Almost exactly one year ago, Yahoo Movies UK took a trip to Berlin to visit the set of Elizabeth Banks’ Charlie’s Angels reboot.
Between watching some of the action involved (we saw multiple takes of Kristen Stewart using a curtain to flip, on a set designed to look like a San Paulo roof terrace) we sat down with the key creatives behind the movie, including writer/director Elizabeth Banks, and her Angels, Kristen Stewart and Naomi Scott, as well as Bosley himself, Patrick Stewart.
We got some key intel about every element of the film’s creation, so here’s the seven most significant things you need to know about the female-fronted action flick before it explodes into UK cinemas on 29 November.
President Trump’s election ruined Elizabeth Banks’ pitch
“When I pitched the movie to Sony, I thought we’d have the first female president, so I thought it would be a great time,” Banks says.
“I actually think it’s an even better time to tell the story. It’s female empowerment dressed up for everybody. It’s a story about women at work, but at the same time it’s a story about someone trying to find a home, who isn’t living to her full potential who’s being held back at work, and the Angels set her free.”
They wanted to make the Angels relatable to the audience
“I wanted relatability, and I wanted a sense of surprise. I wanted people to be surprised by who these women are and what they can do. I wanted it to be a little more relatable, I love the idea that real girls get to sit in the audience and see themselves in the movie,” Banks says.
“There’s no pressure to be anything other than who we are. You think ‘Oh I’ve been cast in Charlie’s Angels, I need to get a six pack.’ But no, you just need to be honest and present and strong,” Kristen Stewart confirms.
It might make men angry - but that’s not the film’s intention
“Piers Morgan won’t like it,” Banks says.
“It’s a weird common thread right now,” Kristen Stewart says, “there’s this weird retaliation, this idea that there are things that men and women are good at, so why don’t you do those things and we’ll do our things. And it’s like, what? So, for anyone that has that thought process, they’ll probably think this is annoying and that we’re trying to assert ourselves in some way or whatever.”
“I think people will read gender into things that are just action movie tropes, but because women are doing it, it’ll be somehow politicised,” Banks says, “when we’re literally trying to make an action movie where the protagonists are women and not men. We’re not trying to make a politically charged movie.”
The cast were fans of the original movies, including Kristen Stewart
“I was really into them. I watched them and loved them, and laughed a lot and totally wanted to grow up and be an Angel,” Kristen Stewart says.
“Especially at that age,” Scott agrees. “There’s something about growing up and seeing these bad-ass women on screen. I want to be them.”
“There’s also something so casual about them. We enjoy each other, and you can’t fake that. They’re having fun, and they’re getting it done. It’s cool to do an action movie that’s not serious, but is also grounded and well intentioned. We are cackling nimrods on set all day, because we can’t stop laughing at each other,” Kristen Stewart continues.
Patrick Stewart hadn’t seen the show
“I am quite psyched to be part of an iconic movie world like Charlie’s Angels. I never saw it as a TV show, ever - but I think it’s correct, there is a huge appeal about this script and the way the movie’s being shot and performed, that does speak to the empowerment of women.”
“I feel as one of the guys on the movie, I feel it’s appropriate I say that. I’m emotionally very affected by that, and it makes me feel proud to be part of something.”
“And there is always a thrill when you enter into an existing ideology or world, whether it’s Star Trek, or X-Men, or Charlie’s Angels.”
“I can reveal very little about what I do in the movie, because it’ll encourage you to spoiler-alert. But things don’t work out the way they look as if they’re going to, from my point of view. From my character’s point of view, everything’s working out beautifully.”
Atomic Blonde was an inspiration for Elizabeth Banks
“There’s less oners [one-take shots] and less blood, but I was really inspired by Atomic Blonde, I said early on in the process of the fight training that things should hurt.
“They’re not superheroes, so this isn’t the Avengers fighting with hard suits on, they’re getting beaten up. But there’s still a sense of beauty and fantasy about what we’re doing as well,” Banks says.
As was Kingsman
“Very much it is,” Banks confirms when asked if Kingsman is also an influence.
“I thought Kingsman did a great send-up of the Bond movies. It’s really hard to make an international Charlie’s Angels movie without nodding to all the tropes of those great spy movies. We’re playing around with the Cold War, everything that would have happened from 1976 until now, that tradition, that legacy of being a spy in today’s world. That’s something we’re playing with, as did Kingsman.”
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Charlie’s Angels is released in the UK on 29 November.