Arts & Entertainment

Latest Michael Bay thriller pays homage to ambulance workers

Madrid, Mar 25 (EFE).- American director Michael Bay, known for crowd-pleasing Hollywood blockbusters like “Armageddon” and the Transformers film series, presented here Friday a new thriller titled “Ambulance” that stars Jake Gyllenhaal and pays homage to first responders.

The picture, which will premiere in the United States on April 8 and in Spain on April 13 and is based on a like-named 2005 Danish film, is mostly set inside a hijacked ambulance and features the non-stop action and explosions that are Bay’s specialty.

The plot is centered on two adoptive siblings – Will (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a war veteran unable to afford the six-figure cost of his wife’s surgery; and Danny (Gyllenhaal), a charming career criminal who talks him into taking part in the biggest bank heist in the history of Los Angeles.

The film, whose action unfolds on a single day, was shot over a period of 39 days in the City of Angels in early 2021 when that metropolis was on lockdown.

“What I liked about the concept, it was something you can shoot fast, safely during the pandemic. Because when you do a movie with a lot of extras, it would make it way too hard and too dangerous. This was a smaller group of people,” Bay said.

The director said of the key to his success in the film industry that there’s no magic formula other than loving what you do.

“Critics can be rough on me. Whatever,” he said. “I make it for the audience. OK. And my movies are known around the world … And when you see a packed movie house, and you see them enjoying it. That’s who I make movies for.”

Bay and Gyllenhaal, an actor known for his work in psychological dramas like “Enemy” and “Nightcrawler,” as well as the emotionally gripping “Brokeback Mountain,” might initially seem to be an odd couple.

But the American actor said he was happy to take on a different sort of challenge.

“(Bay) is frenetic, but I was surprised to know that he loves actors and … giving (them) room to play,” Gyllenhaal said. “And that wasn’t something I would have expected from one of the most successful action directors in the world.”

“He was up for everything. Any choice you made, anything you wanted to do, he wanted to try it. He knows that there’s something to discover everywhere, and you never know when it’s going to happen. So I think that was a great surprise for me,” the actor said.

Bay, meanwhile, said Gyllenhaal excelled in his role as a charismatic villain.

“Some days he plays a whacked-out character, but he’s so charming in this movie. Even though he’s a bad guy, you like him,” the director said. “And he can convince you to buy ice in the North Pole. But he’s a little off his rocker … and he starts spiraling down. But he keeps trying to convince his brother. And he’s doing this for the love of his brother and his brother’s family.”

Abdul-Mateen, a former city planner whose previous roles have included “Aquaman” (2018), “The Matrix Resurrections” (2021) and the television series “Watchmen,” said he also wanted to do something different and portray a character that doesn’t possess superpowers and instead is “rooted in the real world.”

He said his character is a “good-hearted person” but one whose “back was against the wall.”

Referring to the action, Abdul-Mateen noted that the film has virtually no special effects or computer-generated imagery.

“Shot for shot, everything that you see in that shot, actually happened. There’s no, not to my knowledge, any sort of CGI or anything,” he said. “It was real, and that’s a bizarre thing to actually experience.” EFE


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