The Misfits Director Renny Harlin on Blending Action and Comedy for the New Crime Thriller

The Four Percent


Having delivered audiences films like Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, and Deep Blue Sea, filmmaker Renny Harlin is no stranger to offering break-neck action or intense thrillers, with his latest film, The Misfits, requiring him to not only embrace his action roots, but also inject heaping helpings of comedy. Of course, Harlin is no stranger to injecting levity into his pictures, no matter how intense they might be, but The Misfits delves far deeper into that realm than previous efforts, with even the film’s narrative offering a self-reflexive sense of humor. The Misfits is in theaters now and hits VOD on June 15th.

“I regard myself, in real life, as a little bit of a funny guy, I would say, and I love a good joke, I love to laugh, I love telling stories and entertaining people, and it’s just somehow, you get categorized in a certain way in the film business and I’ve been known for hardcore action stuff and some thrillers or horror films,” Harlin shared with ComicBook.com about embracing his comedic sensibilities. “It’s not so easy to get people to think of me when it comes to more comedic things. It was a great relief for me and I really enjoyed it and just the atmosphere of the set is completely different when you’re making a movie that can be funny and you can have fun with things. I loved that, I loved the process of making comedy.”

He added, “And also, to me, it’s not just about the script, it’s not just about what people do or say, it’s also about the camera use. The kind of lenses that you use and how you shoot things where you can really, with the technology of your using, you can really support comedy and the actors and their performances. That, to me, is a really fun challenge and I just love it. The same way as, also in action, or if I’m doing — I just finished shooting a horror film, same way, again, the camera is so important. Where you put the camera, what you show the audience, what you don’t show them, what the pace is that you create, it’s like telling a joke. You can ruin a joke by telling it the wrong way, but if you time it just the right way, then you have people on the edge of their seats.”

In the new film, even a federal maximum-security prison can’t hold Richard Pace (Golden Globe nominee Pierce Brosnan), a brilliant international thief. But his daring escape and high-octane car chase, eluding the FBI and police, ends with him being scooped up by “The Misfits,” a band of modern-day Robin Hoods. Led by the eccentric and charismatic Ringo (Nick Cannon) with Violet (Jamie Chung), the Prince (Rami Jaber), and Wick (Mike Angelo) with Pace’s daughter Hope (Hermione Corfield)— a mysterious group who do devious things for all the right reasons. The skilled group convinces Pace to join them to pull off the heist of the century: stealing millions in gold bars kept under one of the most secure prisons on earth, owned by rogue businessman Schultz (Tim Roth), and used for funding terrorist groups worldwide. Aside from the money, Pace wants revenge against Schultz, the man behind his incarceration. From LA to Abu Dhabi, it will take supercharged engines, forged identities, multiple cons, camels, nitro, and massive explosions to succeed.

“Like everybody in Hollywood, I read a lot of scripts and a lot of them are not so good and I look for something that I find entertaining when I’m reading it,” the filmmaker expressed. “I always say, I know in three pages whether I’m gonna like it or not. In three pages, I can just put it down and say it’s not gonna work. So, first of all, I look for characters that I would be interested in following. I look for plotlines that will be surprising and I look for different genres. Obviously, I’m known for action and a little bit of horror, for me, it has to be something that is visual, where I can use the camera in an interesting way and tell a story that would entertain me. In the case of The Misfits, I hadn’t really done a movie like this. I love comedic action, I love comedy in general. To me, whenever you can make audiences feel something in the theater, whether you laugh or you’re scared or you’re emotionally moved, then you’ve done your job. Making a movie that’s not a total, total comedy, but still make a movie that has comedic elements, it’s a lot of fun. Just being on the set is fun because the actors, with your DP, you’re just thinking, ‘How do we twist this scene a little bit more? How do we add spice to it to make it more fun?'”

While the film features an impressive ensemble of performers, Harlin noted that he was most surprised by Corfield, who he cast after seeing in another action spectacle.

“It’s funny how I cast her. I remembered her from a little role in Mission: Impossible,” Harlin pointed out. “She has, like, one scene with Tom Cruise but I remember watching [Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation] but there was one scene and I thought, ‘Wow, they really cast a great actress for just such a short period in this story.’ I sought her out because of that scene and she really turned out to be amazing. The heart of the movie is really her relationship with her dad, who’s Pierce, so that, to me, if you’re asking about what surprised me, what surprised me in a positive way was how their chemistry was and how close they felt. Their relationship, to me, was beautiful.”

The Misfits is in theaters now and hits VOD on June 15th.

Are you looking forward to the new film? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!



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