Universal's Cape Town-set thriller Safe House is almost upon us, and following the recent trailer, here's a new poster. It's two for the price of one!
In the black-and-white corner, a smart-but-casual Ryan Reynolds looks wary and concentrates on not dropping his gun. And in the other black-and-white corner, Denzel Washington stares malevolently at us in close-up.
There's a bit of He Got Game about the Washington side, minus the big afro. And there's more than a bit of the Bournes about the Reynolds section, which is actually Universal taking the bull by the horns, since they're resigned to comparisons.
"Inevitably we’ll be compared to Bourne on some levels," producer Scott Stuber told Empire when we visited the set, "but Safe House is a very different film. Bourne is pre-programmed to fire a gun and fight at a level Ryan's character simply isn't. He’s got some training, but not enough for what he’s up against."
What he's up against is the forces aligned against out-of-control CIA man Washington, who's been brought to Reynolds' quiet back-woods safe house for processing. "Tobin Frost, Denzel’s character, is like a myth, like this Carlos The Jackal character," explains Stuber. "He's a black ops guy who went rogue and they’ve not been able to catch him, but out of nowhere he ends up in Cape Town. We needed a place where, when things start to go bad, the audience wouldn’t be asking why there weren’t a hundred CIA agents there, which there would be in London or Paris. Cape Town worked perfectly for us."
Bourne aside, Stuber says the reference points for Safe House have been films like Gomorrah, and director Daniel Espinosa's previous Snabba Cash, "and we talked a lot about 70s movies like Sidney Lumet's, and the car stuff in Ronin and French Connection, just from an inspirational standpoint. But obviously you try to make every movie your own, so you see things here that you haven’t seen before, so that’s been kind of exciting! Ryan and Denzel have really stepped up to one another: it's like watching Federer and Nadal going at it!"
They had us at "Federer and Nadal". Safe House is out in the UK on February 24.