Interviews and public talks

Meeting with the students of the New York Film Academy.

Together with my friend and fellow actor Andrey Dementyev, who, like me, shot some of the first-person scenes in "Hardcore Henry," we spoke to NYFA students in Los Angeles, fielding their questions.

Original article text & Podcast

Recently, the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles screened the Sci-Fi action film, Hardcore Henry, which was shot almost entirely from a first-person perspective. Following the special screening, we were fortunate to welcome the extreme operators, Sergey Voogie Valyaev and Andrey Dementiev, who were behind the GoPro the entire time.

After screening the film, Sergey Voogie Valyaev and Andrey Dementiev shared an exclusive behind-the-scenes trailer, which revealed the secrets of how this unflinchingly original wild-ride was actually made. It’s more complicated and dangerous than one would think.

There were more than 100 working shifts, trainings with stunts teams, injuries, and other craziness. In one of the fight scenes Valyaev really punches Dementiev (who also played a character Slick Dmitry) in the face as hard as he can. When you shoot POV, the camera is so close to the face that you can’t perform a fight sequence in the usual way.

Valyaev and Dementiev also recalled that there were a lot of scenes shot without any safety gear. One particular scene was when they were both running on top of the bridge. After four takes the entire crew was frozen, but, according to the talent, that was one of easiest scenes since both of them have over ten years of experience in parkour.

Sergey Valyaev also discussed the invention of a special rig. He explained that in order to make viewers believe he is the main hero, the camera must be not be placed on the forehead area, as you would think, but on the mouth region. When the camera is in this position, it captures the body frame, which creates the effect of presence.

In regards to what the hardest part of shooting Hardcore Henry was, Sergey Valyaev and Andrey Dementiev confessed that staying in one position and waiting for the command “action” was more difficult than anything else. Sometimes they would have to freeze in completely uncomfortable poses and hold it for hours, just so the continuity of the shot wouldn’t be ruined.

Valyaev and Dementiev answered dozens of questions from excited NYFA students and concluded: “Before learning how to fly you have to learn how to fall.” This rule applies to any field or profession.