I’ll start off by saying that Roughrider was a dangerous film to make. Normally, these action/adventure films are made with millions of dollars, stuntmen, insurance, and safety equipment, but we only had a production budget of $12,000 (I funded the project by working as a set builder on Robert Rodriguez films). The goal here was to create a film with high production value on a micro budget. The actors performed their own stunts and scenes were often shot very fast with skeleton crews. Usually if law enforcement came in to clear us out, we’d return the next day or on a weekend to finish the scene. Thankfully, there were no citations issued, no arrests, and no injuries other than a bruise and a few scrapes. We developed a sort of recognition with the Austin Police Department. For the most part, they were happy we were doing something productive with our time rather than off getting into trouble. Austin, Texas was the perfect place to make a film like this, not only because of the wide array of locations, but because of the support of its people and friendly law enforcement.
I remember there was one day when a frightened citizen spotted one of our prop guns and reported to the police. Undercover officers infiltrated a ditch we were filming in armed with shotguns. One of our film’s lead actors, Kelvin Girdy, had turned a corner only to literally run into one of these armed police officers. Thankfully, he has a way with words when under pressure and no one was hurt.
On a technical level, we wanted Roughrider to feel like the action films of the 80s and 90s, which featured simplistic, yet implausible action sequences and hand-made effects. The overall look of the movie is very old and grainy to support this. This is a movie that winks at the audience – when making a film whose main character is a skateboarder with a machine gun, I knew from the beginning that I couldn’t try to make something dramatic. It had to be tongue-in-cheek at all costs. Sure, the movie touches on serious issues found in today’s society such as drug cartel violence, but the story is delivered as a modern day swashbuckler.
The main character is Jack Urban. He’s not our average hero. He fights only for himself and if he happens to save the day, it was probably by accident. When his younger sister is lost to drug violence and cops and politicians fail bring about justice, Jack believes the only way to fight fire is with fire. It isn’t until he’s faced with a bigger threat when he starts to realize that the problems of the world are bigger than what matters to him personally.
I hope you enjoy this trailer and I look forward to bringing this film to you in 2012.
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