Just when you thought you’d seen every action sequence Hollywood could imagine, Michael Davis comes up with "Shoot ‘Em Up." The film stars Clive Owen as a gunfighter carrying a newborn baby through hails of gunfire for the entire film. Though he could have cheated by using a doll for most shots, Davis actually found a way to incorporate real infants.
"If we would have shot here in LA, the rule of shooting with an infant is that they can only be in front of the camera for a half hour a day," said Davis. "I didn’t know that. But, when we went up to Canada, the babies could work for eight hours a day. They can work 15 minutes on in front of the camera and then they need a 20 minute break. But, we had twins so virtually we could have a baby whenever we wanted. It eased it up a lot."
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Of course, some shots just have to be created with digital effects, but audiences will be hard pressed to pick those out. "We got very lucky. There’s a few doll shots. There are a few or a number of digital face replacements where we videoed the baby’s head. But, we got really lucky. A lot of the time, whenever possible, I had the live baby. We just couldn’t cheat it. It was a great call on our part. We were really nervous about working with babies and action and all of that."
Even in some of the big gunfights, Owen is holding the real baby. The trick is to not actually fire the guns. "The babies were not around when we fired live loads, but obviously now you could do the digital muzzle flashes. We could have the baby around. We just cheated it. It was a combination of about how tight we were and what the action was. The mom that we got was a total sport. She was there all the time and let us do whatever we wanted with the babies within reason."