Brad Pitt won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor by playing stuntman Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” so it’s only fitting he performed nearly all of his own stunts for follow-up project “Bullet Train.” The action movie from “John Wick,” “Deadpool 2,” and “Atomic Blonde” director David Leitch stars Pitt as one of several hitmen who engage in bloody warfare aboard a speeding train. The supporting cast includes fellow Oscar winner Sandra Bullock, plus Michal Shannon, Joey King, Brian Tyree Henry, Zazie Beetz, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Bad Bunny.
“Brad did 95 percent of his physical stunts — the fighting,” Greg Rementer, the second-unit director and stunt coordinator on “Bullet Time,” recently told Vulture. “He’s like a natural-born athlete. He really got in there!”
Rementer said Pitt’s worth ethic extended to the entire cast, adding, “Never have I ever done so many huge actors in one feature where all of them excelled at the physical movement of our training. So Brad, Brian, Michael Shannon, Hiroyuki Sonada, Andrew Koji — who was already a stud in terms of where he comes from with the show ‘Warrior’ — all these actors put out some great action and did a lot of their [own] stuff.”
“Bullet Train” is based on the graphic novel “Maria Beetle” by Kōtarō Isaka and marks a reunion between Pitt and Leitch. The director served as Pitt’s stunt double on films such as “Troy,” “Fight Club,” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” before making the jump to the director’s chair with his breakout “John Wick.” Once Pitt joined “Bullet Train,” the rest of the star-studded ensemble quickly joined.
“We were fortunate to be shooting in LA during a time when artists were ready to get back to work and having Brad on the project — hot off an Oscar win and having a great script by Zak Olkewicz — really did attract the best people,” Leitch told Vulture. “We were able to get people back to work safely during a pandemic, which is pretty amazing.”
“Bullet Train” was filmed under strict COVID safety guidelines during the fall. Sony Pictures is behind the action tentpole, which carries a reported production budget north of $80 million. The film does not yet have a release date, although a 2021 launch is possible.