When it came time to bring the uber-popular video game franchise "Need for Speed" -- about a framed street racer (Aaron Paul) hellbent on revenge -- to the big screen, director Scott Waugh ("Act of Valor") was adamant that all of the stunts be "practical," meaning the actors and stuntmen would be tackling all the driving, with little-to-no CGI intervention.
"Audiences know when things are fake," Waugh told Moviefone last month, after screening roughly 20 minutes of footage from the movie. "They know when they're being lied to."
In addition to wanting to give moviegoers an authentic experience, Waugh, who is a third-generation stuntman, maintains a philosophy that not only makes for a grittier, more grounded movie experience, but lends more realism to the story and its characters. "There's a rule I have here in my company, that you can't break physics," Waugh explained. "If you break physics, it hurts the story because then the characters don't apply to the physics either. So, if a car can jump off a bridge 100 feet up and land on the ground and keep going, then my characters can get shot and their head blown off and they can keep going too, because it just doesn't apply."
While some actors may be intimidated by Waugh's realistic, stunt-heavy approach, star Aaron Paul jumped at the chance to take his turn behind the wheel. "Scott made it very evident before I attached myself to this that he wanted me to be driving," Paul said. "He wanted all of the things, all of the action sequences to be practical. He didn't want all of this to be done behind a computer after we shot it all. So he's like, 'You're going to have to be behind the wheel and doing all these crazy races.' I was like, 'That's fantastic! Let me do that!'"
In order to get Paul camera-ready prior to filming, Waugh had Paul attend driving school -- and we're not talking about the kind you take to get your license. It's far more intense. "I told him, If you really want to do this movie, I need to teach you how to drive," Waugh said. "And I'm not talking straight. I'm talking 150 miles an hour drifting."
The result? A movie that looks, feels, and sounds so authentic that the flips, turns, and explosions in the trailer (above) spur the kind of cringing that can only come from knowing that everything you're seeing is real.
See for yourself when "Need for Speed," which also stars Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, Dakota Johnson, Kid Cudi, and Michael Keaton, hits theaters March 14, 2014.