Robert Luketic found both joy and luck with Paranoia. After making a name for himself filming romantic comedies, he has finally got back to the genre he loves with Paranoia: The thriller. Also, with the wiretapping scandal rocking Washington, D.C., the filmmaker could not believe how art was imitating life… and vice versa. “I was cutting it in Australia when all of that was happening and I couldn’t believe it,” Luketic told Movie Fanatic exclusively.
As seen in the Paranoia trailer, the film stars Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman as rival telecom corporation heads with Liam Hemsworth’s character stuck in the middle. The plot gets tense when Hemsworth never can tell when he's alone, when he's being watched and which side is right and wrong... or maybe has shades of gray.
We caught up with Luketic, who previously helmed Legally Blonde, The Ugly Truth and Killers and chatted about his return to the thriller as well as achieving a lifelong goal of working with legends Ford and Oldman.
Movie Fanatic: You’ve directed a wide variety of movies over the years… but particularly romantic comedies.
Robert Luketic: I fell into romantic comedies by accident! I’ve always made movies like 21 or Paranoia in the early days of film school. In the final year of film school I made a musical comedy and that kind of branded me for the next 15 years [laughs]. It wasn’t until 21 that I was able to breathe and get back to what I love. Paranoia is more me than those other films ever were. I was 23 when all this happened (Legally Blonde) and I had not defined who I was going to be as a filmmaker.
Movie Fanatic: How did that change then?
Robert Luketic: I started working and having success and I just went with it until I couldn’t take it any longer [laughs]. I decided to stop, even if it meant having a gap of two or three years until I find something I want to do. That’s what it took. Once we identified what the project was, and Liam Hemsworth came on board and Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford, it all came together rather nicely.
Movie Fanatic: You’re not working with one, but three legends in Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman and Richard Dreyfuss in Paranoia. As a film connoisseur, what was that like professionally and personally?
Robert Luketic: On a personal level, I grew up essentially feasting on the world that was the worlds of Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Jaws. Harrison Ford is a fellow pilot who flies jets. He was somebody who I just wanted to meet, let alone work with. To have fulfilled that personal dream to meet Ford, and then have him hang out with me and work, was truly incredible. Gary Oldman, I was always intimidated by. But, when I met the man… what a pleasure that was. Richard Dreyfuss, you know, is just amazing. Harrison’s worked with Spielberg and so has Dreyfuss and I am fascinated by all things Spielberg. I was asking them a lot of questions about what he was like. As a movie fanatic, it was a true pleasure.
Movie Fanatic: On the other end of the spectrum in terms of experience is Liam Hemsworth. When did you first become aware of him? Back in Australia? And why was he right for this role?
Robert Luketic: The first piece of the Paranoia puzzle was who Adam was. His name was brought up to me. He had that role in The Hunger Games. I watched that, but it wasn’t enough to get a sense. But, once I sat down with him… he spoke about how much he wanted it. He told me what he was going to do with it. It became a meeting of the minds. He was saying exactly what I was thinking.
Movie Fanatic: Does this movie make you look at your cell phone or iPad any differently?
Robert Luketic: Oh yeah. If you knew what these devices were capable of, you would be shocked. We had some high level -- and I can’t reveal my sources -- sources who advised us. It was extraordinary to see how much we can be watched… with so little effort by those who want or need to follow us. You hear about all these actors who have their pictures and phone numbers stolen off their phones? I found out that it happens in nightclubs where people have the equipment and know-how. You think you’re encrypted or password protected? That means nothing.