are listed below as Journalist 1, Journalist 2 and so on.  My apologies to them for that.  But it was a great interview.  After an introduction, and a discussion about the refreshments provided, we had some really great questions, and we even got some Seahawks love.  Enjoy!


Journalist 1:[to Aaron Paul] Tell us about an occasion in your past where you were driving recklessly outside the film set.


Aaron Paul:Oh man.  That’s never… happened.  No, I don’t know what you’re talking about [laughter ensues].  Be safe kids [more laughter].  I don’t know.  You know when you’re young and you get your license, it’s like the freedom of the road.  My first car was ’82 Toyota Corolla.  Gold-ish color.  Stick shift.  Any time it rained, the trunk would fill up with water.  But I loved that car.


Scott Waugh:We all have such a… Don’t we all remember our first car?  And like, have such an emotional relationship with it? 


Paul:        I honestly, I do think about that car.  Anytime… Anytime I see that car on the road… it puts a smile on my face. 


Waugh:  Man… the things I did in that car.  You gotta remember, I grew up out in the country with my dad, who’s a stunt man.  We grew up on a private road.  So, it was like a mile dirt road.  My dad taught me how to stunt drive on that road.  I had this Honda Civic, that was the car I had for like 4 years.  And I remember my parents used to send me down the road to go get the mail when I was young to learn how to drive.  I started to drift in the car and spin it around because it was private; we were allowed to do whatever we want on our own road.


                  My mom was always mad if I did that.  So one day I’m in the car and I’m driving down there.  I’m thinking to myself, “I’m gonna throw a 180 and come back up the hill.  Ah, my mom will never know.”  And just as I’m getting up to speed, I’m drifting it sideways, here comes my mother around the corner.  I’m got so yelled at and reprimanded.  But the only reason I could do that was because it was private.


                  Segue, sorry! [laughter]


Journalist 2:So you guys are planning on expanding this into a franchise here.  You’re hoping for sequels.


Waugh:  We’re hoping to work together again.


Paul:        Yeah.


Journalist 2:  Well I was just curious if you’re worried that people are going to compare this to The Fast and the Furious franchise?


Waugh:  No, not at all.  I think when they see the movie it’s going to be blatantly obvious that it’s nothing like it.


Paul:        Yeah.  Once you watch it, it’s just so apparent.  I mean when I saw the script on my desk, I instantly thought of Fast and the Furious.  And that’s fine, but once I started reading the script I was so excited about the story behind all these cars.  It was very character driven, story driven.  I was instantly invested in these characters.


Waugh:  And it’s an homage.


Paul:        It’s an homage.  He [Waugh] wanted to do a throwback to the classics.


Waugh:  It goes to the car culture movies that started the genre.


Paul:        That started the whole thing.


Waugh:  Bullitt.


Paul:        Vanishing Point.


Waugh:  We still quote Bullitt as the best car movie of all time.  We don’t quote Fast and Furious.  We quote Bullitt.  That’s the real deal.


Paul:        And Fast and the Furious, you know… those were fun movies.  But this is just a completely different thing.  They didn’t start the genre; they’re not gonna end the genre.  Car movies have been around forever.


Journalist 3:  [to Waugh] Having your experience be mostly in stunts, and coordinating stunts, did you find that you were able to get better action scenes then, say a traditional director would get?  And Aaron, did you notice the difference in that when he [Waugh] was directing you?


Paul:        It was such a perfect marriage, with Scott and this film.  He was born into a stunt family.  That was his world.  So he was the perfect guy holding the reigns.  Just guiding this film.


Waugh:  I was lucky.  You know you’re only as good as your experiences, and you can only show what you’ve seen.  So I was just lucky as a child, and until 35 I was doing stunts.  I’ve just seen so many things from my perspective.  And so when I direct my action movies, I’m trying to show the audience what I’ve seen and been lucky enough to have seen.  There’s no other directors that have done what I’ve done, so that’s probably why it feels different to the audience.  I’m just showing you, and hoping to give you the experience of, what I’ve been so blessed to have done.  And bringing that to the film…


Paul:        And the first thing he [Waugh] told me during our first conversation about this film, he said “I do not use CG.  All of these stunts are going to be practical and I’m going to need you to be behind the wheel in a lot of it.  You need to know how to drive.”  And that just… you know we’re just so used to being lied to.  And they’re fun movies, CG movies are great because they’re such a fantasy world.  But he goes, “I don’t want to fool the audience.  I want the audience to know it’s obvious that you’re driving these cars.  And it’s obvious that these stunts actually happened.”  Which I thought was very great.


Joseph Saulnier:  Scott, given this was your second feature film, and Aaron with your background portraying such an iconic character, what did you do differently to prepare for this film?


Waugh:  Um… differently. Wow.


Saulnier:  Was there a different mindset?


Waugh:  No.  You know I did documentaries before these and with every movie you do, you find out what the voice of the movie is.  And the style of the movie, and you stick to it.  When I gravitated towards this material, I always wanted to do a car movie.  I had my sights on just doing a car movie after Act of Valor.   Like they say, be careful what you wish for, because it came to fruition.  And I wanted to do a throwback.  And so I stayed true to that.  The next movie will be different.  That’s the wonderful thing about directing movies.  Every single one is different.


Paul:        Yeah, the same.  You know for me, I always try to do the polar opposite of what I’ve just done.  But in terms of preparation, it’s the same thing but you’re prepping for that particular film and that skin you’re about to zip on.  That character.


Waugh:  I was just so excited as a filmmaker to finally, in my career, to work with great talented actors.  It’s tough as you’re scrapping your way up as a filmmaker to get to work with people like Aaron Paul.  And so myself having a theatrical background, being able to direct someone like Aaron was fantastic.  It’s a director’s dream to work with the whole cast.  It was so good.


Paul:        It really was.  You put together just a… it was ridiculous how much fun we had.  It just doesn’t seem fair, but it was a blast.


Journalist 4:  Sorry, I’m a little hoarse from the [Seahawks Super Bowl Championship] parade.


Paul:        Good for you man.  Go Seahawks!


Waugh:  That’s awesome!


Paul:        That’s awesome!


Journalist 4:  It was fun. Do you have a favorite scene in the movie?


Waugh:  Favorite scene?  I’m personally proud of the… um…


Paul:        Moab?


Waugh:  Yeah, Moab.


Paul:        Moab, yeah.


Waugh:  You know it’s something that I don’t think anyone’s ever seen before.  And I’ve never done it before.  But with the helicopter and the car, doing it practically and for real was super-challenging.


Paul:        Yeah.  We shot that towards the end of the filming and I just kept saying, “Now wait.  Are you really… going to do this…”  When I read the script, at that part the first time I was like, “Okay, we’re going to do everything practical.  But you’re not going to drive a car off a cliff and have it caught by a helicopter.  That’s just not gonna… that’s not gonna happen.”  No that is gonna happen.  And I could not wait for it to happen.


Journalist 3:  Were you actually driving the car?


Paul:        No.  They would not let me drive the car.  But they did it.


Waugh:  There was uh… we’re not reckless.  At times when I knew safety was a huge factor, there were wonderful professional stuntmen that would take over and would execute those scenes so that Aaron could stay safe.  It’s not even a safety factor, sometimes you need people that have that experience and expertise level of driving in that situation.  In case something went awry, they knew how to handle that immediately and keep it going straight.  So that’s when we put professional stuntmen in the driver’s seat.


Paul:        [to Waugh] Did you just drive off once?


Waugh:  Yep.  I don’t believe in… uh.  I’ve found in my career…


Paul:        There’s no reason to…


Waugh:  There’s no reason to do a stunt over again.  I’ve seen so many accidents in my life.  I’ve seen people get killed in stunts by multiple… repetition of doing a stunt over and over.  And for some reason the director wanted to do it again, and I was like “Why?  The stunt was great, why are we doing it again?  The only thing that could happen is something bad.  We just did it.”  And so every time we did a stunt on this movie, it was once.



It was a great conversation about a great movie.  Need for Speed is in theaters this Friday, March 14, 2014.  Make sure to check it out.  It is well worth it.

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