Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton will be seen in a never-before-avatar in All The Old Knives. The film, adapted by the book of the same title by Olen Steinhauer and directed by Janus Metz Pedersen, is an espionage thriller that revolves around two spies — Henry (Pine) and Celia (Newton) — and a disastrous hijack that rocks their world. Not only is Pine leading the film, but he is also among the producers of the film. While we are not going to delve into the details of the plot, we did get a chance to speak with director Pedersen about the film and he was all praise for Pine and Newton.
“It was a really joyful collaborative generous experience. We spent a lot of time discussing the script, reading the scenes, and interrogating each and every scene so that we could all feel that this was the best version of what the scene could be. They’re both extraordinary, talented, gifted people and have a very strong sense of drama and a strong sense of craft, so for me it was such a rich joyful experience,” he said.
Asked if he could pick between Pine as an actor or Pine as the producer, Pedersen revealed that the Wonder Woman actor is a laidback producer and trusts the team to do what they need to do. That’s the kind of producer I like, someone that lets you do the job,” Pedersen said, with a smile.
“But my main collaboration with Chris on this movie is obviously been in terms of his acting. He’s the male lead of the film, every day we would in the deep together trying to make the most of it and he’s a really generous and kind person to be around,” Pedersen explained. “We were in London during the lockdown for about six months. Chris was there for about four months during this time and we managed to take a walk around the park once in a while when we had something to talk about and he’s such a lovely person to work with,” he added.
All The Old Knives was shot during the lockdown. While the pandemic did not change the filmmaking experience as such, Pedersen confessed that people couldn’t bond after pack-up as they did during the pre-pandemic era. “Over the course of time, I feel like you started missing the natural human interaction,” he said, adding, “Part of the fun of making a movie is you end up becoming one big family often and people get to know each other and you make friends, but this didn’t happen so much in this movie because of the pandemic, because we all had to go back to our lockdown apartments and then we would meet up the next day at work so it did have a grinding effect in the long-run.”
While the movie primarily revolves around the investigation of a hijack, it features a crucial intimate scene with Henry (Pine) and Celia (Newton) in the heart of it. The scene is an important turning point for the on-screen couple and the movie. Speaking about shooting the film, Pedersen revealed that an intimacy director was brought on sets for the shot and it was his first time working with an intimacy coordinator.
“This is actually the first time I worked with an intimacy coordinator because it is a fairly new thing in the industry and it was just a really great experience because you creating a situation where there’s a lot of, we really have to trust each other and feel that what we do together is safe and the fact that you have someone whose sole job is to talk to the actors about what feels good for them and what they like and where their personal boundaries are and also someone who could actually help to make it feel more sensual and more real because that’s her expertise, it’s almost like a stunt coordinator with specific expertise in doing intimacy work so for me it was a great help and I feel very proud and I know that Chris and Newton too (are) with what could achieve with that scene,” he said.
The director revealed that the scene took two days to shoot. “We shot for two days, including rehearsals for that scene and it was such a wonderful moment of sharing something that was so important to the story and that’s also a real challenge to achieve, make and feel as real and profound as it does in this film,” he said.
Pedersen explained that the scene was crucial for the film as the scene forms the ‘heart of the story’. Asked if Pine and Newton felt any hesitation before filming, the director said, “My sense was and how I remember it was we were all very humble and curious about how we could make that moment feel as profound as it is for Henry and Cilia and the story. It’s a great feat of acting for both of them, I was very honoured and proud that we could go to that length together to create that scene.”