James Cullen Bressack is drawn to scripts that make him feel something.
When the script for “Hot Seat” crossed his path, he knew it was for him.
“Not only did (writers) Leon (Langford) and Collin (Watts) make a really great script. They allowed me to think of how to make it,” Bressack says. “It’s about a guy strapped to a chair. I had to think of how to make it happen. That’s what I enjoyed about the challenge.”
Once Bressack was on board, he knew it had to be filmed in New Mexico.
“New Mexico was always the plan from the beginning,” Bressack says. “I was excited to film out there because I wanted it to be anywhere in America. It’s not New York. This can happen to your neighbor and that’s the feel that I wanted for the film. New Mexico lent itself to it perfectly.”
The premise of “Hot Seat” follows the story of an ex-hacker forced to break into high-level banking institutions, as another man must try to penetrate the booby trapped building to get the young man off the hot seat.
The film stars Mel Gibson, Sam Asghari, Shannen Doherty, Kevin Dillon and Michael Welch. The film will play at select theaters around the country, as well as on-demand viewing beginning Friday, July 1.
According to the New Mexico Film Office, “Hot Seat” filmed in Las Cruces in late-October.
The production employed 55 New Mexico crew members, 10 New Mexico principal actors and 200 New Mexico background talent.
Bressack says the production used the tallest building in Las Cruces, which is the Las Cruces Tower, which used to be the Wells Fargo Tower.
“I had a sandwich there at Abraham’s a few times,” he says of working in the tower. “It was the perfect location for us.”
Because the film is a thriller, Bressack had to have intent behind each decision he made with the film.
“Working on this film was like playing chess,” he says. “There were elements of surprise and suspense. We had to build those up. It was also very cool to do a ‘Saw’ throwback with the villain taking charge.”
With the film ready for an audience, Bressack is excited to get feedback from viewers.
“Watching it back, there are always things I would have done differently,” he says. “That’s the life of a filmmaker. You can’t change it once it’s done, so you just make it the best you can when it’s in your hands. I feel that this one came out very well. I’m proud of it.”
Bressack is a filmmaker that enjoys keeping busy. He hopes to bring more projects to New Mexico in the future.
“On this project, I only got to see Las Cruces,” he says. “I’d love to bring more projects all over the state.”
SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.