Nicolas Harvard was familiar with New Mexico before he was at the helm of “The Locksmith.”
The filmmaker had worked in the state on the Taylor Sheridan-written 2016 film, “Hell or High Water.”
“We knew we wanted to shoot in New Mexico,” Harvard says. “I originally thought it would be shot in Albuquerque. While I was scouting, a friend recommended that I look at Las Cruces.”
Beginning on Friday, Feb. 3, “The Locksmith,” Harvard’s directorial debut, will hit select theaters and be available on streaming platforms. The film will screen at Allen Telshor 12 in Las Cruces.
“The Locksmith” tells the story of a thief fresh out of prison, who tries to work his way back into the life of his daughter and ex-fiancee.
Determined, he is forced to use the skills he has as a gifted locksmith. Things take a tumultuous turn after an unexpected disappearance. The film stars Ryan Phillippe, Kate Bosworth, Ving Rhames, Jeffrey Nordling, Gabriela Quezada Bloomgarden, Madeleine Guilbot, Charlie Weber, Kaylee Bryant, Noel Gugliemi and Bourke Floyd.
Being familiar with eastern New Mexico, Harvard took the friend’s advice and made a road trip down there.
“The Locksmith” needed an area that felt like a small town with a small town police department.
“It was too big for that,” he admits. “But it was a perfect middle ground in that the city has areas that can transform into what I needed. Las Cruces is also big enough to support the film crew that I had. We had enough variety to fill the needs of the entire film.”
Production began in October 2021 and was completed in December 2021.
According to the New Mexico Film Office, it employed approximately 65 New Mexico crew members and 200 New Mexico background talent.
Harvard is no stranger to the Neo-Western vibe in film.
“I came out of the Taylor Sheridan camp,” he says. “He brought me on to ‘Hell or High Water’ and I did a couple of seasons of ‘Yellowstone.’ I knew the vibe. When the script came across, it jumped out to me that it’s solidly noir. I knew where to go.”
As an independent film production, Harvard paid attention to every aspect of filmmaking.
The major challenge was keeping everyone on the same path.
“It’s really just redirecting people and rethinking your own stuff to stay on budget,” he says. “We didn’t have a huge budget though some we wanted some bigger budget elements at every level.”
While the majority of his time in southern New Mexico was spent working, Harvard did have some chances to get away.
“During production, I drove out to White Sands with my dog,” he says. “It’s one of the most incredible places and I didn’t know what to expect. During prep, I did manage to go on some hikes in the Organ Mountains. It’s so beautiful.”