*Interview* Writer & Director Edward Drake Talks Working With Bruce Willis & More
AR:Welcome to Action Reloaded! Thank you so much for your time Edward, I really appreciate it.
ED: Happy to be here, dude.
AR: What initially spurred you to get behind the camera and start your career directing?
ED: I’m an only child raised by wolves.My career options were Priesthood, Army, or Artist.So I said a prayer and shot my way to a chance at being a filmmaker.
AR: Growing up who were your heroes in cinema?
ED: Steven Soderbergh, hands down.
AR: Out of curiosity, what are your favourite movies?
ED: Ocean’s 11, Point Break, or Gladiator.
AR: You first caught my attention with Breach which starred action legend Bruce Willis. Did you write the character Bruce plays with him in mind?
ED: Yep, I knew Bruce was looking for upcoming sci-fi projects. He’s a massive nerd, so I wrote for his cadence and energy.
I hope they make the original script one day.
BREACH was originally ANTI-LIFE, and they are two completely separate films as far as I’m concerned.
AR: What was your inspiration for the movie? It felt much like Aliens meets Doom
ED: Honestly? A miscarriage. When I was 21, my girlfriend at the time was pregnant.
I was terrified of becoming a father because suddenly everything in the universe felt like a threat to my unborn child.
Rain? Could turn to hail. Cars? Death machines. Food? Who knows what they put in apples these days.
Unfortunately, the baby didn’t make it past week eight, however, I’ll never forget the constant feeling of questioning if I was ready to become a father.
ANTI-LIFE was the story of a terrified young man becoming a father, and the way the malevolent forces of the universe conspire to test us.
It was about colonialism and the right of one species to dominate another.
It was about abuse of power.
There were no flamethrowers in my script, but I did have a jetpack strapped to a surfboard.
ANTI-LIFE morphed into BREACH, per the wishes of the director and his writing partner.
I will always support the director’s vision and I know he’s proud of the final film.
AR: The movies ending leaves the door wide open, have you an idea of where you would take a sequel?
ED: Yep, the BREACH universe is alive and kicking.
The story would follow Noah and Hayley, and their infant, trying to get off the planet.
The film takes place in real-time.
It will be interesting to see how it takes shape, the sales for BREACH exceeded everyone’s expectations.
AR: your next release, after Breach, was also set in Space. Cosmic Sin, which you also directed re-unites you with Willis and action hero Frank Grillo. What was it like working with Bruce and Frank?
ED: Fantastic, sincerely.
Bruce calls me ‘The Brit’ and Frank calls me ‘Roll That Fucking Camera Right Now’.
It was a blast working with both. Bruce is a legend. I was in Tokyo, Japan, not too long ago. I speak zero Japanese, and my new friends spoke zero English.
I was miming my way through a conversation but as soon as I said ‘Bruce Willis’ everyone in the room who didn’t speak English knew exactly who I was speaking about.
Frank is one of the best actors of our generation right now.
Frank’s a leading man who will walk away with a gold statue one day, mark my words.
AR: With movies like this the budgets and times are always tight. What was the schedule and how long did you have Frank and Bruce for?
ED: Ten days .It’s not my place to kiss and tell, haha.
When you see the film, guess how many days for both and I’ll give you a cookie if you’re right.
AR: Did these guys give you any advice or tips that you plan to carry forward in the industry?
ED: None which I can share in good company.
AR: Trailers can be very deceptive, would you advertise Cosmic Sin as a very much a Frank and Bruce movie?
ED: Yep, both characters feature prominently in the film. When one isn’t a scene, the other usually is.
Look, I get it, audiences have been burned before by scrupulous producers who market a cameo as a starring role.
However, Bruce really wanted to make COSMIC, he championed me to the distributors and I hope audiences give COSMIC SIN a fair shake.
AR: After Cosmic Sin, you aren’t done with Bruce! You have action/thriller Apex, is Willis the lead? It sounds like Die Hard in the woods!
ED: For APEX, think PREDATOR meets MR. MAGOO.
APEX stars Neal McDonough, Bruce Willis, Corey Large, Lochlyn Munro, Nels Lennarson, Megan Peta-Hill, Trevor Gretzky, Alexia Fast, and more.
The film was shot by the inimitable Brandon Cox (Cut Throat City) and Wai Sun Cheng (Broil).
American Siege sees Bruce return with you at the helm, this marks the third movie you have directed featuring Bruce. What would be your favourite out of your Bruce trilogy?
I have my favorite, absolutely. I will say SIEGE is a special film. We made it in eight days, during a pandemic, with a cast and crew who adapted to every challenge with grace and exuberance.
AR: Can you tell us about American Siege?
The story of small-town corruption set in beautiful Fitzgerlad, Georgia, and a family that will go to extreme lengths to learn the truth behind one question: What happened to Brigit Baker?
AMERICAN SIEGE stars Timothy V. Murphy, Bruce Willis, Rob Gough, Anna Morse, Trevor Gretzky, and Johann Urb – I couldn’t have asked for a better cast.
The film was edited by Justin Williams, stunt-coordinated by Robert Laenan, and shot by the magnificent Laffrey Witbrod.
AR: When can we expect to see Apex and American Siege hit our screens?
ED: APEX this summer, SIEGE around October.
AR: You have worked with Bruce four times in total, do you have a top 5 of his movies?
THE 5TH ELEMENT
DIE HARD 3: WITH A VENGENCE
AR: Would you pen a Die Hard 6? If so, would you keep it contained like the first or go big like 4/5?
ED: Yes, absolutely.
Ask me that question again in nine months.
AR: After American Siege, what’s next? Are you working on some more projects you can tell me about?
ED: 7 HITS, a punk-rock band story I wrote and will be directing with Elliott Montello.
There’s a project with Netflix which will bring me back to working with old friends, excited to share more about the story soon.
And I’m looking forward to spending some time with my new dog, Utah, hoping he doesn’t chew every single cord in the house.
AR: So far your movies seem quite throwback, what do you think of modern action movies?
ED: Action should be fun, man!
There’s a time and place for gritty narratives, but audiences are being deprived of smart, fun action.
THE NICE GUYS was such a breath of fresh air. Shane Black is a hero of mine. His approach to empathy, characters, and violence makes Martin Riggs feel more real than most people I know.
That realism is something I strive for: Action without consequences is just spectacle.
The throwback energy is just an affectation for certain audiences: I know exactly why they’re putting on a Bruce Willis movie, and it isn’t rocket science.
Give the people what they want: Bruce shooting at bad guys and always having the final word.
AR: Would you say you prefer the writing or directing side of the industry?
ED: I write for free, they pay me to direct.
AR: For any aspiring writers and directors, what advice would you give?
ED: The best stories are about great characters and singular truths.
AR: Edward, thank you for your time! Good luck with the release of Cosmic Sin and the upcoming Bruce movies! I wish you all the best, stay safe!
ED: Thanks, Jeff!
Hope our paths cross again soon, sir.