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Crackle Brings the Action With Extraction, First Original Movie

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While other online video sites are releasing short series full of 5-minute episodes, Crackle is going long. The Sony-owned online video destination has already attracted a following with its free commercial-sponsored premium content and original programming (most prominently Jerry Seinfeld’s "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee"). Now, it’s graduating to long-form video and is releasing two original movies online: Joe Dirt 2, a sequel to the 2001 David Spade original, and Extraction, which debuted on September 5.

Extraction is an especially physical action movie about a U.S. covert operation to extract a prisoner from a maximum-security Chechen prison. When the mission goes awry, one agent needs to fight his way out and keep his target alive. The movie stars Jon Foo (of Tekken) and Falk Hentschel (of Knight and Day) in the lead roles; Danny Glover, Sean Astin, and Vinnie Jones lend additional star power. We spoke to Tony Giglio, who wrote and directed the film.

Creating Extraction

“The idea came from when I saw The Raid: Redemption [a 2011 martial arts film from Indonesia] and I really, really liked it,” Giglio recalls. “I was getting a little bored with some of the Hollywood action movies that were coming out. What that movie did was it was very intense, but you got to see a lot of the action. You saw the performers do the stunts. You felt like you were in the fights with them.”

Extraction didn’t start with a plot or a twist or a star. It started when Giglio realized how exciting action movies are that don’t cut away every second or two, but actually show the action develop.

“It just added a different level of excitement,” Giglio says. “You direct enough movies and you can tell when they’re putting a stunt double in for Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise or something. It was just kind of nice to see the guy really doing the stuff and to not direct too much with the camera -- to actually let the performer do it. So I started kicking around some ideas.”

Extraction is Giglio’s fifth feature film. He’s been kicking around Hollywood for years, rising up the ranks. His first job in movies was as Sam Raimi’s production assistant (PA) during The Quick and the Dead. Giglio also worked as a PA for James Cameron during the making of the Terminator 2 3D ride at Universal Studios Florida. His first feature was a low-budget film for Columbia TriStar Home Video. Not tied to any one genre, Giglio has directed a family film, a World War II submarine drama, a thriller, and a horror movie. He’s also done quite a bit of script writing.

Extraction director Tony Giglio (center) talks to leads Jon Foo (left) and Falk Hentschel (right) between takes.

Giglio brainstormed on creating a low-budget, contained action movie but thought the field for black ops titles might be a little crowded, with Seal Team Six and Zero Dark Thirty having just come out. A lunch with a producer friend got Giglio talking about Extraction, however. The producer liked the idea and knew that people at Crackle were looking for action titles, so he arranged a meeting.

“At the time, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t fully aware of taking any projects to a new media. I was familiar that Sony had an online division, but I wasn’t too savvy about it,” Giglio says. “I put together a pitch and they set a meeting, and I didn’t really think too much of it. Usually when you go out for a pitch, your agents and your managers line up about 40 or 50, and you do them all in a 2-week period. This one literally was just a one-off. I didn’t know what to expect, but our executive John Orlando pretty much bought it in the room. I was probably as shocked as anybody had ever been.”

The Stars Align for Extraction

At first, Crackle and Giglio planned to make Extraction as a six-episode series, in line with most original content on the site. That’s how Giglio pitched the idea, as six 25-minute episodes. But after Giglio wrote the 150-page script for the full series, he and the people at Crackle realized the project was beyond the established budget. Giglio thought Extraction was finished, but Crackle liked the idea and encouraged him to find a way to do it for less money. He joked that he could take 50 pages out of the script and shoot it as a movie, and to his surprise the people at Crackle went for it. They hadn’t done a movie yet and were excited by the idea.

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