William Fichtner, Cold Brook

From 2019 Gasparilla International Film Festival, Villain Media has an exclusive interview with William Fichtner about directing the upcoming drama, Cold Brook. Known for his iconic roles in Prison Break and Heat, Fichtner opens up stepping behind the camera for his highly anticipated directorial debut.

Ted (William Fichtner) and Hilde (Kim Coates) – best friends and maintenance workers at a college in Upstate New York – pursue an intruder at a Museum Exhibition on the college campus. They become local heroes. Learning that the intruder is lost, they finding themselves torn between helping him find his home, and taking care of their own. The cast includes Fichtner, Coates (Sons of Anarchy), Harold Perrineau (Lost), Brad Henke (Orange Is the New Black), Robin Weigert (Big Little Lies), and Mary Lynn Rajskub (24).

With Cold Brook screened at the recent Gasparilla International Film Festival, William Fichtner discusses how the project came about, his experience sitting in the director’s chair, and working with the ensemble cast. So join us inside the director’s studio as we talk about the ins and outs of independent filmmaking.  

Kim Coates and William Fichtner at Gasparilla International Film Festival

Villain Media: Tell me how the project between you and co-screenwriter Cain DeVore came about.  

William Fichtner: Back in 2001, I was shooting the film Black Hawk Down when I met one of my all time best friends, Kim Coates. A couple, a few years later, I called another great friend, Cain DeVore, and said “You and I are going to write the script about an idea that I have and it’s for me and Kim to do together.” A decade plus later, we were shooting in my beloved hometown of Buffalo NY.

VM: How did you make the decision to be behind and in front of the camera?

WF: Well, the intention was always to play the part of Ted with Kim Coates playing the part of Hilde. Honestly, It never crossed my mind that anyone else would ever direct this story but me. I knew the rhythms, I knew the characters, but most of all, I knew the heartbeat of the friendship, because it’s based on the one that we have.

VM: You’ve worked in such amazing ensemble dramas, such as Prison Break, Go, and Black Hawk Down. Cold Brook has such an amazing cast, which includes Kim Coates, Harold Perrineau, and Mary Lynn Rajskub. Do you feel more comfortable doing the ensemble thing?

WF: It’s one of those things in life that is best if not planned. I like and appreciate different projects for different reasons, but make no mistake, to have had the joy to work with this group of actors is highlight second to none.

VM: Because you also worked on the script, how important were the lines? How loose are you with the cast on dialogue?

WF: I’m old-school in the fact that I think if it ain’t on the page, then it ain’t on the stage.  If a script is good, you want to fully realize the moments as written. That said, when an actor knows the character, as the actors did in Cold Brook, then I trust and welcome their brilliant impulses!

VM: How did Cold Brook change you as an artist?

WF: Probably in more ways than I even realize. One thing’s for sure, I can’t wait to wear all those hats again.   

VF: How can readers find your movie?

WF: As is with pretty much every indie film, the answer to this question is a work in progress. We’re getting there, and I can’t wait to share when I have definitive good news on that front.

VF: What are you working on now?

WF: I just finished the season of Mom and now it’s off to look at colleges with my younger boy!   

Check out more about Cold Brook here:

[Writer’s Note: This interview has been edited for clarity. Links are highlighted in bold.]

By Jorge Solis