Portraying a car chase with two men in one room with strictly practical effects, and making it feel as intense as a big-budget, Hollywood action flick seems impossible. Making a riveting action film with $22,000, two dudes and one room is perceived as inconceivable in an era polluted by CGI-heavy films. Eric Silvera and Sean Kenealy are determined to prove it is possible with their movie, “In Action.”
“I know it sounds crazy,” Kenealy said regarding the film. “But it can be just as exciting as “‘Die Hard.'”
Kenealy and Silvera, who are infatuated with the action genre, claim their film, which possesses a thrifty budget, will be as exhilarating as a large studio’s action film. Moreover, they want to tell a good story — which is something that has taken a backseat to captivating special effects in many Hollywood blockbusters lately.
“As much as we love the action genre, there’s a passion that’s been lost,” said Kenealy. “It has cared so much about special effects, that it lost its storytelling appeal. We want to strip the genre to barebones.”
“In Action,” which will begin shooting this summer, follows a basic action movie plot. The two main characters are estranged pals. Kenealy’s character Sean is a stay-at-home dad, and Silvera’s character Eric is a successful businessman; both of whom are failed writers and live on separate ends of the country. They rekindle their friendship at a mutual friend’s wedding and decide to write a new screenplay together via emails, text messages and phone calls. The characters’ movie resembles 80’s and 90’s action films. When the NSA discovers their seemingly suspicious messages, they kidnap Sean and Eric, and they must fight for their lives.
Kenealy and Silvera use familiar tropes to satirize the action-comedy genre, while paying homage to the genre they respect dearly.
“I was immediately drawn to the meta aspect of it (“In Action”),” said one of the film’s producers, Eli Samuel.
Kenealy and Silvera’s love for action movies began early in their respective lives. Kenealy said he first watched “The Terminator” when he was four-years-old. One of Silvera’s earliest memories involved “Rambo: First Blood Part II.” And to this day, they still see every big action film released in theaters.
Kenealy and Silvera, who have been writing partners for three years, both have an MFA in Creative Writing from The City College of New York. Their love of action movies brought them together at school.
“When I met Sean, it was fun to have someone to B-S with about action movies,” Silvera said.
Silvera admires how Kenealy interprets action films — which is one of the reasons why he wanted to create a movie with him. Kenealy analyzes action movies in a more dexterous manner than most individuals, according to Silvera.
“When we talk about “Die Hard,” he (Kenealy) says, ‘The movie is really about a guy who is trying to reconnect with his wife,'” said Silvera. “‘And he’s not the best person, and he’s learning to be good again and to try to communicate better.'”
A little over a year ago, after finishing another, unrelated screenplay, Kenealy and Silvera were discussing other project ideas. Then, Kenealy suggested that they do a two-person action movie. Silvera’s recalls giving Kenealy a confused reaction.
“I looked at him (Kenealy) and said, ‘Alright… well that sounds cool,'” said Silvera. “‘What are you talking about?’ He (Kenealy) said, ‘I want to make an awesome action movie on a shoestring budget.'”
After discussing the idea, Silvera started imagining how a two-person action movie can be made. In his head, he pictured the idea of car chase in one room with two people. With the usage of camera techniques, he realized that it is possible to make it feel as intense as a big-budget action move.
“I pictured the cameras dollying back-and-forth on the side where I would be and back-and-forth and rotating where Sean [Kenealy] would be,” described Silvera. “And then cut it in front. And putting it together in fast, Michael Bay style of quick edits.”
After realizing that the film is a possibility, they wrote the script in two months. However, the ambitious filmmakers understood that they had to convince others that their idea is conceivable.
“That’s the hard part,” said Kenealy.
The creators held a live reading of the “In Action” script in Silvera’s living room before several friends — many of whom work in entertainment. The audience reacted positively to their performance.
“We thought, ‘Oh, wow!'” said Silvera. “People laughed at our jokes, and they were silent when we were describing and acting out a car chase. People said, ‘We can see that car chase. We can close our eyes and feel it come together.'”
After receiving acclaim from friends, the creative collaborators were determined to bring “In Action” to life, and it made them believe they can make their movie as exciting as a big-budget, Hollywood action flick.
“In Action” reached its $22,000 goal on Kickstarter in July 2015. Throughout their month-long campaign, Kenealy and Silvera nervoulsy checked multiple times a day to see how much money their movie raised, hoping that people believe in this improbable project as much as they do.
“With the right passion, we want to prove that anybody can do something different,” said Kenealy.