Jeff Fahey needs no introduction as he is a legend of the genre and I personally have been a fan of his for around 30 years so, it was awesome to finally get to speak to him about his new movie Black Warrant (also starring Tom Berenger and Cam Gigandet) which is out On Demand now.
Black Warrant tells the story of a semi-retired special ops assassin and a DEA agent who cross paths on separate missions to stop a cyber terrorist organization that has built a dangerous machine threatening to attack the power grid and bring catastrophe to the world.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me today.
Oh my pleasure; I’m always happy to discuss my new movies and get the word out there.
Today, we’re going to be discussing your latest film Black Warrant. What was it that appealed about that?
Well, first of all, I was intrigued by the story. It was a very interesting twist how they stumbled on to this terrorist. But also, Tom Berenger, who is an old buddy of mine. Tom and I always have been looking for opportunities to work together, even though we didn’t have a lot of work in this film. We did have a nice, one long scene that we enjoyed doing. Elias also one of the producers, is an old friend of mine, and this all happened pretty quick. My manager, who represents Tom and myself, Jeff Goldberg, he gave me a shout and said “there’s something very interesting that Tom was doing and Elias is producing. You might want to give it a quick read” and I did. I said, “I’ll jump in” and I think I went down to Tijuana for two days. But it was the story to answer your question. It was the story and working with Tom and also with Elias, the producer. I didn’t get a chance to do anything with Cam. But I met with him and had dinner with him while we were filming. Very nice guy and I’m a big fan of his also. I was happy the way it turned out. I mean, it’s a miracle that any film ever gets done, especially in this time coming out of the long haul of COVID and finding it’s been difficult for small and big films. But we were able to pull this off, and I was I was very happy with the outcome.
Were you filming it throughout the pandemic or was it towards the end?
I was able to work on a number of small films throughout the pandemic. That was, again, for those reasons that we were able to work within the restrictions. A lot of small productions with small crews, small casts and the subjects, the storylines were written during that period, all to be self-contained to accommodate the challenges. But let’s see, we did this about a year or so ago. We were just on the tail end of the major restrictions, as it were. But still, everyone’s being tested every day or every other day and all of those challenges because if somebody gets hit with COVID, then as you well know, it could shut down or somebody has to be isolated. So, those challenges then became all part of the norm, I mean, everybody was prepared if somebody had to go into isolation or someone has to be recast because they’ve tested positive. But we didn’t have, as far as I know, any problems on this.
You kind of have to just adapt because it’s in the world now…
Yeah, I mean, you really do. It’s not uncommon to get a phone call and say, “hey, can you come and replace somebody that tested positive?” or “we’ve got to shut down or the film can’t go forward”, especially the small ones, really. Not to say that the big ones didn’t take their hit, but the small ones, if they had to shut down for a week, those lower budget films, then the film was dead. There was always that challenge. But as you said, it has become the norm and people are adjusting and still telling stories.
It’s interesting that you’ve known Tom Berenger for years because I thought that radiated off the screen and the scene where you two were chatting together on the boat it felt like two old friends with that natural chemistry. Do you think that really helps if you’re actually friends in real life that it makes it seem just natural on screen?
Oh Absolutely. Yes, absolutely. I do. I mean, it’s part of one’s job as an actor to create that. But if it already exists in different stories, especially in something like this, then that’s already there. Then we have fun with the dialogue; if the dialogue has to be adjusted and rearranged in the moment, it’s so much easier to keep that flow. Even to your point about knowing somebody for so long, it’s easy to add things and I’m not necessarily saying that one is changing the story but, sometimes little adlibs happen within a scene so it was easy breezy. Not only is Tom a good friend, but I’m a big fan of his. Always have been. It’s so easy to walk into a film or a play or TV show wherever it is that you’re stepping in with an old friend. And then it’s just having fun and telling the story.
The way the film ends. I definitely feel there’s some definite sequel potential, and I was thinking, how can we get Jeff in the next movie more? Because I just want to see more of the banter between you and Tom in a potential sequel where maybe you have to work together to rescue Cam or something like that. Would that interest you to return to that world?
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Even when we were doing it, it certainly set up to move into a sequel again, depending on where the market is. But my understanding is the film sounds pretty good. It’s on streaming and on demand and Netflix and a number of other outlets. We’re in the market and if something works and you can rock and roll again, I’m all for it and it would be great to expand and the storyline where we had a little more to do together. But in answer to your question yes, I’d jump in in a minute.
Generally, what do you look for in a script these days to jump off the page for you to be interested?
Well, I have to tell you, it’s been close to 50 years in the industry now, between theatre and film and television. I’ve had quite a few conversations about this recently. The story certainly has a lot to do with it. It’s the people, to my mind, a place in my life now where the people I work with are just as important to me as the story. If I can work with friends or people that that I’ve admired, and whether it’s from the writers, the directors or the performers or the actors or DP’s, that has a lot to do with it now. As I chose to do this, even though it was one scene, it was to work with Tom, to work with Elias, the producer who I’d worked with before. As long as the story isn’t something that I’m against being part of, where I think it might be doing more damage than just entertaining, I’m in. But if I feel the story can falsely represent the negatives out there then it’s really not going to do any good for me. I’m not here to judge what’s right for the audience or what the audience wants to see but just for me, and when you’re at that place and you stay on the horse long enough you get to make choices eventually. But, to answer your question, it’s the people that I’m working with that have a lot to do with it equal to the story.
What would you like audiences to take away from Black Warrant?
Oh, this this is an entertainment. I mean, this is a fun ride with an interesting little twist. We can get into the geopolitical and feelings about something but this is a good ride. A nice little piece of entertainment for people that has intrigue and international terrorism, if you will. I love the relationship between the father and the son so yeah, this it’s not heavy messaging about life but it’s a fun romp and a good piece of entertainment.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat. Really appreciate it and best of luck with the film.