By EW Staff
Updated August 29, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
James Dittiger

While making Shoot ‘Em Up — about an enigmatic gunslinger (Clive Owen) who happens upon a newborn baby he must protect from a royally pissed off Paul Giamatti and his goons — writer-director Michael Davis discovered that American infants are, like, total slackers. ”In L.A., you can only have a baby in front of the lens for a half hour, total, an entire day,” says Davis, who’s making his studio-movie debut. ”But up in Toronto [where we filmed], the babies could work for eight hours, in front of the camera 15 minutes, [then] 20 minutes off. We had twins, [so] basically we could have a live baby whenever we wanted.”

But don’t worry — despite the title, no kids were ever placed in harm’s way. ”It’s the most heightened, ridiculous movie violence,” says Owen. ”It has no relation to the real world.” Indeed, Davis describes his film’s almost nonstop gunfights as ”kind of comic-booky, kind of Looney Tunes, kind of an action dance,” which may be why he sketched out 15 minutes of the skirmish with animation from 17,000 hand-drawn storyboards before Owen had even signed on. ”They’re stick drawings,” says Owen, ”but nobody else comes up with the stuff that he comes up with, really.” For instance? ”There’s a gunfight while everybody’s free falling out of an airplane,” says Davis. ”You can say, That’s a little bit too much, Michael. Well, yeah, but do I want to see a gunfight in midair? Yes!” Now that you mention it, so do we.