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Rudhraksh Jaiswal on ‘Extraction’: ‘I Bet You Have Not Seen This Kind of Action Anywhere’

The actor on being mentored by Chris Hemsworth and Sam Hargrave during the making of Netflix’s latest action thriller

Jessica Xalxo Apr 26, 2020

Chris Hemsworth and Rudhraksh Jaiswal in a still from 'Extraction.' Photo: Jasin Boland/Netflix

Sweat, guns and a kidnapping–your average summer thriller, right? Well, given his previous credits, which include being stunt coordinator and second unit director in the MCU, filmmaker Sam Hargrave’s Extraction takes all this up a notch and more. Adapted from the graphic novel Ciudad, penned by the Russo brothers (Infinity War, Endgame) and Ande Parks, this Netflix offering starring Chris Hemsworth and Rudhraksh Jaiswal explores the notion of survival and the bonds we form in the midst of relentless fire, delving into the story of a mercenary and kid stuck in a war between two drug lords. 

When working in a film where the emotion is action, it’s vital to understand nuance. For 17-year-old Jaiswal, playing the character of Ovi Mahajan in Extraction required all that and more. “It is a film that has a lot of physically and emotionally challenging sequences. We had a lot of readings with the cast and crew in Ahmedabad before we started shooting. Those were integral in helping me understand the intricacies of my character,” says the actor. The story’s setting changed in the film adaptation with the action shifting from Paraguay to Bangladesh. Amidst all the transition, Jaiswal cites the script itself as a bible. “Joe [Russo] captured the drama of the film beautifully. There’s feeling and expression in all the action and fighting which I think will make for an interesting watch for the audience,” he says of the film which was shot extensively in India and Thailand. 

Hargrave and Hemsworth’s combined experience of action also translated to an exciting education on set for Jaiswal who–as an MMA practitioner and gymnast–did all his stunts himself. “I’ve grown up watching Chris and Sam’s work and it’s their passion that brings such a uniqueness to all they do,” he says. Most of the actor’s scenes in Extraction are shared with Hemsworth (who plays Tyler Rake in the film) and the duo quickly built a budding camaraderie with Hemsworth exchanging acting and fitness lessons with Jaiswal. “We worked on dialogue delivery, covering things like voice modulation and pausing between lines. He also taught me how I could perform action sequences better, sharing tips from all his past work,” says the actor. 

The director-actor duo of Hargrave and Hemsworth particularly guided and enhanced the young actor’s skill and performance throughout the making of the film. “Sam helped me understand the technicalities that were involved in every scene, especially the action sequences. That was really very helpful,” he says. 

The most intense and exhilarating action sequence in Extraction is undoubtedly the 11-minute oner wherein Hargrave stitches together a seemingly uninterrupted series of long shots that begin with Rake and Mahajan being chased on the streets. The camera then winds through a series of buildings and neighborhoods before bringing them back on the road again. About the scene, Jaiswal says, “It’s only because of Sam Hargrave and the amazing stunt team that we could have pulled off this beautiful shot. I can bet you have not seen this kind of action anywhere.” The director was right in the thick of things with the actors, strapped to the hood of a Polaris Ranger 1000, running up flights of stairs and jumping from one building terrace to another, while filming the sequence inspired by action-thrillers from the Seventies. 

Rudhraksh Jaiswal and Chris Hemsworth in a still from ‘Extraction.’ Photo: Jasin Boland/Netflix

Although featuring many Marvel names, Extraction is about crime lords, not superheroes. But there’s plenty that is redeeming about it. “The most beautiful thing about Extraction is the bonding that’s witnessed over the course of Ovi and Tyler’s journey in the film,” says Jaiswal. There was an intimacy on set that could only be brought out by the relationship that the actors shared with the stunt team, what with hours of trust and choreography going into sealing “every bone-crunching shot” and Jaiswal hopes viewers have as much fun watching the film as the team did making it. 

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