Christian Sesma on his Explosive thriller, Section 8

Welcome back. It’s been a while since Paydirt when we last spoke! Let’s talk about Section 8, an action-thriller written by Josh Ridgeway and Chad law, what attracted you to the script?

Good friends, Great stories

What drew me to the script was obviously Chad Law’s a good friend of mine. So, he came to me with the idea for this, every man’s journey into this kind of Indie Mission Impossible world. It was super interesting that we could make this. I always called it the John McClane kind of journey where you have Jake who’s just an army vet paying his bills, living a family life and then due to a tragic event gets thrown into this world of espionage and action politics. I thought that helped it stand apart in this kind of genre.

Ryan Kwanten was excellent in the lead role. Was he always the front runner?

Actually, Ryan Kwanten came with the package when they came to me with it. So that was automatically another selling point that somebody like Ryan who is an amazing actor. Obviously, I was a fan of True Blood for a long time and then his new work is fantastic. So that kind of real character actor that isn’t used to seeing so much time in this space was interesting to me and it felt really fresh. Ryan was extremely collaborative on this; we were really lucky to have him as the lead holding this thing together and really brought a sense of humanity and realness to it and he brought rawness to the role that I think really helps sell it. 

Top tier action-stars

You got to work with some heavy weights like Scott Adkins, Dolph Lundgren and Mickey Rourke, what was it like working with these guys?

It’s always fun and it’s always surreal to, I mean you’re talking about actors that you’ve seen so much as a fan and a movie buff your whole life and even in recent times. So, when you get to work with them, it’s always a really great experience and it’s even greater when the experience is rare, it’s great when you’re working with guys that you really look up to. You really admire it and it’s even better. When that experience also goes really well and there really is a good onset environment. 

Mickey, I had worked with before on Take Back, so there was some familiarity there and it was really fun working with him again. Scott, it was the first time he and I worked together. So, I’ve been wanting to work with Scott for a long time and he really just is an incredible piece of this movie that keeps propelling the danger element and he’s just incredible and talented. Dolph is amazing, he’s a true pro, he really holds it together and Dermott was a blast. It was amazing to work with him. You know I have multiple projects with these guys after Section 8 that we worked on again, Dermot and Scott being two of them. It’s just it’s really an incredible experience when you get to collaborate with real talent that are really great people and that you really want to work with again.

Still got the moves

Dolph can still move, right? He’s in great shape especially for his age. 

Yeah, Dolph can still move you’ll see it in the movie. 

Did Scott have a hand in his action scenes? 

Yes, definitely Scott always approved. I mean, Scott himself is a martial arts brand. He definitely pushes us and pushes the film to elevate their material on the action side, and make sure that it’s coming off well and he’s just done it so much, it’s incredible. It’s almost like having a second unit action director at all times there to make sure that it’s all going to come off without a hitch and that all the angles are right. I learned a lot from Scott, you know, he’s done how many action movies? and coming from just an incredible action pedigree and martial arts pedigree, he’s heavily involved in the hand-to-hand fights for sure. 

You will have to have your own Scott movie next!?

We have one now. It’s called War Paint. 

Can you talk a little bit about that? 

Yeah, so War Paint is something again from writer Chad Law, he came to me and I thought this was something extremely special and that it’s something very special for Scott and I to get off the ground together as it’s his movie solely, I can’t talk too much about it, but we’re in pre-pro now and we were in Birmingham, Alabama, for the last three weeks, prepping this and we should be returning back soon to start shooting. We did some camera tests and some of that is online now. For myself as a fanboy and for the community that loves Scott Adkins, to see Scott Adkins coming back as this vigilante superhero, I think it’s going to really be something that they will want to watch.

Pleasing the audience

When picking an ensemble script are you worried certain fan favorites will not get enough screen time?

Yes, definitely, I’m always worried about that. And it’s always a concern. The good thing with Section 8 is that I felt everybody was pretty balanced. I feel that the way the script was written is the way we also shot and edited it. Everybody has their time to shine. Everybody is pretty fully defined as a character from the writing standpoint that nobody got muddled up, everybody has their moments and their way of interacting with Ryan’s character. I think Section 8 is a very balanced ensemble. 

The future

After Section 8, What’s next in the pipeline? 

We shot another ensemble movie called Lights Out with Frank Grillo and Mekhi Phifer, Jamie King and Dermot Mulroney is back, and Scott Adkins is back as well. It’s another stacked action movie, that comes out early next year. I think we have a post-delivery for the end of the year that we’re working on and then I have three or four pictures that we’re working on now that will come out next year. It’s going to be a busy, busy 2023. 

If you have to sum up Section 8 to our readers’ what’s your pitch? 

I’d say Section 8 is this very hard R action-revenge movie, like Death Wish meets Mission Impossible.

You can check out our first interview with Christian here