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Crackle Brings the Action With Extraction, First Original Movie

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“It all happened incredibly fast,” Giglio remembers. “I pitched this last September and we’re going to premiere on September 5. I’ve never had a project go from pitch to completion in a calendar year. It’s insane.”

To make his highly physical action movie, Giglio knew he needed actors who could fight on camera and make it real. The lead role went to Jon Foo, who’s known in the fighting world and played the lead role in Tekken, the 2010 movie based on the fighting game franchise.

“A mutual friend of mine basically said if you ever want to do an action movie you have to hire this guy,” Giglio says. “He’s good-looking, charming, very funny, charismatic, and I was like, ‘Okay he’s got the presence to be a star. I don’t know what he can do.’ Then I went home and watched some of his demo reels and I was like, ‘This guy can fly. He can do it all.’“

The co-starring male role went to Falk Hentschel, who’d had a small part in White House Down but was largely unknown. Giglio found the fighting talent he needed, but he didn’t yet have the recognizable names that would get people to take a look at his movie. He found that with Danny Glover and Sean Astin, who took crucial supporting roles.

“When we decided to go with Jon and Falk as the two leads there definitely was a desire from all of us to find some recognizable faces so it’s not just a couple of unknowns to market the movie around,” Giglio says. “I’ve been a fan of Danny Glover’s ever since The Color Purple and Lethal Weapon. I was so excited when we sent him an offer and so excited when he said yes. It’s humbling when a guy like that sits across from you and starts talking about your character like it’s already him. And then I’ve been a fan of Sean Astin since Goonies and I think the guy can really do anything.”

On the Set

Crackle gave Giglio a seven-figure budget to work with (they aren’t disclosing the actual amount), which isn’t huge for a feature film. So rather than filming on foreign soil, Giglio needed to find something closer to home.

“It’s funny, most movies shoot in the Eastern Bloc and pretend to be in L.A. And we actually were a movie set kind of in the Eastern Bloc but we were shooting in L.A.,” Giglio jokes.

One of Giglio’s biggest challenges was finding the right location. Luckily for him there are a few abandoned prisons in the Los Angeles area. He chose the Sybil Brand Women’s Prison, which was shut down not long ago. Unexpected features, such as a tunnel underneath the yard, sent Giglio back to his computer for rewrites.

Along with Danny Glover, Sean Astin (left) gave director Giglio some name recognition for the cast of Extraction.

“It literally had so many interesting different nooks and crannies that it made the show. It will add a more interesting production design than just your standard prison movie with a row of cells here and there,” Giglio says.

Working in Online Video

Writing and directing a movie for release online was a new avenue for Giglio, but it was one he was eager to take. Like anyone keeping an eye on streaming entertainment, he can see that premium content is increasingly bypassing TV and movies and going online.

“I know that there’s some people out there who probably aren’t giving it a chance because its online, but I do think this is where it’s going,” Giglio says. “House of Cards was so well done -- and I’m not trying to compare us to them -- but they presented a show that you could not tell if that was HBO or anything, they did it so well. That’s the standard that I try to hold myself to.”

For Giglio, online films should feel like standard movie theater movies, so he approached Extraction the same way he would a feature for theatrical release.

“I don’t want to have the excuse that I only had this many days or I only had this much money. Audiences don’t want to hear about those stories,” Giglio says. “I wanted to present a movie back to Sony that felt like we could walk it over to the other division and they could realistically release this movie.”

Will There Be an Extraction II?

This is the kind of movie that’s ripe to be made into a franchise, if successful. So did Giglio leave a little room at the end for a possible sequel?

“Oh yeah, absolutely,” Giglio enthuses. “If the audience members come out I definitely left it open-ended.”

So Crackle is now in the original movie business. If Extraction hits its mark, by this time next year Crackle could be in the sequel and franchise business, as well.

This article appears in the October/November 2013 issue of Streaming Media magazine as "Crackle Brings the Action with Extraction."

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