Russian Director Recruits Pro Gamers to Finish Shooting Film in Quarantine

Timur Bekmambetov recruited pro gamers to remotely finish a dogfighting scene for his next film

Timur Bekmambetov is seen at the 'Profile' press conference during the 68th Berlinale International Film Festival Berlin at Grand Hyatt Hotel on February 17, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Timur Bekmambetov is seen at the 'Profile' press conference during the 68th Berlinale International Film Festival Berlin at Grand Hyatt Hotel on February 17, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
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By Bonnie Stiernberg / April 1, 2020 6:53 am

With the world in quarantine as we all try to slow the spread of COVID-19, movie sets — like bars, restaurants, live-music venues and pretty much any “non-essential” workplace — are shut down indefinitely. But as a new profile in the Guardian points out, Kazakh-Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov has found a way to keep shooting his latest flick, and it involves a scene shot entirely in a live video-game stream.

Bekmambetov, best known for the Angelina Jolie thriller Wanted, was hard at work on his new movie, a WWII fighter pilot saga called V2: Escape from Hell, when coronavirus shut things down. Unpertrubed, he had lead actor Pavel Priluchny film in a plane cockpit on a St. Petersburg soundstage with a limited crew while playing against real gamers. The director provided instruction remotely, from his hime in Kazan.

“One of the problems was the gamers were too good,” he told the Guardian. “They killed Pavel too quickly.”

“Virtual life is the most important part of our lives now,” Bekmambetov added. “This is where we fall in love, or develop new ideas, or betray each other, or whatever. Of course it would be a pleasure to sit with you in the same room, but more and more we accept this reality.”

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