James Cullen Bressack talks his latest movie, Fortress, and working with Bruce Willis & Steven Seagal



What inspired you to become a writer/director?
I grew up watching films. Movies were always my whole life. My Dad really shaped me into wanting to be a filmmaker. We used to watch tons of films together when I was little and he would ask me so many questions about them. Why was a scene shit a certain way, what was the character’s motivation. At the time I thought he was just trying to make sure I was paying attention, but in hindsight he was teaching me to critically think on how to make a movie and direct.

You started off in the horror genre, were you a fan growing up?

Huge fan. I am covered in Horror movie tattoos. I’ve always loved horror. Maybe because when younger it was a test to see who was more grown up, like who could brave a horror film. Much like who could ride a rollercoaster. A lot of that is thanks to my older sister Samantha. She liked horror movies and is 7 years older than me so when I was little I wanted to be cool and hang out with my older sister. I also watched alot of β€œAre you afraid of the dark?” And read alot of Goosebumps. Lastly gotta thank the 5 for $20 bin at Blockbuster.

What are your top 5 favorite horror movie/movies?

Horror movies or just movies in general?

Movies in General
Oldboy
Goodfellas
Kill Bill Vol. 1
Sin City
Pulp Fiction

Horror Movies

Brian Damage

Nightmare on Elm Street Dream warriors

Audition

Hellraiser

Seed of Chucky

You wrote an awesome movie, Circus Kane. Was a follow up ever written or planned out? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

The movie does end with the potential for a sequel so you never know but currently there are no plans for one. I do appreciate the kind words on this one though!

You have recently hung up the horror genre, temporarily I assume? And delved into action. Is action easier to create than horror?

It’s not that action is easier than horror, it really just gets bigger budgets and is able to attract talent more. I wanted to transition over in order to increase the size of films I was making. I love both genres quite a bit and enjoy the stylistic parallels.

To kick start your transition you teamed up with Steven Seagal, Johnny Messner and the late DMX. What was it like working with these guys?

I had a good time on Beyond the Law. I got to work with many legendary action actors and make a dark and brooding film. I quite enjoyed it.

I am sure directing Steven Seagal was quite a pinch yourself moment?

Definitely. Also same with DMX! It’s always so surreal to work with people you’ve seen so many times in movies / music videos your entire life.

Your most recent movie Survive The Game, has you directing Bruce Willis, Bruce had some cool one liners, was this some classic Bruce improv?

Bruce definitely added some flavor to the film by improving. It really helps the film. He just gives those great one liners

Chad Michael Murray co-stars, he has transitioned across into the action genre, he seems very hands on with stunts and fight scenes?

Chad is fantastic. Just a great guy and a hard worker. He really is hands on and comes up with great ideas. He wanted to slide across the hood of the car in Survive the Game and he did the stunt himself. He’s very dedicated and in it.

From looking at your work in action, you seem to love the golden hey-day of 80s/90s action, am I correct?

100 percent. These are the films I grew up on. I love this era of action.

Working with the likes of Steven and Bruce, did they give you any advice or tips for future use?

I think everytime you work with anyone you learn things. This business is ever growing and ever changing. I learn things from any and everyone I work with, not just most recognizable names.

Your next movie Fortress, reunites Bruce and Chad, what was it like working with them again?

It was great to get everyone back together, especially so close together since the previous time, only a few months apart. Was a great time shooting the movie

Is Fortress a Bruce Willis movie or a Chad Michael Murray led feature?

You’ll have to wait and see πŸ˜‰ but they are both in the film quite a bit.