Matt Eskandari keeps stress high in ‘Wire Room’

Kevin Dillon as Justin Rosa in the action film, WIRE ROOM, a Lionsgate release. Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.
Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.

Matt Eskandari (Hard Kill) brings us, Wire Room, a unique action film full of surveillance, secrets and suspense.

Synopsis: Action legend Bruce Willis comes out with guns blazing in this gripping cyberthriller. He plays Mueller, a Homeland Security agent mentoring new security agent Rosa (Kevin Dillon, Poseidon). Via spy cameras, Rosa must monitor arms-smuggling cartel member Flynn—and keep him alive at all costs. When a SWAT team descends on Flynn’s home, Rosa breaks the rules and contacts the gangster directly to save his life. But soon gunmen break into the wire room, putting Rosa’s and Mueller’s lives at risk.

Wire Room stars Kevin Dillon (“Entourage”), Bruce Willis (Die Hard franchise), Oliver Trevena (Embattled), Texas Battle (Hard Kill), Cameron Douglas (The Runner) and Shelby Cobb (The Tenant). The film was written by Brandon Stiefer.

Check out our interview with Matt!

What about the story drew you to it to direct it?

Matt: It was a lot of fun to direct. I mean, there was the initial script, but what really drew me in was the authenticity of the concept, just the whole idea of spending an entire movie around this concept of a wire room. I mean, I didn’t even know this existed until I read the script and it just felt like something like that was unique and fresh. And that I don’t think I’ve seen before, like an entire movie just spent in the wire room. So that’s what really kind of pulled me into wanting to make this film come to life.

I found this movie to be just incredibly stressful. How did you approach filming it, knowing that your locations were very limited?

Matt: While shooting, it was very stressful, too. But I won’t get into that. But it’s a scheduling thing. We didn’t have as many days as I wanted, but I think the challenging part about shooting it and kind of getting through that was the fact that you had to deal with shooting in the wire room, then he had to shoot all the footage in the house. But I also gave myself the additional challenge of, not only are we going to see surveillance footage of the house, I wanted to actually get into his head and see the world from his perspective as well. So I shot all the footage with Eddie as a traditional sort of coverage as well. I basically had to shoot all his footage twice, with surveillance footage and then with the regular cameras. That made it incredibly challenging to shoot, and stressful for sure. But I really think that helped pay off because if it had just been Eddie on surveillance monitors talking to Justin, as an audience, you wouldn’t have seen that chemistry building between them over the course of the story. So, that was a good choice to kind of get into his head and go into that world.

How did you film Kevin reacting to everything that Eddie was doing through the security cameras? 

Matt: That’s a good question. So initially, I wanted to shoot all of Eddie’s footage first and stream all that on the monitors to give Kevin something to work off of. But unfortunately, we couldn’t get the location in time. So, we’re in the wire room and, literally, it was me off camera yelling to Kevin what he’s supposed to be looking at and giving him instructions. It worked out. I mean, Kevin is such a skilled actor, he was able to take my ramblings and kind of interpret them into what he was supposed to be doing at that moment.

Kevin Dillon as Justin Rosa in the action film,
WIRE ROOM, a Lionsgate release. Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.
What were some of the other tricks or like filmmaking magic that you used to heighten the stress?

Matt: That’s a good question. I mean, I feel like you lose suspense with tension with stress. You can only carry so much of it. You have to have the ups and the downs. So, I honestly was trying to dial that back in moments as much as I could. I mean, one of the things I worked on with Kevin was to bring in comedy whenever we could. And even if it was just simple little things where he would ad lib a line at the end of the scene, or he’d throw some funny look at the monitor or just his reactions. Just funny little things that I was trying to do to kind of diffuse that stress and tension a little bit. So I was just trying to kind of bring it in peaks and valleys and keep it kind of building at the same time. So I think dropping in moments of comedy actually helps the tension and the stress in the long run.

Oh, I agree. It kept me on my toes and really kept me present in just how stressed I was. But yeah, speaking of comedy, I absolutely loved the running joke about parking, and how it bookended the movie. Was that scripted or was that something that Kevin ad libbed?

Matt: It was totally ad libbed. That was just one of those things where you got a genius like Kevin who just started winging it. And then we just kind of went with it and thought it was gold, because it just adds a little funny thing at the end, a little button at the end. And even that joke where he says to Bruce’s character in the beginning, where he’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m looking for some more action,’ you know, that was all Kevin. And then at the end of the movie, I went to Kevin and I was like, ‘wouldn’t it be funny, if you told them like, hey, you know, I’m just not cut out for  this. It’s too much action for me or whatever, this whole wire room thing.’ So I thought that had been a funny kind of balance. When you go into it, you have to have fun and work with a good actor like Kevin and hope that you can add little bits and moments with the character. So that was all ad libbed.

I love it. One thing that I I don’t know how to feel about this, because I don’t know if this was intentional or not. But I was just as confused as Justin was in regard to his mission and the rules. Did I miss something or was it intentional for the audience to be confused as well?

Matt: We were sort of playing with that idea that Kevin is this rookie and he doesn’t know what he’s doing. So he sort of picks up this book at the beginning. And it’s full of ‘don’t do this, do that, do this, do that,’ and he’s not sure what he’s supposed to do. He’s supposed to keep the target alive, but wait, he can’t actually contact the target. And so the idea was to sort of throw him into a situation where he was unsure what exactly he was supposed to do and get away with and then see what he does given those parameters. So yeah, I mean, the audience is sort of with him along this journey. And as long as they’re with him, if they’re confused along with him, I feel like that’s okay.

Oliver Trevena as Eddie Flynn in the action film, WIRE ROOM, a Lionsgate release. Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.
What made Oliver the perfect Eddie?

Matt: Oliver actually was sort of like the last minute casting thing that just kind of came together. It was actually genius in many ways, because originally the character was written as a typical sort of Mexican cartel boss and as soon as I read the script, ‘oh my god, this guy’s it. It’s done.’ We’ve seen that kind of Mexican cartel boss, it’s just a cliche at this point. So, as soon as we cast him, I said, ‘Oh, this is actually really different and interesting.’ So as soon as I got into the Zoom call with him, the idea of what if he’s an Irish arms dealer that’s working with like some Mexican cartel bosses came up, and I said, ‘Woah, that’s actually really cool.’ And so we kind of went back and forth with that. And basically, he started using inspirations, like weird stuff like Conor McGregor and Gary Oldman’s character from True Romance, the pimp from True Romance. It was just like these weird kinds of inspirations. That was cool. He really delivered and crushed the role. I loved working with Oliver.

Is there a possibility of a sequel?

Matt: Yeah, I mean, that’s always something that would be fun to do. I mean, especially getting to work with Kevin, again, getting to work all over in Texas with the guys, again, that would be fun. So yeah, I mean, that’s definitely something that was intentionally left in at the end. And it will all depend on if we can get the right story, the right script together. I feel like it all comes down to that.

If people want to connect with you, support you, or stay up to date with your projects, where can they find you?

Matt: Yeah, if anybody wants to follow me on Instagram, that’s the only social media I’m currently using. So yeah, just go to @Matteskandari on Instagram. I post regularly, at least, regarding film projects and new things that I’m working on.

Is there anything that you would like to add about Wire Room?

Matt: Just, you know, it was a fun project to make. And I think, if anybody wants to kind of see what makes this story different, granted, you’ve seen movies where there are wire rooms, but you’ve never seen an entire movie set completely in a wire room. And then seeing the way that all plays out, I think, is something unique and fun and filled with a lot of tension. So, this is something that is worth checking out.

[L-R] Bruce Willis as Shane Mueller and Kevin Dillon as Justin Rosa in the action film, WIRE ROOM, a Lionsgate release. Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.
Wire Room is now available On Demand and Digital