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The Untold Truth Of The Man From Toronto

"You think you'd make the wall? Come on, man. You're barely fridge material," the man from Toronto (Woody Harrelson) quips back to the inimitable Teddy (Kevin Hart). This comes after the shaken Teddy, well out of his depth, sarcastically asks the hitman if his personal photo is for Toronto's serial killer wall. "The Man From Toronto" forms an unlikely duo that ascends a mere partnership into a match made in action-comedy heaven. When a chronic "screw-up" by the name of Teddy attempts to reverse his fortune and give his wife the birthday weekend she deserves, he is mistakenly profiled as the hitman known as the man from Toronto. Quickly he gets wrapped up in a world of murder and mayhem as the real man from Toronto partners with him to complete a job thanks to the mistaken identity.

The film hit Netflix in June of 2022 and quickly rose in popularity among the streaming giant's own offerings. Little do most know that the film has had a troubled production timeline due to a confluence of events, such a lead actor backing out of the project as well as COVID-19 interfering with the film's projected schedule and platform. Those who enjoyed the film might be delighted to know, however, that the director mentioned in an interview with Netflix Life that he is hopeful for a continuation of what "The Man from Toronto" started. With that said, let's delve into some of the unique aspects of this film and its rough production.

The film was originally supposed to have a Summer theatrical debut

Streaming platforms are transforming the landscape of the film industry even as we speak. Big theater chains are forced into battle with a new level competition like they hadn't seen before in nearly a century. With the advent of COVID-19, the industry also had to adapt in order to survive. Bringing the masses entertainment became less about the debut and more about the most effective way to get eyes on the finished product.

If "The Man from Toronto" felt like a movie you would've seen as a Summer popcorn flick on the big screen instead of streaming at home, then you're instincts are on point. This action-comedy produced by Sony was initially meant to be released in theaters in 2020. Of course, we all know how 2020 went. While the film was completed and in limbo, Netflix won an auction for exclusive rights to stream Sony Pictures' theatrical films in the United States. Additionally, Sony and Netflix came to an agreement to release "The Man from Toronto" directly on the streaming service giant. It's weird to think that big films hitting theaters like "Top Gun: Maverick," and even films landing on streaming services like "The Man from Toronto" were already filmed two years or so prior to their eventual release. Life after 2020 has been radically different, to say the least.

The filmmakers aimed for a 'Looney Tunes' style brawl with the gym fight scene

When you pair a prime comedic duo like Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson together, things are bound to get a bit zany. "The Man from Toronto" never meant to go for realism. Instead, it aims for over-the-top action that will thrill audiences. Come on, there's no way we could actually believe Kevin Hart's Teddy would come out of this sticky situation unscathed – mostly.

During the epic brawl near the end of the film, mass chaos ensues as Teddy and the man from Toronto must fight assassins from around the world. The film makes the entire scene appear as if it's a single shot as the gym takes center stage for a thrilling showdown. What actually ensues is a chaotic scene where barbells, weights, and chainsaws are whipped to-and-fro. The man from Toronto fights with style while Teddy struggles to stand on his own two feet. In an interview with Tudum, the stunt choreographer, Philip Silvera, discussed the scene at great length including the tone they were aiming for. "We just try and figure out a way to lean into what I will call a live action 'Looney Tunes' with very dark humor and a hard-hitting punch. I think the scene really encapsulates all of that," Silvera stated. He also discussed how it was important to remove firearms from this fight as that's simply not as entertaining. "The whole thing with gunfights is that it all gets boring very quickly. Phil and I always talked about how we just have to lose the weapons as soon as we can."

Woody Harrelson's father was a real-life hitman

There's something serendipitous about Woody Harrelson landing the role of the hitman known as the man from Toronto. After all, the actor's sordid family history runs parallel to the ideas behind the role. Many may not know that Woody Harrelson's father, Charles Harrelson, was a notorious contract killer.

Just how far would Charles Harrelson go for money? Well, his drive for fast and easy cash began early in life when Woody was young. Charles first engaged in armed robbery, but he eventually began taking work as a hitman for hire whacking opposition for greedy businessman. One of his other famous killings involved the murder of a rival grain dealer. The job was actually a debt to be paid to another unsavory individual after Harrelson lost a copious amount of heroin. His most famous mark, however, was the killing of John H. Wood Jr., a federal judge. This was the first time a federal judge was assassinated in the United States. Harrelson would go down in infamy for the killing and even claimed to have had a hand in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Woody's role in "The Man from Toronto" is probably a little closer to home for the actor than most might realize.

Jason Statham was originally set to portray the Man from Toronto

Can you imagine what the film would have been like with Jason Statham in the role of the man from Toronto? It seems fitting given that Statham has a knack for action-centric roles and has even portrayed a hitman-for-hire in the past in films like "The Mechanic." Statham has even proven that he sometimes has a talent for sarcastic comedic wit. But typically, he's typecast in roles of hardened characters who often excel at brooding like Batman atop a skyscraper looking down on Gotham.

"The Man from Toronto" was set to feature Statham in the titular role. Due to apparent disagreements, the actor's contract for the role was never a done deal and he stepped away from the project (via The Hollywood Reporter). Kevin Hart and Statham actually shared the screen recently in the "The Fast and the Furious" franchise spinoff "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw." While the two could've made comedy gold together once again, the pairing wasn't meant to be. Thankfully, Harrelson and Hart maintained a fun chemistry together that ultimately made for an entertaining popcorn flick.

Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson often provided ideas or ad-libbed scenes

Comedy is only good as the actors or actresses delivering the lines. Often times, well-timed comedy must be organic. And who would know better about what feels organic than the comedic actors delivering the lines? Kevin Hart has long been known for his comedic chops. After all, he is a stand-up comedian. He knows what works for the countless fans who enjoy his self-deprecating schtick.

Director Patrick Hughes discussed his two talented leads in an interview with ComicBookMovie.com. When asked whether Hart and Harrelson had any space to work off of each other freely, Hughes stated, "I'm always very open to improv." He continues, "If we've got a flow state on the day, and we've got great ideas and often, I'm shouting them out, or Kevin's got an idea or Woody's got an idea, and sometimes all the ideas start piling on top of each other, and I really think, with a comedy too, is you want to shoot more than you actually need." Among all the jokes and ideas that play out on set, filmmakers always manage to find the best fits for their film. Hughes shared that he'd rather have a copious amount of material to work with in editing than not having enough. It seems Hart and Harrelson had the opportunity to really infuse their own characters with some of their best ideas during the filming process.

The airplane sequence was created with a 22-ton set staged on a gimbal

Teddy fatefully first meets the man from Toronto aboard a cargo plane. It's here that the assassin intends to clear his name, though the rest of the bad guys aren't buying it. See, they have a photo of Teddy that was confirmed by their associates to be the identification of the man from Toronto. If they say it's legit, it must be, right? Well, the man from Toronto doesn't have time for debates, instead he goes to work eliminating the fellows on the plane before they attempt to do the same to him. Amid the chaos, Teddy runs for cover. He then mistakenly pulls a lever that opens the ramp on the airplane causing bad guys to make a swift and fatal exit. Even the Man from Toronto gets swept out but is thankfully caught by a tether and is able to reel himself back in.

It's a tops-turvy moment that signals the first of many wild action sequences the two will go on to share together. While the outside shots of the airplane were of an actual cargo plane. The inside was actually a set that weighed 22 tons and was sitting on top of a gimbal, a device that allows the entire stage to pivot and sway during filming. The director confirmed as much (via ComicBookMovie.com). In an age where everything is green-screened or computer animated, it's a cool behind-the-scenes fact that adds legitimacy to the effort that went into the film's practical effects.

The crew stitched together more than 30 shots in 2 days to make the one-shot gym fight sequence

That wild gym fight was pretty intense, eh? Do you wonder how they shot that entire scene in one take? Well, despite what it looks like, that scene didn't occur in one take. Can you imagine all the moving parts that'd have to go right to finally get the perfect shot? The crew would be shooting for days on end and it'd be miserable for everyone. That scene is actually multiple shots fused together.

In an interview with Netflix's official fan site Tudum, the stunt coordinator Phil Silvera confirmed that the entire scene took approximately 36 shots, and those were all stitched together to create what appeared to be a seamless single take. Additionally, the entire brawl took over two days to film. The filmmakers carefully worked to integrate Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson in the shots as often as they could instead of using stunt doubles at every turn. Though, stunt doubles were used for several moments. Director Patrick Hughes shares that any time you see Hart or Harrelson's characters getting hurt in the fight or taking a fall, that's a stunt double. All in all, it seems like a carefully crafted scene full of complexities and moving parts.

Director Patrick Hughes is a fan of Kevin Hart's vulnerability as an actor

In a big-budget movie production, the actors and director must see eye-to-eye for anything to truly go well. Director Patrick Hughes has a lot of great things to say about his leading duo. In particular, he's a big fan of Kevin Hart and the level of depth he's able to give his characters even amid a comedic setting.

In his interview with ComicBookMovie.com, Hughes commented on his appreciation for Kevin Hart. "Oh yeah, Kevin Hart is incredibly vulnerable, and he's willing to show that on-screen. A lot of big actors, there'll be a lot of actors that won't do that, that want to be the tough guy. Whereas I think I'm working with these special actors, you know, like I have on a previous franchise as well with Ryan Reynolds, I find he's the same, and I think that's why audiences are drawn to them and love them." Hughes related how many of us likely wish to see ourselves in the James Bond role but when and if that moment ever comes, we're not going to be cool, calm, and collected like the slick secret agent. Hart has no problem conveying that he's a man way out of his depth.

10 cars were physically blown up to create the parking lot sequence

When the world of assassins descends on two outsiders bent on making the big bucks, a lot can happen ... at least if you're a hapless fool like Teddy or an ultra-skilled and slick hitman like the man from Toronto. What ultimately results is chaos and destruction. That gym and any other small businesses in the vicinity better have insurance, needless to say.

There's one sequence where an assassin begins firing rockets at the pair. They run through a line of cars that end up getting demolished in a fiery blaze as Teddy and the man from Toronto narrowly escape. Now the real question is, how much of that was edited and how much was real? When it comes to those cars exploding, that was all real. Now, Woody Harrelson and Kevin Hart were nowhere near the explosions when they were occurring. That part was edited. But the crew did, in fact, blow up at least 10 cars according to the film's director Patrick Hughes (via Tudum). "That's certainly not a scenario where you want to have people running close or through that. We did it with an overlay, and I think it works really well," stated Hughes. Still, who doesn't love explosions? It'd be hard not to believe that Hart and Harrelson weren't watching the spectacle from a safe distance.

Director Patrick Hughes is hopeful for a crossover with his other film 'The Hitman's Bodyguard'

Director Patrick Hughes is no stranger to action-comedy. He's previously directed "The Expendables 3" and "The Hitman's Bodyguard" and its sequel "Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard." The latter two films star Ryan Reynolds as security extraordinaire Michael Bryce and Samuel L. Jackson as a notorious hitman by the name of Darius Kincaid. The first film involves the two becoming an unlikely pairing to uncover a more twisted plot than anything they're dealing with in their personal lives — and believe us, there's a lot going on in their personal lives. It's all fun and games, however, and you'd be hard-pressed to not find the film entertaining in its over-the-top hilarity.

With "The Man from Toronto" topping Netflix charts, there's been a question among viewers as to whether the two film franchises could have a crossover. Just think, Kevin Hart, Ryan Reynolds, Woody Harrelson, and Samuel L. Jackson running amok as a goofy action quartet much like the "A-Team" but with a hearty dose of Deadpool-like banter. It'd make a wickedly fun ride for fans of these films.

Thankfully, Hughes is working on making it happen. Nothing is official, however, the director remarked in an interview with Illuminerdi that he understood there was interest in seeing this happen. He even thought about it when filming. "Oh. Geez. I did consider that on set. I actually think we need to spin off. Because, those two, I don't know how much comedy would be in that. Other then that would be a straight, harder action thrill up," Hughes stated. Indeed, it would be.

It was one of many films affected by COVID-19

Like every major production occurring in 2020, "The Man from Toronto" was drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As illness swept the nation, places of business and work were temporarily shuttered in an event to stave off the burgeoning viral public health crisis. The film was originally set to begin filming in Atlanta in April of 2020 (via Collider). However, production was halted for nearly six months. Work on the film then began in October of that same year.

The film was originally planned as a theatrical release. However, like most films, "The Man from Toronto" was delayed until theaters could start accommodating audiences once again. The release of the blockbuster was ultimately delayed multiple times until Sony landed on August 2022 for a theatrical release (via comicbook.com) – almost two years after production began. Of course, Netflix eventually acquired the rights and the rest is history. In an interview with ComicBookMovie.com, the director, Patrick Hughes, shared his thoughts on the difficulties caused by COVID-19. He shared that most of the sets were already built and everything was prepped and ready to go when production was shut down just nine days before shooting began. During the six-month haitus, he mentioned that he wasn't even sure if the movie would actually happen.