Dave Bautista makes his leading man debut alongside Ray Stevenson and Hollywood veteran Pierce Brosnan in the adrenaline-pumping actioner, Final Score.
Described as Die Hard in a football stadium, Final Score sees a group of heavily armed terrorists take control of a stadium packed with 35,000 spectators. Ex-Marine Michael Knox (Dave Bautista), who is attending the game with the daughter of a fallen comrade, is forced to use his lethal fighting skills and everything at his disposal to save the hostages and prevent mass destruction.
“It’s very different [to Die Hard] but it’s very similar in excitement and action,” says Bautista. “It really is old school; good guys, bad guys, a lot of good old school action, a lot of fighting and good gunfire. Big villains, good heroes.”
An independently funded British action movie with the production value and spectacle to rival Hollywood’s behemoths, Final Score was the brainchild of producer Marc Goldberg, who, in late 2015, spotted a unique opportunity when he learnt Upton Park Stadium (West Ham United Football Club’s world-renowned home since 1904), was to be demolished.
“My business partner is David Sullivan, who owns West Ham,” explains Goldberg. “When I discovered that the stadium was going to be renovated into apartments in 2016 once the final season at Upton Park was to be played, I saw that the opportunity of having a football stadium as our location was fairly unique. So it was really at that point where I spoke with David and asked him about how we’d be able to take use of the stadium, and really that’s where the journey started.”
Having no-holds-barred access to a real life backdrop to shoot the high-stakes action film was an exciting concept for director Scott Mann.
“As a director, it’s really exciting to be able to say, ‘you can really blow this building up’, because normally you’re pretending,” he says. “[Usually] you’re putting explosions over stuff and putting a bit of phoney nonsense around it to make it look good like dust and whatnot, but really being able to mess with the integrity of the building is a very tempting proposition, so it was very exciting going in.”
The high-speed chases, edge-of-your-seat fight scenes and exhilarating stunts, which play out against a live football match, were all achieved without visual effects.
“Everything that you see on screen was shot for real,” says Goldberg. “The motorbike scene on the roof and shooting whilst the games were being played every night was, I think, a unique experience for everyone working on the movie.”
Final Score marks the second time that Mann and Bautista have worked together on a movie.
“Two years back shooting the last movie I did with Dave [Heist], he showed all kinds of untapped potential,” says Mann. “I thought that he could easily lead a film but he hadn’t really been given the opportunity. So when it came to casting Final Score, it became very interesting talking of the idea of Dave leading it.
“Dave has played quite a lot of villains and he’s got the physique obviously to play that role, but in this film he’s not playing that. He’s playing the good guy, he’s playing the guy we’re rooting for and we’re with.”
Ray Stevenson plays Arkady, the Hans Gruber to Bautista’s Knox, whose mission is to find and detain his traitorous, long-lost brother Dimitri (Brosnan) at any cost.
“I think, with Pierce, it’s a character we’ve never really seen him play before,” says Mann. “He’s totally transformed and it’s completely what the film needs and wants, because he’s this character who’s supposed to be hidden away, this mysterious character with this very interesting past, and he looks and sounds the part. He’s fantastic.”