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This is what a silent car chase looks (and sounds) like — Watch “The Calm” now

This year at Cannes Film Festival, BMW films makes a return with The Calm starring Pom Klementieff, Nathaniel Perry and Uma Thurman. Directed by Sam Hargrave and executive produced by Joseph Kosinki, the film brings back a long tradition of shorts from the automaker. Watch the film below and read our Q&A with executive producer Joseph Kosinski, whose works include iconic films such as Tron: Legacy and Top Gun: Maverick. 

For those in the know, The Calm isn’t BMW’s first cinematic rodeo. The automaker’s first foray into short films took place way back in 2001, with a ten-part series titled The Hire, which was released on the Internet as part of a two-year marketing campaign. The series was a market-savvy move into branded digital content, way ahead of its time twenty-two years ago. A-list names were recruited for the shorts: Wong Kar-Wai, Ang Lee, and Guy Ritchie were among the list of directors, while a mix of models, musicians and actors made up the cast which included the likes of Madonna, Clive Owen, James Brown, Gary Oldman, Adriana Lima and Danny Trejo.  

After a seven-year hiatus, BMW films are back with The Calm. Helmed by Sam Hargrave and Joseph Kosinski as director and executive producer respectively, the film also stars Pom Klementieff, Nathaniel Perry, and Uma Thurman. Almost as if to mark how much driving culture has changed since 2016, The Calm features a scene that has mostly been seen in sci-fi films up until now: the silent car chase. Instead of roaring engines, a gentle woosh of wind and a whirring engine tell us how fast the car is going. The silence is leveraged for comic effect, as we see chaos raging from the fight scene within juxtaposed with the calm and quiet outside.  

Below, we speak with the film’s executive producer Joseph Kosinski about the making of the film and the future of cinema in an evolving technological landscape.  

Still from The Calm. BMW Films.
Film still, The Calm.

Tell us about The Calm?  

“The Calm” is an action-packed short film that honors the rich legacy of BMW Films, keeping with the franchise’s history of A-list talent and state-of-the-art action scenes. I was very excited to sign on as Executive Producer and it was a lot of fun to watch Sam Hargrave and his team bring the storyline to life. The film focuses on a first-of-its kind “silent car chase” featuring the new all-electric BMW i7, features an amazing fight scene featuring Pom Klementieff and Nathaniel Perry in the backseat of the car, and ends with a special appearance by the incomparable Uma Thurman.  


How did your involvement with The Calm come about? 

I’ve worked with BMW in the past, and in the fall of 2022, they approached me about rebooting BMW Films. My memory of BMW Films, from when I first moved to Los Angeles in 2005, is this iconic franchise that kind of invented a new form of marketing – making people interested in the storyline without realizing the car was the star of the show – which was so innovative. So when I got the call, I jumped at the chance to sign on. 


Does creating a car chase scene look different when doing it with a silent car?  

I had the chance to drive the BMW i7 Sedan about a year ago – the new fully electric luxury car featured in “The Calm.” They brought one to Los Angeles last year for me to test out – and I loved that it was super powerful, yet super quiet – like a sheep in wolves clothing – which is a theme in “The Calm.” The silence of the car allowed us to focus even more on the action of the actors and the chase of the motorcycles, which are also electric and made by BMW.  


Favourite scene?  

It’s hard to choose but I think the actual car chase itself was so visually appealing. We got to see the amazing Pom Klementieff in action during that scene, and you get a bit of everything from the chase to the in-car fight scene. 


Most challenging scene and why? 

The car fight scene was a bit challenging as we figured out how best to navigate filming while the car ‘drove itself.’ There are so many elements happening during that scene – we wanted to make sure we got every angle of the excitement, and Sam Hargrave really did a beautiful job capturing that. 


Is your approach to filmmaking different when it comes to say a Hollywood film vs. commercial work? 

I don’t think so. What I like about the BMW Films franchise is that it has been, since its debut in 2001, seen as the pinnacle of branded films because it didn’t feel like advertising. I was able to use the same creative approaches and direction I would use in my Hollywood film work.  


In your opinion, how has CGI changed filmmaking and what would you consider to be the next frontier for films, for example AI?

I think CGI can elevate film if used correctly. It brings these larger-than-life ideas into reality onto people’s screens – and people go to see films to be transported, so I think it’s a great tool for that.  


For The Calm was there anything that you had to learn for the direction of the film or were you always a car guy? 

I’m always working with equipment, cars, planes, you name it, in my other work, so I enjoyed jumping in to understand how we best showcase the i7 in “The Calm.” 


What is the most memorable story you can share that happened on set for The Calm? 

There are too many to count – I think the thing I’ll remember most is working with the powerhouse cast and filmmakers. To collaborate with talent like Pom Klementieff, Uma Thurman, Sam Hargrave and Hans Zimmer was a spectacular opportunity.   

Watch The Calm below:

(Lead and featured image c/o BMW Films)

This is what a silent car chase looks (and sounds) like — Watch “The Calm” now

Vanessa Lee

Managing Editor

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