Aired on CANAL + Première, Doug Liman’s “Locked Down” is a heist film unlike any other. Launched in full confinement, the project developed while the rest of the world was cloistered between four walls.
As a global pandemic rages, a London couple take advantage of deserted streets and closed stores to rob Harrods, one of the capital’s largest luxury boutiques. In a nutshell, here is the Locked Down promise. In a pre-Covid world, this scenario would certainly have made a good sci-fi movie. However, today it is well and truly anchored in reality. Worn by Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor, this action comedy is a crazy gamble, born when a large part of the inhabitants of the planet discovered confinement.
To meet such a challenge, who other than Doug Liman? That same director who’s about to shoot a space movie with Tom Cruise shouldn’t be impressed by a pandemic. From the beginning of July 2020, the filmmaker and screenwriter Steven Knight are getting started. “All the actors are available, there is no more shooting. Why don’t you write something to film in September?”, Offers them a producer.
Four months after the start of confinement, the duo took inspiration from the context and wrote the first lines of the scenario. Very quickly, the trail of the heist imposed itself. The two friends absolutely want to use the Harrods store as the main decor, although it is very difficult to access. After 50 pages written, Doug Liman and the screenwriter refuse to continue if they are not sure of having the authorization to shoot in the premises of the establishment. The unusual times were in their favor and their request was granted.
Six weeks into the shoot, the crew have a set and can start raising money to fund the project. The next and perhaps most important step: finding the performers. Doug Liman contacts Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor, his first choices. Normally, a finished script is often required, but the two stars decide to embark with blind confidence. “This level of enthusiasm and courage to jump into a project without knowing where it is going, they manifested it every day on the set.”, Recognizes Doug Liman.
The filming of Locked Down lasts 18 days. The whole team follows the protocol established by Tom cruise on the sound board Impossible mission. The workforce is small, masks are compulsory and all measures are strictly observed. This did not stop the decorator, Laura Conway-Gordon, from contracting Covid-19 during the first week of filming. No other case was subsequently identified.
If the idea of making a film in space seemed impossible for Doug Liman, that of carrying out a project in these conditions seemed even more complicated. With Locked Down, the director has taken up his own challenge and intends to draw inspiration from this lesson for the rest of his career: “Nothing is ever impossible. “