'Need For Speed' Director Scott Waugh On Bringing a Video Game to Life
If you’re like me, you grew up playing one of the best and most successful racing video games — Need for Speed. What made the Need for Speed franchise so much fun was the idea of running from the police in extraordinary supercars, exceeding speed limits, and turning your dark childhood fantasy into (digital) reality. None of which, of course, we encourage anyone to ever do in real life. Ever. But now, that long-loved game is set to make its first on-screen debut in movie theaters across the country. With stars like Aaron Paul and Scott Mescudi (aka, Kid Cudi), it’s bound to be a thriller. Oh, and we haven't even gotten to the exploding, million-dollar supercars. So we thought it’d be a fun idea to sit down and talk with director Scott Waugh, and learn more about the man behind the lens.
Scott began his film career as early as the age of 12, but began officially doing movie stunt work in 1982.
“I grew up as a stuntman and I’ve just always been intrigued and been a part of the action world no matter what the discipline is. Whether it’s hang gliding or anything motocross, big wave surfing — all of that has always just been something I’ve been a part of my whole life.”
RELATED: Meet the Supercars Used in Upcoming Need For Speed Film
After over 20 years in the stuntman industry, Scott focused his attention more on production and editing. "Before Dust to Glory (2005) I did Step Into Liquid (2003), and that was really my first intro to producing movies”
In his latest film, Scott sought to feature more the automotive aspect of his life. For him, Need For Speed is in many ways an homage to the films he grew up watching and the films his father directed.
“I just wanted to make a movie that was truly back to the old school disciplines of Bullitt, Grand Prix, French Connection, Smokey and the Bandit — and I just feel like as an automotive enthusiast like myself, we haven’t had that type of movie in a long time.”
And this homage to classic films like Bullitt inspired the way many cars were chosen, including the lead Ford Mustang, which Aaron Paul drives throughout a majority of the film.
“I personally am a fan of our country, and I really wanted to represent America in this movie. And one oft he great car brands we have is Ford. And the Ford Mustang to me is one of the most iconic cars in our genre.”
“[Aaron Paul] loves it. When I asked if he wanted to do this movie he was really excited, and I asked him, ‘Are you a car buff?’ and he literally said ‘I just drove up to Vegas and bought a Ford Cobra, does that tell you enough?’ and I go ‘You’re my kinda guy, man!’”
PHOTOS: See More of the 2013 Need For Speed Mustang
With Aaron Paul at lead, and the Mustang as his co-star, Scott and his team got together and collectively decided which cars would follow suit. Naturally, the high-performance supercars from the game came to mind, but there was one catch — they had to be replicas.
“I personally am a huge fan of cars, and I did not want to wreck a bunch of art pieces — like a Bugatti or a Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, so we needed to build kit cars that were just as fast, but weren’t the real deal so when I wrecked them, I’m not wrecking one of three that only exists in the world.”
“We used the Saleen race chassis for our replicas, so that was the foundation of our supercars.”
PHOTOS: See More of the 2005 Saleen S7 Twin Turbo
So, high-powered supercars, A-list actors, and tons of eye-catching stunts — sounds like our kind of movie. But we were curious to see how the direction of the film would follow cues from the video games.
“I think the camera angles that we picked are subtle references to the game. And what I personally love is the style of the game, [the movie’s] a definite homage. In the game, you don’t race on tracks, you race on point-to-point roads. And this movie’s all about that.”
“On top of that the kind of vehicles — you work your way up to the supercars…you gotta start with the muscle cars and work your way up. In the movie we subtly do that as well.”
PHOTOS: See More of the 2013 Koenigsegg Agera R
"I hope that when [viewers] see the film we did the great brand justice."
We hope so too — and you can catch Need For Speed when it hits theaters everywhere March 14th.
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