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Path of 'Priest' Resistance

10 Jul, 2011 By: Fred Topel

The vampire epic Priest is based on a Korean comic book series by Min-woo Hyung. In the film version, Paul Bettany and Maggie Q play post-apocalyptic clergy who kill the vicious bloodsuckers. Their moves look cool on film, but cameras captured a lot of outtakes that show the effort it took to get things just right.

“I kept smashing myself in the face,” Q says. “We have a great gag reel.”

Director Scott Stewart wasn’t sure if he wanted to spoil Q’s tough girl image by including the gag reel (it isn't on the home video version), but he can’t wait for fans to see the unrated cut of the film on and Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D.

“We were right on the edge of ‘PG-13’ and ‘R,’ and I could easily tilt it one way or the other,” Stewart says. He indicated the studio didn’t have to change much to achieve the desired result.

“Somehow, miraculously, when you make the blood just a little less red, it allowed us to get a ‘PG-13,’” Stewart says. “They have a really big thing about gun violence against people, and we had very little gun violence in the movie against people. There’s some stuff, but mostly it’s fantasy character violence. That’s what allowed us to do it. Senior folks at the studio were blown away that we were able to get the ‘PG-13,’ considering how intense the movie is.”

Stewart indicated a lot of the ‘unrated’ qualities of the film involve color and sound design.

“Sound is an area they seem to get fixated on,” Stewart says. “They were like, ‘When he stabs the guy, can you make it not sound like a stabbing sound?’ I was like, ‘So, what you’re saying is that it’s better to see it, but not have it have a consequence?’ It just doesn’t make any sense at all. So, we turned the red blood to brown or black and, suddenly, you just didn’t feel it as intensely and it was more appropriate for viewers as young as 13. But, we’re very excited about the unrated version.”

Other extras include deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes and more.

“We have a ton of extras,” Stewart says. “I’m a huge Blu-ray geek. I’ve learned a lot about movies and making movies from listening to great directors talking about stuff over the years, since I was a kid watching laserdiscs. I always wanted people to feel like we were being as generous as possible with as much material and stuff as we can.”

Priest will be available Aug. 16 on DVD ($30.00; ‘PG-13’), Blu-ray ($35.99; unrated) and Blu-ray 3D ($45.99; unrated) from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

About the Author: Fred Topel

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