The Hunted |


Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro, ...

(The Hunted: Sam Emerson)

Or is that the shunted? Prepped swiftly in the face of a potential actors’ strike two years ago, this tale of a retired special-ops killing instructor (Tommy Lee Jones) brought in to track down a soldier gone psycho (Benicio Del Toro) started filming in March 2001. (Connie Nielsen’s female FBI agent was originally a lead role, but she lost screen time because, the actress says, ”they had to enlarge the bad guy’s character to attract someone like Benicio.”) Del Toro was hot after ”Traffic,” and with a rejiggered script, production hummed along efficiently. Says Del Toro of costar Jones: ”Boom, one take, it’s real, he’s ready to move on. If you’re not on your toes, he’ll eat you up…. You have to adjust.” But with a week of shooting left, a simple bit of fight choreography between Jones and Del Toro went terribly wrong. ”Tommy fell on top of my hand,” says Del Toro, ”and I fell on top of Tommy.” Del Toro broke a bone, which led to a seven-month shutdown while his arm healed. It still hurt during the final filming, but Del Toro says he couldn’t let down his director, whom he likens to an old-school basketball coach: ”You gotta play with the injury best you can.”(March 14)