I am willing to bet that if you approached the casual movie-goer and asked them who Ric Roman Waugh is all you will get is a blank stare or shrug. Waugh spent a good fifteen years as a stunt coordinator until 2001 when he broadened his resume to include writing and directing. Even though his writing/directing credits are limited right not, I truly believe this guy will be name of the future.
Last summer I posted a review on Waugh’s last directorial effort, Felon. To put it simply Felon is a powerhouse of a small film. I won’t spend much time discussing the plot for that you could click here for the full piece. But I will emphasize is that the film features some strong authenticity. What I mean by that is that it rarely feels exaggerated but instead grounded. The characters feel like everyday people that go through emotions of those in the prison and how life outside the prison is impacted by their imprisonment. If you have not seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it you will not regret it.
The word “authenticity” is a word that Waugh used to describe his filmmaking process especially with his latest film Snitch. Most of you at this point have most likely seen the TV spots for Snitch but if it is not ringing a bell, it the one with Dwayne Johnson going undercover to prove his son’s innocence in an underground drug ring. Naturally after reading that one line synopsis I just gave you are thinking of Johnson flexing his muscles toting a large automatic firing weapon but really it could not be a more different action/thriller.
In an interview with Collider.com and Drax Largo on YouTube Waugh mentions how this will be a very different Dwayne Johnson role and movie (click on source’s name for the interviews with Waugh). Waugh specifically says that if you were involved in the real life drug world that your stature would not make you any safer. Whether you a six-foot-five-inch brick wall like Johnson or a five-foot-nothing twig, a bullet or explosion will stop you in your tracks just the same. We are all used to seeing Johnson in the “larger than life” sort of action flicks like Fast Five, Faster, and The Rundown where the man’s skin might as well be armor not flesh. But what Waugh wants to do with Snitch is show Johnson as a regular guy that is vulnerable both emotionally and physically as a man diving into a foreign business world to clear his innocent son.
This is not to say the explosions and other action elements will be played down because let’s be honest how fun would that be? Again this is about the characters and being true to that drug world. Waugh describes the emotional drive behind the film as willing to move heaven and earth to protect our children by whatever means necessary. But there is also the emotion on the law enforcement side one people who are so close to a bust but yet so close to ignited the powder keg that is the war on drugs.
Waugh does a better job explaining it than I do but what I am getting at is Snitch’s authentic/grounded approach to an action/thriller should create a more rounded experience than those larger than life movies as proven in Felon. They have the necessary amount of gun fire and explosions to excite audiences combined with immense suspense from unimaginable situations that these everyday characters are experiencing.
What are your thoughts? Do you want to see the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson take one more grounded action thrillers like Waugh’s Snitch or would you prefer he stuck to the over-the-top larger than life action movies he has done in the past? I recognize this is tough to answer know being that Snitch has not hit theater yet but what is your gut or initial feelings?