Why the ‘Beverly Hills Cop” director chose to film an actual car falling off a building over using CGI: ‘The stakes are real, and the danger is real.’

Why the ‘Beverly Hills Cop” director chose to film an actual car falling off a building over using CGI: ‘The stakes are real, and the danger is real.’
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Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.
Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.

  • Director Mark Molloy chose to use practical effects for the ‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F’ action scenes.
  • Molloy aimed to replicate the gritty realism of the original films from the ’80s.
  • “I wanted to ground it,” Molloy said. “The stakes are real, and the danger is real.”

In an era when everything from car chases to even kisses in movies can be done with computer-generated visual effects, director Mark Molloy wanted to go against the grain with “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F” by doing all the action sequences with practical effects.

Molloy was set on his stance from the beginning, when he took his first meetings with franchise producer Jerry Bruckheimer and got the offer to direct the sequel, which was decades in the making.

“I went to Jerry and said, ‘I love this but I want to make an ’80s action comedy, I want to shoot everything in-camera,'” Molloy recalled to Business Insider during a recent chat over Zoom.

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Mark Molloy with headphones around his neck and looking at a camera
Mark Molloy on the set of “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.”

Though “Axel F” marks Molloy’s feature directing debut after decades of commercial work and directing TV in his native Australia, the filmmaker knew instantly that the only way a fourth “Beverly Hills Cop” movie would work would be if it stayed true to the texture and attitude of the beloved first two movies, which were box office hits and made Eddie Murphy a superstar in the late 1980s (let’s just forget there was a third movie).

“A lot of films these days, everything is so VFX-heavy that there’s a perfection there,” he said. “I wanted to ground it. The stakes are real, and the danger is real. Like films 1 and 2, those were gritty films.”

Bruckheimer loved the idea, which led to Molloy filming Murphy driving a massive snow plow through rows of parked cars in Detroit and a scene in which they actually had a car fall off the side of a building in Los Angeles.

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Car hanging from side of the road
All real.

“We had to shut down part of the I-10 to do that,” Molloy said with glee, referring to one of the busiest freeways in Los Angeles.

In that scene, Axel Foley’s daughter Jane, played by Taylour Paige (“Zola”), gets a visit from the movie’s bad guys, who end up yanking the car off the side of the parking garage. (Though doing this stunt for real was fun, Molloy pointed out Paige was not in the car when that stunt was filmed. Safety first.)

“It was a perfect location that we found, but it’s literally right next to the I-10, so we had to close part of that down, or people were going to get into crashes if they suddenly saw a car fall off the side of a building,” Molloy said.

Helicopter above a helipad
That was a real helicopter going through the streets of LA.

But the action sequence that kept him up at night was the helicopter scene. Toward the end of the movie, Foley and Detective Abbott (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) steal a police helicopter to escape Grant (Kevin Bacon), the crooked police captain. Aside from the interior shots of Murphy and Gordon-Levitt in the cockpit, the entire sequence used a real helicopter that did everything from freefalling between buildings to flying so low that there were sparks as it scraped the road. The sequence concludes with the chopper landing not so gracefully in front of the Beverly Hills Town Hall.

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Looking back on it now, Molloy laughs in disbelief at how he tackled such ambitious scenes. “It was very challenging.”

“Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F” is now available on Netflix.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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