Gritty and visceral, Safe House is a remarkable movie. Few fight scenes in Hollywood history, for example, are quite as intense and believable as this one.
So, in homage to Ryan Reynolds greatest performance and the effortless cool of Denzel Washington, here are 15 facts about the movie that you (probably) don't know.
A who's who list of actors were among those considered for the role of Matt Weston. It includes Sam Worthington, Shia LaBeouf, Andrew Garfield, James McAvoy, Taylor Kitsch, Garrett Hedlund, Zac Efron, Channing Tatum, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tom Hardy, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pine (pictured).
Denzel Washington was actually waterboarded during filming. "I wanted to see what it would be like. It's strange. You can't breathe in, because the water comes in, and it's filling up your mouth," said Washington. "And that was just one time for a short time. Imagine having that done for 20, 30 seconds? You will give up the answers! You may not necessarily tell the truth, but you will tell [your captors] whatever they want to hear." Co-star Ryan Reynolds agreed, telling press recently that Washington's waterboarding was terrifying to watch. "That was the most disturbing thing I think I'd ever seen, watching him be waterboarded".
The movie was originally set in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, but the production decided not to shoot there due to security concerns and moved the action to Cape Town.
Safe House earned $13.6 million on opening day, and $40.1 million over the weekend including $10.5 million overseas. The film was Denzel Washington's second-biggest opener, behind American Gangster ($43,565,115), pictured.
Directed by Daniel Espinosa, Safe House is the most financially successful film ever by a Swedish director.
In September 2012, it was announced that Universal hired writer David Guggenheim to write a script for the sequel. He also has writing duties on Bad Boys 3 to check off his to do list.
Ryan Reynolds revealed that he accidentally gave Denzel a black eye while filming the fight scene in the car. Reynolds admitted the accident gave Washington a "golf ball-sized" bruise. It was Denzel's first ever shiner and came as a result of an accidental head butt.
Ryan Reynolds spoke to a former CIA agent of 25 years in preparation for his role. The former agent had only recently told his wife what he had done for a living. Her reaction, apparently, was "not good".
It took two months to prepare and choreograph this incredible fight scene. It was shot over the course of just two days.
Producer Scott Stuber gave Denzel Washington a book called The Sociopath Next Door to read in preparation for his role. "It sort of became my bible, that I'd refer to when developing the character" said Denzel.
The safe house to which Tobin Frost is sent in the film was built on a makeshift soundstage at the 3 Arts Theatre, one of the oldest theatres in Cape Town, and took nearly 3 months to complete.
It took about four months of negotiation with the City of Cape Town to nail down the four-day window in which filming at Green Point Stadium could occur.
In the car fight scene the person who is actually driving the car is a stunt driver who's on the roof. "I've never seen a rig like that for a car," Reynolds said.
Reynolds revealed he annoyed Washington when his phone went off during the filming of a pivotal scene. "The worst time it could go off -- in the middle of one of the most emotional scenes in the movie for him," Reynolds said. "We're there and there are stunt guys around us that are dead. All of a sudden... the ring tone starts playing. 'Come Fly with Me' is playing out of my butt. When they finally called 'cut' and I hear everyone say, 'Whose cell phone is that?' Denzel said, 'Whose cell phone is that?' I look around and go, 'Whose cell phone is that?"
During one chase scene, director Daniel Espinosa sat in the wheel well besides Reynolds, "giggling like a little schoolgirl," the actor recalled. "He would just be yelling, 'Faster! Faster! Faster!" Reynolds found out afterwards that Espinosa actually had never driven a car before.