EXCLUSIVE: ‘Push’ Director Paul McGuigan On His Superhero-Friendly Film

Paul McGuigan’s new film “Push” — starring Chris Evans, Camilla Belle and Dakota Fanning — hits theaters in February, and even though the plot isn’t pulled from the pages of a comic book, it sure feels like it is.

Starring Evans (“Fantastic Four”) and Fanning (“Coraline”) as a Mover and Watcher, respectively, the film is directed by “Lucky Number Slevin” filmmaker Paul McGuigan. After the jump, read what McGuigan had to say to MTV News about doing a “different” type of superhero movie and the potential for a sequel, and preview a new image from the film.

Part “X-Men,” part “Snatch” and set in Hong Kong, “Push” introduces a world in which the genetic experiments of the past have paved the way for the government-sponsored, enhanced human operatives of the present. With powers that range from moving objects with their minds (“Movers”) and implanting thoughts (“Pushers”) to seeing the future (“Watchers”) and healing (“Stitchers”), individuals possessing augmented mental abilities are in high demand by the global powers that be — which is why a small group of runaway agents find themselves in serious trouble when they uncover a mystery that could change the enhanced world’s status quo.

“I’ve never done a film of this genre before, and I didn’t really want to do one that was all blue-screen and made up by machines,” said McGuigan of his reasons for taking on the project. “I loved the characters and the storyline, and it was a big opportunity to flex the visual ideas. I never thought of doing a comic book film before, so it was also attractive to me that someone wanted me to do it.”

In the exclusive image below, Cassie Holmes (Dakota Fanning) and Nick Gant (Chris Evans) decide their next move.

The Scottish director told MTV he was pushing for a more retro approach to filming “Push” than the typical effects-laden adaptations of comics properties, and hoped to prove that character and plot development can indeed drive a film influenced by — but not directly culled from — the world of comic books.

“This year alone, you see movies like ’Incredible Hulk’ and ’Wanted,’ and these are good movies, but they end up being all about the technology,” reasoned McGuigan. “You tend to forget about the storyline and the characterization and I wanted to do something that was a bit more old-school than that. I wanted the technology to become involved later on.”

“When we tested the film, it tested very well with people whose appetites were whet for something a little different from the comics movies lately — something stranger,” added McGuigan. “It’s not a $100 million movie by any means, and it’s not an extreme action movie, either. I hope that people don’t just want to see the extreme action sequences. I hope they want to be involved in the film.”

But that doesn’t mean good ol’ superpower action scenes are absent from the film. McGuigan said there was no small amount of self-imposed pressure to make the powers “come alive.”

“[’Push’] has some fantastical moments in it, but we wanted to make it feel like, what if this did exist?” said McGuigan. “It’s so much good fun because your imagination can go as wild as you want, with floating guns and people pushing other people across the room. We tried to do as much through the camera as we could, though, relying on the camera instead of the green screen.”

But will we see further adventures in the world of “Push”?

“I don’t know. I’m doing my own thing, and this has been the most pleasure I’ve had in making a movie,” responded McGuigan. “It was so much fun, and it was great to be able to throw people around a room and do all of these bizarre things. The people we had involved in the film were so into it as well. I hope that comes across in the film.”

While “Push” wasn’t inspired by a comic book, it did inspire its own prequel comic published by Wildstorm. You can check out an exclusive preview of “Push” #3 here on Splash Page. so, what do you think about “Push,” readers? Let us know in the comment section!