John Suits interview for Breach

We got to interview John Suits the director of the science fiction horror film Breach which stars Bruce Willis and Tom Jane.

AJ:
Hey John, how are you doing?

John:
Good. How are you doing?

AJ:
Good. Thank you for joining us at Infamous Horrors again, John. So what got Breach to come about?

John:
Sorry, you broke up a tiny bit. What was the question?

AJ:
How did Breach come about?

John:
Well, I got contacted about it and it was with a producer, Danny Roth, who I’d worked with before and also with Corey Large. They’re great to work with. I got contacted and they said they had this movie. At the time, Bruce Willis was already on board and it sounded like it’d be a lot of fun. So I kind of came on board for it at that point. So already there was a script and some of the actors attached and everything when I got involved.

AJ:
Yeah. And how was it like getting on the cast involved? Because like you said, Bruce Willis was already attached that when they contacted you. So how was it like getting the final casting together for Breach?

John:
Yeah, it was great. I mean, what’s nice is Corey Large has done this a lot and has a good system in place, so he had a lot of great connections. Once we were getting close to shooting, it was a pretty quick process where we got the rest of the pieces in place and sort of filled out the rest of the cast and finding a lot of people that sort of complimented each other. It was a good group, they’re a lot of fun to work with.

AJ:
And how was it having Bruce Willis on set? Because there has been things recently, like people haven’t had the best situations with him, but in this movie, he seemed really into it and like he was really gained for the movie. So how was it like working with him and Tom Jane on Breach?

John:
Yeah. He was great. He had a really good attitude and was just having fun. What was also amazing is that we were shooting in this great town or city called Fitzgerald in Georgia. And so he really ingratiated himself with the locals there and was so friendly to them, and they all got a lot of pictures with him. A really nice place to be shooting it. And I think he had fun there. I think that helped our case a lot and he seemed down to go for it. And that’s all you can ask for.
And then Thomas Jane was awesome as well. He was a real pleasure to work with. And what I loved about the way he worked is just super professional and had a very zen vibe, which was nice to have on set. He just was like, “Hey, I’m here to do my thing.” And was very just calm and cool, went through it. Yeah, great guy.

AJ:
Yeah. And that had to have been great having somebody like that onset in this pit science fiction thriller that you were doing, because a lot of people could be in character and just having somebody like Tom Jane who is just so zen and down to earth about everything, that must’ve been so refreshing to have on that set of cast members as well.

John:
Yeah, definitely. And that’s what it was like. Because definitely when we were working with him we had a lot to shoot and it was very busy, we had to get a lot done, but he just was so calm that it sort of made everybody feel like, “All right, let’s just get through it. We’ll keep shooting.” It was a good vibe.

AJ:
Yeah. How long was the shoot? Just curious. Did you guys have any deadlines? Of course you had deadlines, but how not excruciating, but how was the process of filming Breach?

John:
It’s tough. I mean, I think the hard part of it is we had to build this whole space ship set. And they built in Fitzgerald, kind of in this place that used to be a gymnasium. And so they turned the whole thing into this sort of massive spaceship set, which is really impressive to watch our whole art department do that, and it was a big undertaking obviously. So that part of it was stressful. And then additionally, we shot the whole thing in 15 days. So, it was a very fast schedule to be doing all the sort of action beats and the sort of thriller beats and all that sort of stuff to kind of get that all done in that amount of time.
Everybody had to really be on their A game just because it’s just a massive of quantity that you’re trying to kind of get through. And also, just having all those sets. It was a lot of space, it’s the light. And on our days we’re working with Bruce, we’re having to move around a lot. It was really great crew. And our cinematographer, Will Stone, who I’ve worked with a lot and worked a lot on commercials and stuff, we have a good shorthand and had a good plan. That helped us to kind of get through it all. But yeah, it was definitely an acute and aggressive schedule. There wasn’t much time to kind of stop and reflect. You just had to go for it once you were shooting.

AJ:
Right. And this is your kind of second film in a row where it takes place in an isolated science fiction film set in space. Is that kind of a story that you’re drawn into [crosstalk 00:06:08] others?

John:
Yes, it is. For sure. I like that kind of isolation and space type movie. But it’s sort of funny that they kind of stacked on top of each other. Because I’ve been wanting to do one for a really long time and then I did 3022, and then just kind of randomly got contacted about this one. I was like, “Just did it, I guess, so I know how to get those sets built.” And also, Will Stone was the DP on that one as well. I worked with our production designers on that one as well. So we’re able to kind of take the team from that. In that way, 3022 was a good test run. And, obviously, it’s a very different film than Breach, but that’s always sort of fun on this, to kind of step in and try something different tonally. It was kind of in the of world space movie again, but kind of done in a very different way, I’d say.

AJ:
And what films inspired you to kind of take this route in isolated space, thriller, horror genre. Was there anything that you watched growing up that kind of inspired you to take these movies on?

John:
Oh yeah, definitely. A lot of things we’re paying homage in some ways to Alien and The Thing. And even movies like Event Horizon, I love that movie. It freaked me out when I was young. So kind of that space poor aspect, I think that’s one that does it really well. I definitely am a fan of just in general, those kinds of dark space movies. Even movies like Sunshine or even Interstellar. I just kind of like that and I’m attracted to those stories for sure. And again, it was funny how always wanted to do a space movie, and then just randomly it was two in less than a year. But now I’ve scratched that itch I think, so that’s good.

AJ:
I’m so stoked that you brought up Sunshine because that’s sort of my favorite science fiction films over the past 10 years, and it’s like nobody ever really brings it up.

John:
Yeah. It’s really underrated and I think it’s a great movie. And I think also just stylistically the way they did everything, it’s very well done.

AJ:
Yeah. And it had some really young casts that’s all famous now. From Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Chris Evans.

John:
Yeah. A lot of the people from there went on to do great things. Obviously, Danny Boyle is an amazing director and I think that’s a great film and the tone of it. Obviously, there’s also more contemporary examples like Life was another one which I thought they did a really nice job with the space kind of elements of that. It’s a genre that I enjoy. Definitely, whenever you’re a part of one of these movies, you rewatch a bunch of movies just to kind of refamiliarize yourself with it.
Obviously, when you’re on a tight schedule and tight budget and everything… They’re tough movies to shoot quickly because there’s just a lot of elements that you don’t have to usually think about if you’re on a practical location or practical set. Some things even when you’re setting up a camera angle, it’s like, “Do we need a roof built here?” Or you have a roof built and then you set up the shot and it’s not enough roof built because you only built it for a third of the room. Or this wall doesn’t extend far enough. There’s a lot of that sort of stuff where you’re having to shoot really quick and it’s just things that you wouldn’t normally be worrying about which is good.
When you’re building the set… We actually, with some really awesome locals, we mapped through a bunch of the scenes. And our cinematographer, Will, with his iPhone, took pictures to act as storyboards. So we did that for all the things that have Bruce Willis in it, so we were extra prepared for those. And that way we’re able to look at what was missing from the set and try to preemptively build the extra pieces where it was needed once we had our shots set up.

AJ:
Well, John, thank you so much for joining us. It’s been really fun and congratulations on the film.

John:
Thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. Thank you so much.

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