Based on the 1993 novel of the same name, Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse stars Michael B Jordan (Black Panther, Creed). He portrays elite Navy SEAL, Sr Chief John Kelly. Driven to revenge by a personal tragedy he pursues the perpetrators, exposing a covert plot that could engulf the US in an all-out war.
Jodie Turner-Smith (The Last Ship, Anne Boleyn) plays SEAL team member Lt Commander Karen Greer. The drama is directed by Stefano Sollima, who began his career as a camera operator in war zones. Maybe due to his past, Stefano urged the actors do as many of their own stunts as possible.
Coming to Prime Video on April 30, 2021, Michael B Jordan and Jodie Turner-Smith talked with journalists about their new action thriller.
Can both of you discuss the relationship between John Kelly and Karen Greer? It’s not an on-screen, romantic chemistry, it’s one of professional respect and admiration.
Jodi Turner-Smith: It’s really brave to have a relationship where it is displaying platonic love; which I think is the purest form of love that there is.
I think it is so important every time you speak with somebody [you have a relationship with] the trust, respect and love is always alive. [Michael and I tried to] infuse that in our scenes, even when we are butting heads. Even when I’m not understanding mentally what he’s going through, but I’m trying to be there for him.
Michael B Jordan: Yeah, we really wanted to work through finding that balance between the camaraderie and that brother/sister relationship that they had. I didn’t want anybody to (misunderstand) the relationship, the dynamic.
We wanted to be really clear that they loved each other, like we’ve got your back no matter what. Through thick and thin, I’m not going to leave you behind. We didn’t want anybody to assume or forward think their relationship. [That it] would go down a road that it wasn’t supposed to.
Action movie first
Michael, this film is the first action movie from your production company Outlier Society. What can you tell us about producing this picture?
Michael: I think just being involved from the absolute beginning to the end. It was very hands-on how to build out stunts, what the process would be.
Working with the visual effects supervisor to [plan] out [the intense air plane crash] sequence. How exactly we are going to practically shoot it. We’re going to use the crane on this shot. We need water tanks. It was going through the process of building that out. It was a learning curve for [me]. And I think we walked away with something that we could be really happy about.
Jodie your character is so badass in this film. What was it like pushing your body to the limit to get those shots?
Jodie: I was pregnant at the time. That definitely adds a level of intensity to it that I didn’t even anticipate. I’m used to feeling like a strong person. I’m athletic [and] can push my body to the limit.
I had a background in this genre, as I started on a television show on TNT called The Last Ship. That was my first big role on TV and that was all about running around getting the bad guys. So I thought this was something that I was definitely ready to throw my body into.
I’ve trained for many things in my life, but what was required of me physically doing this film is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
Military divers training
There are multiple intense sequences of John Kelly underwater for extended periods of time. Can you talk about the preparation that went into those scenes?
Michael: Underwater training was definitely something that we spent a lot of time in. We knew we had these sequences early in the script development phase. Stefano was like, ‘Mike, you know you’ve got to do all of these, right?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, of course. Easy, no problem.’
So we hooked up with some military divers and we spent time in the tanks. [They] put us under stressful situations where we would have to problem solve, work through malfunctions, gear failure. It was a lot of very detailed training that we went through for the water [sequences].
How long can you hold your breath under water?
Michael: I could hold my breath during filming for pretty long, maybe three minutes. It’s one of those things where your breath and breathing is a trained thing. It’s an exercise. So if you stop training and exercising that muscle you can definitely lose it.
Jodie: Michael would put this song on. I’m not going to tell you what the song was, and the whole time that song was [on], he’s under the water.
Michael: I’m a water baby, I love being in the water. Honestly, if you’re calm and you’re sitting still you can hold your breath for a lot longer. They created an environment for us to really relax and be at peace.
Without giving too much away there’s a moment in the movie where you see me be at peace underwater. That’s the one that everybody’s talking about.
Trying to kill
You have an intense underwater scene with Brett Gelman, who portrays the villain in the movie. Can you talk a little about shooting that?
Michael: When you get to know somebody and you build relationships with actors like Brett, it gives you that [freedom] to go that much further.
To play against somebody that you’re trying to kill, it actually makes it more fun when you’re really close and you like each other. So we were very fortunate in that way. We were able to act like we weren’t cool with one another. And I think it really pulled those performances to the surface.
Movie World upside down
The movie world has been turned upside down this year. A lot of movies that may have played in theatres are going directly on platforms like Amazon Prime. Do you think that can help a film find an audience?
Michael: It has given access to films that quite possibly they wouldn’t have an opportunity to go see. I think certain films are obviously intended to be shot and played in a movie theatre. Luckily, we were able to land a place like Amazon to house this film.
I think there’s going to be a healthy balance between the two. There’s something to sitting at home and being able to have instant access to the movies that you want to see. But there’s also something about having that movie theatre experience as well.
Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse Soundbyte
Michael was asked about doing his own stunts for the movie. Click below to listen to his reply.