The filmmaker Gavin O’Connor knows his way around a genre movie.
He’s responsible for one of the best sports movies in ages, “Miracle,” the engaging cop drama “Pride and Glory” and the MMA drama “Warrior,” about estranged brothers competing in the ring and pitched at a biblical scale.
His latest, the action-thriller “The Accountant,” stars Ben Affleck as a brilliant CPA on the autism spectrum who works for criminal groups and finds himself swept up in unexpected dramatics after he takes on a legit business as a client. It opens Friday.
“My intention was to bend the genre, and then how do you do that? Well, it starts with a unique, original protagonist,” O’Connor says. “Obviously, you can’t approach it in the clichéd way. We just approached it in a very honest way. We did a lot of research.”
Beyond that, O’Connor pinpoints another key characteristic that sets a quality genre movie apart.
“I don’t like disposable violence. I like action to come from character,” he says. “Once we knew the character, I decided I wanted a very specific kind of fighting style. And then I worked with my fight guys, we started researching all the different fighting styles across the globe. We came across a style called pencak silat, which is an Indonesian martial art, and I really loved that.”
The last important part of the recipe? Finding the right star.
“I’d never seen Ben do anything like this before,” O’Connor says. “That was exciting to me. It also required a conversation. ... He’s physical, he’s a big guy, so [that covered] all the action part of it, and also, Ben’s really [expletive] smart.”