Ambulance Star Garret Dillahunt on Working with Director Michael Bay
Few established directors in Hollywood are as established in the action film realm as Michael Bay, and there are those like Garret Dillahunt, who aspired to be part of his spectacle. Bleeding Cool spoke with the actor about the experience on the set of Universal's Ambulance, the elaborate camera work, and having to adjust filming during COVID protocols. Ambulance is based on the 2005 Danish film of the same name that follows adoptive siblings-turned-bank robbers played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who hijack an ambulance following a heist and take two first responders hostage. Dillahunt plays LAPD SIS (Special Investigation Section) Captain Monroe, who leads his unit to pursue the vehicle.
Bleeding Cool: What got you interested in 'Ambulance'?
Garret Dillahunt: I wanted to work with Michael Bay. I've heard so many stories. I've seen so many of his movies, and I wanted to experience the ride for myself, so I did.
BC: Can you break down the kind of set Michael ran?
Dillahunt: It was a great experience. It's breakneck speed. This is a low-budget movie from Michael, so we had a limited time. I don't feel like he shrank his vision at all, which means you crammed a lot into the day. He operated often, and explosions were big. The stunts were large, but he had a lot of cameras in the air. All we had to do was play the scene. I let him worry about how to shoot it, but we had cameras in helicopters, GoPros, drones, A, B, and C camera, and handheld Steadicam. There are cameras everywhere. So he had plenty of it to cobble together when he was all done.
BC: How do you describe the flow on set with the current protocols compared to previous projects?
Dillahunt: It's very different. We'll all be excited when the protocols are lifted. I don't know when that will happen. They're relaxing a little bit, but you must get tested daily. There's a lot more separation, so it doesn't feel like there's quite as much camaraderie which is a big part of why we love what we do. There are still moments where that are creatively rewarding. You get to take that mask off and action, and then hopefully, some magic can happen there. It's certainly a big expense to filmmakers and producers all over these added COVID protections.
As annoying as it can be, everyone just wants to work. Everyone just wants to keep working and not cause someone else not to be able to work. There are hundreds of people on a set: that's a lot of jobs, families, kids in school, and food on the table [they have to provide]. So I don't want to be the guy that slows that train down. So we're sticking it out. Obviously, the shutdown year was a bad year for us, but since then, I guess because we all burned through all the content that exists in the world, it's been just a freight train. I've just been working nonstop more than I ever have and done some things I'm really proud of.