Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Skyscraper is filled with massive action sequences, a number of them involving dangling from crazy high precipices, but its big finale offers a rather complex final showdown. The big battle between the heroes and the villains takes place in a room filled with mirrors, and as a result you’re left never being 100% sure if you’re looking at a person or a reflection. It winds up being very confusing for the characters in the movie, but it was also challenging for the film’s stars — as actor Chin Han recently told me:
That was the hardest scene to shoot, the climax, because we were in a hall of mirrors. When you shoot in any scene with glass and mirrors it’s always hard because, for one thing, cameras are moving and they have to be moving in a way that they are not caught the reflection, or that you can see other camera’s moving. And then on top of that for the actor, we just need to know whether we are shooting at the person or shooting at a reflection, or a reflection of the reflection of a person.
With Skyscraper arriving on home video this week, I recently had the opportunity to hop on the phone with Chin Han to talk about his experience filming the movie. I asked him about what the greatest challenge was on set, and he went into detail about the final fight, and why it was not only complicated from an acting standpoint, but from a cinematography standpoint as well.
Because of all the mirrors on set — and no, it wasn’t just all CGI — there was a very important awareness of camera placement, and that resulted in all of the actors needing to execute what was essentially very specific choreography. One step the wrong way results in a camera adjustment, and that adjustment could blow the take. As Chin Han explained it,
So it’s almost like a ballet, right? The floor is marked up with all these areas that we can move and can’t move, and we really had to shoot that very carefully, very slowly. It took more than a week to shoot, but he was also a lot of fun to do.
In retrospect, Chin Han seemed proud of the work he did in the film, and also noted that there actually was a lot more to the scene that audiences didn’t get to see in theaters. That being said, if you pick up the Blu-ray or DVD, you’ll get an extended look:
Physically, it was challenging because there’s a lot of jumping and running and gunning and obviously what you see in the movie is what you see the movie, but we shot a lot more, and you probably get to see some of it in the bonus features.
In Skyscraper, Chin Han plays Zhao Long Ji, the man responsible for the construction of a building that is not only the tallest in Hong Kong, but easily the most technologically advanced. Unfortunately, he also has some dark secrets from his past that come back to haunt him, and when his building is set on fire, his only real hope for rescue is Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson), a U.S. Marine war veteran and retired FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader.