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Karate Kid director fights for movie by thinking small

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When director Harald Zwart (The Pink Panther 2) was preparing for his final pitch meeting on The Karate Kid remake, he knew he had to wow the powers-that-be at Sony Pictures. He was going up against another director with more experience in the underdog sports movie genre, so he decided to get creative and layout his vision for the film in a three-by-two-foot physical model.

Zwart and his wife trucked over to a model train store in Culver City and spent three long nights putting together a model of Mr. Han’s (Jackie Chan) courtyard where Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) trains in Kung Fu. “We were like an old Russian couple working old-style,” says the Dutch director. The finished product featured most of the intricate details you see in the film, down to the car Han is restoring in his living room, complete with blinking headlights that shine upon the opposite wall where a key scene unfolds in shadow. In the end, it all paid off. “I turned down the lights, walked in, and the model was all lit up,” says Zwart. “The whole room turned magical.”

For a closer look at how Zwart and his wife made the model, check out the featurette after the jump.

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