One of my favorite films from this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was S. Craig Zahler’s (Bone Tomahawk) sophomore feature, Brawl in Cell Block 99. If you’re not familiar with the film, the movie features an awesome performance by Vince Vaughn as a former boxer named Bradley who ends up having to work for a friend as a drug courier. When things go off the rails, Vaughn lands in prison where he’s given an ultimatum: either do what he’s told or loved ones on the outside will suffer.
Trust me, you’ve never seen Vaughn in a role like this and he absolutely knocks it out of the park. I saw the film at its world premiere at TIFF and throughout the film there were a number of gasps in the audience due to the violence depicted onscreen. It’s a wild ride and one I strongly recommend checking out for yourself. Brawl in Cell Block 99 also stars Don Johnson, Jennifer Carpenter, Udo Kier, Rob Morgan and Marc Blucas. For more on the film read Matt Goldberg’s review.
Shortly after seeing the TIFF premiere I got to sit down with Vince Vaughn and Don Johnson for an exclusive interview. They talked about the enthusiastic response to the screening, filming the movie in only 25 days, their initial response to the script and how they got involved, filming the brutal action scenes, and so much more. In addition, they talked about S. Craig Zahler’s next film, Dragged Across Concrete, which they’re both part of.
Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.
Vince Vaughn and Don Johnson:
- Talk about the enthusiastic response of the Midnight Madness crowd.
- What was their initial response to the script and how did it get involved?
- How do they like to work on set and what was the set like on this movie?
- Vaughn talks about being attracted to the screenplay not the action.
- How does Zahler work with the camera during filming?
- Talk about shooting the film in 25 days.
- How did they get on board Dragged Across Concrete?
Johnson says he’s only in one scene.
- Does Dragged Across Concrete have a similar tone to Brawl in Cell Block 99?
- Talk about filming the brutal action scenes.
- Did a lot change from the script to the final film?
- Do they like going to the editing room or do they keep that part of the process separate?
- Do they like to do a lot of takes or only a few? What is the most takes they’ve done?
Here’s the official synopsis for Brawl in Cell Block 99:
A former boxer named Bradley loses his job as an auto mechanic, and his troubled marriage is about to expire. At this crossroads in his life, he feels that he has no better option than to work for an old buddy as a drug courier. This vocation improves his situation until the terrible day that he finds himself in a gunfight between a group of police officers and his own ruthless allies. When the smoke clears, Bradley is badly hurt and thrown in prison, where his enemies force him to commit acts of violence that turn the place into a savage battleground.