From Paris With Love: Pierre Morel directs another thriller

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Pierre Morel (Taken) is the director of “From Paris With Love,” which stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers and John Travolta. The film is being released February 5 by Lionsgate.


After directing Liam Neeson in the dark thriller, TAKEN, director Pierre Morel looked forward to combining action and comedy in FROM PARIS WITH LOVE. “This project is more about the relationship between the two guys, who aren’t supposed to work well with each other but they have to, and that’s what makes it fun,” he explains. “It starts out like a funny buddy movie and evolves, slowly but surely, into a darker plot, all the way to the final twist.”

A Perfect Fit

“Pierre Morel was the perfect director for this project,” says Besson-Silla. “This is a buddy movie with a lot of comedic dialogue and situations, and also a drama because the backdrop to the story is terrorism, which of course is anything but comic. Pierre has the subtlety to make a movie that combines comedy with a very dramatic story totally credible.”

Impressing a Legend

Travolta, who has worked with many of the industry’s best directors, reports that he was impressed by Morel during production. “Pierre has a high intelligence, a good sense of logic and a desire to really make a good movie. He’s a very elegant man and a good communicator. He’s filled with good ideas, and the crew respected him and worked very hard for him. He has a very strong passion for this.”

“He’s the most patient person I’ve ever met in my life,” adds Kasia Smutniak. “He always puts you in a good mood and I felt safe. He always gives you a lot of space to improvise.”

Balancing Perceptions

Born and bred in Paris, Morel had to consider how to shoot his native city in a manner that was appealing to foreigners, while remaining grounded in the gritty, every day reality of the story. “You’re always torn between making Paris look like a postcard and making it like Paris really is,” he admits. “In the beginning, we go to the Eiffel Tower and the nice parts of Paris and then, slowly but surely, we drift towards the edges, the places in Paris that people don’t want to see.”

Morel’s balancing act with the film’s tone also extended to the action scenes themselves. He was careful to choreograph sequences that were less dark than those featured in TAKEN, while adding a subtle comic touch to the action. With this in mind, Morel sought to take advantage of Travolta’s skills as a dancer, featured most notably in his iconic performances in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER and GREASE. “We choreographed all his fights and moves and stuff in a very swinging and dancing way,” the director says. “It really is more like choreography in the dance sense than fight choreography.”