Star Tyrese Gibson chats about co-producing his upcoming film, Rogue Hostage, taking on a complicated character, and making sure the cast shines.
PUBLISHED JUN 08, 2021 Rogue Hostage, arriving in select theaters and on demand June 11, centers on single father and former Marine Kyle Snowden (Tyrese Gibson) as he attempts to rescue his daughter and several hostages trapped in a local grocery store. The matter is only further complicated by the store and shooter's connection to Kyle's stepfather Congressman Sam Nelson (John Malkovich, Space Force).
Aside from being a beloved member of the Fast and Furious franchise, and returning to the fold for the long-anticipated F9, Gibson is a producer in his own right. He co-produced Rogue Hostage, and it's evident he takes his dual titles very seriously.
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Gibson spoke to Screen Rant about spreading the love among his cast so that everyone shines, being inspired by his young costar Carlos Sanchez, and taking pride in co-producing a film that tackles serious issues.
Watching Rogue Hostage, I was really moved by the dynamic between Kyle and Manny. It's so heartwarming, and obviously the center of the story. What it was like for you to develop that relationship and work with a young actor like Carlos Sanchez?
Tyrese Gibson: He was one of my favorites on set, because he was so young yet he really had it all figured out. Honestly, I was very impressed. I've seen and worked with some young actors, but he's really [something]. I started calling him Oscar, like, "Go get your Oscar!" "What up, Oscar?" He's English and Spanish-speaking, and he's always in tune with his facial expressions and what was needed per moment and per role. It was really exciting for me to see, and I was inspired by the places he was able to go as a young actor. He's much younger than me, but I'm not above being inspired by someone. When I see his intensity in certain scenes, it makes me go more intense, so it's really cool.
What jumped out at you from the script that first made you want to be part of this project?
Tyrese Gibson: For me, this was a movie that the powers that be tried to get shut down a few times because of the message. We're living in a world right now where the government, in their own way, will always try and suppress putting what is actually going on in the world on the main stage. This was not going to be any different; it's not easy to make a film about a mass killer terrorist who is a racist white male Republican, coming into a store and doing all of these things that he ended up doing. That's a narrative that they don't want to be out there. When we did this movie, I was a producer on board and we did about 60 pages of rewrites. When we ended up securing the talent that we secured, it became the ultimate compliment and sign that we're about to do and make something really special. We're living in some trying times right now, where the success or non-success of films is unfortunately always based on box office and box office receipts. But being the first film that was filmed in New Jersey as a COVID-free production was an accomplishment in itself. We're very proud to even know that we have a film even coming out.
Speaking of the talent, there are some really strong women in this film - and not just strong in the sense of fighting, but also in the sense of having complicated motivations and different vulnerabilities in the script. What was it like to push for and produce a story with that element to it?
Tyrese Gibson: Yeah, it was all purposely done. Me as a social worker with my colleague, there was certain dialogue that was mine that I gave to her. I wanted her to be able to say that instead of me because, coming from a woman, it carries more weight. I've never been an insecure actor that wants all the big action pieces and all of the superstar moments so to speak. I just believe in spreading love, and I think it always makes for a better film when [characters are] breathing and you allow everyone to have some beats and moments. Because it doesn't take 20 scenes to make you a movie star. You don't have to have all the dialogue; every time somebody is talking, it's always you; every time somebody shooting, it's always you. I just believe in spreading love, and I think everybody on the set - and you can ask them yourself - they were all like, "Man, why are you going above and beyond to make sure we're all so comfortable and happy?" I said, "I'm number one on the call sheet. I'm producing this thing, or co-producing it, and I just want to make sure everyone knows that I'm not a competitive person. I'm not an egomaniac. If there's anything that's not clear, if's there's any dynamic of this movie that isn't tracking, let's talk about it. Let's unpack it and make sure that, before we put it up on its feet, we all feel good about what we're doing."
I think that the balance really came through really well. You're undeniably the hero of the story, but we get to see how everyone else can be heroes in their own way too. Can you talk a little bit about what Kyle is going through at the start of the film? He's really in a difficult place mentally.
Tyrese Gibson: Yeah, Kyle has layers upon layers: PTSD, ex-Marine, alcoholic divorcee, single father, toxic family, toxic upbringing. I mean, this guy's got a lot of stuff that he's dealing with. And crazy thing is, I could correlate a lot of it to my actual life, so it wasn't really acting for me. I mean, I've never been in the Marines, but I got divorce papers while I was actually in the middle of filming this movie. Yeah, really painful stuff. Thank God for my costars, and thank God I didn't have to crack any jokes in this movie. Because they weren't going to get any jokes out of me.
But you even though you were not in the Marines, you have some great action scenes. I know you worked closely with the coordinator, Shauna Galligan. Can you talk a little bit about making those stunts happen?
Tyrese Gibson: Yeah, the stunt coordinator was female; she was amazing. Honestly, I think the challenge with a stunt coordinator is always that they want to do a whole lot of stunts, and then you have to ask yourself what is the perfect balance between being a rock star and having these movie star moments, but then containing it to where it's something that this particular character would do? You can't design stunts for Bruce Lee when you've got a regular guy who is not an MMA [fighter]; doesn't have this extensive background in hand-to-hand combat. We worked really closely to create the best balance in and around that. It was interesting. We did a lot of rehearsing on weekends that most of us were not working. I wanted to work anyway, and we actually set up to do a lot of rehearsing at my hotel in the lobby. We said, "Bring on the beanbags, and bring the little fake guns out. Let's go ahead and get it on. We've got to get this right before we get to set, so we can make sure everybody is shining and we all feel good about what we're doing." It was very challenging, but we got it done.