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What it's really like filming an action movie like Sniper: Assassin's End - Exclusive

Since 1993, the Sniper film franchise has given audiences a jolt of adrenaline-rushing action. The latest film in the series – Sniper: Assassin's End, released on June 16 — sees sees Chad Michael Collins back in the lead role of Brandon Beckett. This time around, he's framed for a murder he didn't commit, and he ends up on the wrong side of a gun more times than he's probably comfortable with. 

There are a lot of great action set pieces in Sniper: Assassin's End that director Kaare Andrews pulled off masterfully. While Andrews has said that the movie was a lot of fun to make, it had its challenges (which come up with every film production). In an exclusive interview with Looper, Andrews spoke about his process of bringing to life Sniper: Assassin's End's action scenes, as well as what gave him challenges on set. 

Technical problems on the set of Sniper: Assassin's End

If you've seen Sniper: Assassin's End already, you may have some scenes in mind that you think were the toughest to film. But you'd better think again. As Andrews explained, "The most difficult action is never the most elaborate action, is never the most carefully planned-out action. The most difficult action is the action you have to film when everything goes wrong, and you're at the end of the day and you have to make really hard decisions." 

So, what exactly went wrong on the set of Assassin's End that resulted in hard-to-shoot sequences? Well, filmmaking is by nature an intense process. You only have so many hours to get the shot you need, and you're at the whims of the environment, other people, and your equipment. During our chat with the filmmaker, Andrews got candid about a perfect storm of things going wrong when he was trying to shoot one scene in particular: "I won't reveal which one of those it was, but we definitely had one scene where the cameras were failing, the lights were strobing, we were running out of time. It was just the chaos of filmmaking."

Even when things go right, directors may still find themselves with various issues. For example, there's a scene early on in Sniper: Assassin's End where a shootout takes place while Brandon is being transported after authorities arrested him on suspicion of murder. There's a car crash, gunfire, and a lot of actors all in the scene at once. Andrews had to take a unique approach to ensure everything in the scene was mapped out properly. 

"What I generally do with car things is I go buy a bunch of PLAYMOBIL toys. I'll get the label maker out and we can label every figure in every car," he explained. "You can kind of do an above-ground, God's-eye view and work out all the logistics of how the cars will crash and how the people will react. That was probably the most technically difficult [scene]."

Kaare Andrews on filming hand-to-hand combat for Sniper: Assassin's End

Of course, no action movie would be complete without some good old-fashioned fistfights, and Sniper: Assassin's End has some great ones. The most prominent one occurs after the shoot-out in the woods between Brandon and Yuki "Lady Death" Mifune (Sayaka Akimoto). Brandon's finally face-to-face with the actual murderer, but she can't die — not yet. There's a vast conspiracy afoot, and Brandon needs to get to the bottom of it. 

As it turns out, that particular fight was challenging for a completely different set of reasons. As Andrews told Looper, "We spent a lot of time choreographing the hand-to-hand mechanics, and then the actors probably spent the most time rehearsing that fight. So, all those little action scenes are very challenging for entirely different ways, but that's part of the fun of it — the challenge of it."

There may have been challenges on set, but thankfully, it all resulted in one action-packed film. 

Sniper: Assassin's End is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital.