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Thandiwe Newton’s Big Reminiscence Action Scene Almost Got Cancelled By An Electrical Storm, And It Sounds Terrifying

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Warning: Light spoilers for Reminiscence are in play. If you haven’t seen the film yet, feel free to jump to another piece of coverage here at CinemaBlend, until you’ve caught the action for yourself.

For the most part, Reminiscence is a mystery picture that sees Hugh Jackman chasing down the elusive Rebecca Ferguson, after she’s disappeared from his life. But in this sci-fi neo-noir, there are a couple of impressive action set pieces that find their way into the mix, and one of them is commanded by Thandiwe Newton’s character, Emily “Watts” Sanders. The results are not only something Newton considers her new calling card for the future but, as she recalled the day of shooting her big action scene, it was almost cancelled due to a rather nasty electrical storm.

While speaking with Thandiwe Newton during the press day for Reminiscence, the subject of her huge shootout sequence needed to be brought up. Though we’ve seen Ms. Newton certainly clean up during her time as Maeve on Westworld, this venture with collaborator Lisa Joy required something a little different. And part of that difference was a rather interesting venue, which as you’ll read below provided some quirks that almost shut down production for the entire day of the sequence:

The fact that it’s turned out the way it has is just … it included being shut down because of an electrical storm. Literally the ceiling of this messed up old bar, because it was a proper location, water was cascading through the roof. We had to shut down for two, three hours, so we had a third of the day to shoot. And we did it, we nailed it, and that’s what you see on screen. Like it’s unbelievable, and it’s [Lisa Joy’s] first movie. Like it shouldn’t have happened. I always thought that we’d have to go back and reshoot, but we didn’t, and there it is. Unbelievable, honestly, spectacular.

The Reminiscence sequence in question is the result of Hugh Jackman’s Nicholas Bannister talking himself into near fatal trouble. Looking for Mae (Rebecca Ferguson,) the woman he’s fallen in love with, and subsequently seen disappear into thin air, he pays a call to someone he probably shouldn’t have messed with. Just as it looks like he’s going to be drowned in an eel tank by Saint Joe (Daniel Wu,) a drug dealer with ties to Mae’s past, Watts comes in and saves the day.

Hugh Jackman’s protagonist would have been done for, if it wasn’t for the fact that Reminiscence saw Thandiwe Newton shoot her way into this decrepit bar. Wielding a shotgun, as well as a pistol, her character, Watts, stops Nick from drowning, and ultimately punches Saint Joe’s ticket for good. While this moment may differ from what we’ve seen in Newton’s Westworld past, it was definitely reminiscent of Lisa Joy’s touches from that show. Overall, it was an experience that Newton was happy to rave about, before getting into the finer details:

I know! I loved that! That’s my new calling card. From now on, that’s what I want you to see if you want to know what I can do. That. I loved the attitude, I loved the way it was shot, the choice of music. It was Lisa [Joy] in her absolute prime. And if you had any idea of the crap we went through to try and make that scene happen, it would blow your mind.

Lisa Joy’s Reminiscence is one of those directorial debuts that’s strong in tone and style, forging her creative voice all the clearer. Having Thandiwe Newton help to do so, and in such a tremendous way, is one of the strongest reasons this scene plays so well in the finished film. Should the Mission: Impossible series be looking to bring back Newton’s character of Nyah Nordoff-Hall in the future, the powers that be can be sure that the character will be able to hold her own alongside Ethan Hunt and the rest of his IMF cohorts. Though anyone else looking for an action lead that can take on a whole bar full of baddies at a moment's notice should be paying attention as well.

Reminiscence is currently available, in all of its action and mystery glory, in theaters. However, you can also catch the film on HBO Max until September 19th, provided you’re a current subscriber to the ad-free plan. Check out the latest subscription offer available to newcomers, should you not already be part of the party.

Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.