Edward Drake talks about his epic Christmas Thriller

Congratulations on another fine release!

Thank you again for the support, it means the world. It ain’t Shakespeare, but it is cinema. 

Not only did you manage to snag Willis for a final trilogy of movies, you managed to get him back for a Christmas action movie! This had to be a tick off the bucket list, right?

Christmas came early when Lionsgate green-lit these films, absolutely. 

You have worked with Bruce many times, has he ever stated whether he classes Die Hard as a Christmas movie? Haha!

Die Hard is the gift that keeps on giving! We’ve talked about Die Hard in the past, but it’s always been about the late great Alan Rickman. 

This sure as heck is a full-blown explosive Christmas action movie and Paul Johansson steals the show. He has so much energy!

Let’s Talk Paul and Bruce!

Paul is the man, he’s so great here. P. He’s a gentle giant who can 

The finale has Bruce channel his old-school action roots and he looked to be having fun taking out bad guys and quipping lines, did he ab lib, Merry Christmas Motherfu***r?

I think that’s the line that got this film financed. Bruce is up there with Sam Jackson as one of the last great movie stars who can say motherfucker with such a cheeky conviction that it can feel like a compliment. Bruce and Paul improvised some of the banter before that line, they had a lot more graphic suggestions for which part of Paul’s anatomy Bruce’s character wanted to shave a Christmas tree up. 

I think I will have the quote on Christmas cards this year!

I’ll look for the card in the mailbox. 

Knight and McClane comparison

What was Bruce’s opinions of the character, James Knight? [Did he like the character, see similarities between him and McClane, did he change anything about the character or did he simply show up and do the required scenes? – I see James Knight as a more realistic version of John McClane]

Knight is the consequence of John McClane: without John McClane, there is no Knight. Knight is forced to face the dark reality behind his actions.

Beau Mirchoff delivers another great performance as Rhodes, will he be back in the last installment?

INDEPENDENCE plays as a coda to Knight’s journey and takes him back to Los Angeles, and unfortunately, it just didn’t make sense for Beau’s character to be there.  

Will Rhodes’ partner from Rogue, Sykes make a comeback?

Sykes was my favorite character to write in ROGUE, and Keeya King was phenomenally gracious to work with. Keeya is wildly talented and had one of the hardest roles on set. I’d love to spin off the Sykes character in a separate film. 

Highlight action sequence?

What was your favorite action sequence to film, there are some big moments in this movie!

Bruce walking away from the vault explosion was a true highlight: most of the explosion was practical, we jazzed up the damage with some VFX, but 90% of it was captured in camera. After we shot the first take, Bruce came over to me and we watched playback. He grinned and said “that’s some Die Hard-shit.” Made my day. 

The prison break was a fun scene, would it be safe to say it would have been the most challenging and time-consuming segment to film?

Actually, it was quite pleasant because nobody knew what the hell was happening from moment to moment. I winged the whole opening act. Much of this film was being rewritten on the fly due to COVID restrictions and location availability shifting under our feet. When we started shooting the film, I didn’t know Bruce or Rhodes would be in prison: a completely different story had been written for them, but I was forced to adapt to the banal challenges of making films with limited resources.  

How much time passed between the filming of Rogue and this installment?

None. We shot ROGUE and REDEMPTION at the same time, often shooting scenes for both films in the same locations. The final shootout of REDEMPTION is the same location as the opening getaway heist in ROGUE.

The Trilogy!

How did you manage to secure and get the trilogy green-lit? It rarely happens!

The great work of the producers and Lionsgate made all this possible. 

The final installment, titled Independence, is due out in January, what can you tell us about it?

INDEPENDENCE is a metatextual character study of a troubled young man who has been brainwashed by films and television shows which praise Cowboy Cops. Knight is reckoning with his legacy of breaking the law to uphold the law.  

From the title and the series about criminal robbers, I’m getting some Point Break vibes, minus the surfing…

You have no idea, brother. ROGUE was originally set in L.A. and was going to be a spoof of POINT BREAK. The tone of these films was originally intended to be closer to Spike Jonze’s legendary music video for the Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’.

Mid Credits Treat

The mid-credits scene of Redemption, gives us a taste of what’s next, Will we see more of Lochlyn Munro?

Of course! The more Munro in your life, the better. Lochlyn returns in INDEPENDENCE and has to be one of the best actors I’ve ever worked with. The man is a saint and a blessing to any production. 

Will you return for another cameo? 

What cameo? I have no idea what you’re talking about. Are you referring to my long-lost twin, Ed Wood Rake? I don’t think the Academy will be calling his name out on stage anytime soon, but he tried his best and that’s what counts. 

Hold UP! Let’s Talk Paradise City

Before We wrap, You wrote the recently released “Paradise City” starring Willis and Travolta. Did you always intend to just write this movie?

Yep. 

Chuck Russell is a great director, how did you get him on board?

Chuck’s such a great collaborator, I feel he responded to the themes of conservation at the heart of the script. The production knew his work on Collateral and beyond made him the right creative to direct the film. 

Pulp Fiction Reunion

When writing this one, was it always envisioned as Willis vs Travolta?

Once I heard JT was interested in the script and working with Chuck again, I did a pass to dial in his voice. JT is such a charismatic presence, and I knew we could blend the audacity of the Buckley character with JT’s singular knowing smile approach to playing an antagonist . I’m so happy with how Chuck directed JT to lean into the witty menace of the character. 

These two haven’t shared the screen since, Pulp Fiction…this has to be a gloat-out-loud moment!

Pulp Fiction is one of the best films ever made. I know it was a good moment on set when Bruce and JT both stepped up. 

What were your thoughts on the finished movie? 

Chuck did a fantastic job and I hear audiences responded to it, I know the distributors are happy with the release and are asking about plans for a sequel. Above all, Stephen Dorff is the secret weapon of the film. He’s a phenomenal actor with a striking awareness for understanding what kind of film he’s in at any given point. 

** Check out our interview with Chuck HERE!**