Seth McTigue goes big with feature film debut ‘Take The Night’

Seth McTigue as Chad and Brennan Keel Cook as Todd in the thriller, TAKE THE NIGHT, a Saban Films release. Photo courtesy of Saban Films.

Seth McTigue wrote, directed, and stars as Chad in his feature film debut with Take The Night, an inventive and edgy crime thriller about a prank gone wrong.

Take The Night is a twisted tale of sibling rivalry and family secrets. An elaborate surprise birthday stunt heads into increasingly dark places when career criminals hired to stage a fake kidnapping go rogue. Older brother William secures a crew to stage a fake kidnapping of his brother Robert. But the crew has plans of their own. The brothers must put aside their sibling rivalry if they want to save the family fortune.

Seth McTigue stars in the film alongside Roy Huang (“Castle,” Joyful Noise), Sam Li (Women Is Losers), Brennan Keel Cook (Encounter, “Love You To Death”), Shomari Love (Maya and Her Lover, “The Chi”), Antonio Aaron, and Grace Serrano.

Check out our interview with Seth!

Photo courtesy of Saban Films.
How does it feel now that you are completely done with this project and people are gonna get to see it.

Seth: It’s, um, it’s interesting, you know, because, to the world, it is the starting line, and to me, it’s almost like the finish line, but it’s almost like the beginning of the end, which is cool. I’m enjoying the moment. I’m definitely looking forward to going to the theatrical screenings and just just really enjoying the wave. 

What made you want to be a filmmaker?

Seth: So growing up, I was one of eight kids in New York off of a mailman $40,000/year salary. You can’t really afford to do much. There were Wacky Wednesdays and tickets were $2.50, so that was something we could do as a family. So we’d go to movies all the time, and I love them, but I didn’t think I could make them. And then I was in college and going school for business and the financial crisis hit and affected my family. So I said, ‘screw it.’ I called my brother one day and said, ‘I’m not gonna work in an office for the rest of my life, I’m gonna make movies. I’m gonna switch my major to media.’ And that was it.

This is an incredibly ambitious feature film debut, why start off with something so big?

Seth: I mean, to me it wasn’t. To me it was actually the first idea I literally ever came up with. Back in 2013. I called a couple friends over and we had a brainstorming session. I said, ‘let’s think of a R rated concept that can be PG,’ and the first thing I blurted out was, ‘hey, how about we kidnap someone for a surprise birthday party?’ So I made my first short film and now my first feature. So yeah, it might be big. I get it. There’s definitely a lot of cast and Lambos and car chases, but for me, it’s just like, it had to be done. This is a baby and my film and my first idea and it’s just, yeah, it’s definitely awesome.

Did anything from your life inspire this prank gone wrong story?

Seth: No, actually, no. I don’t know why my mind came up with it. You can’t explain what goes through your psyche and what makes you do the things you do. But yeah, not that I’m aware of now or at least I don’t know, I don’t remember.

Did you use any films or anything for inspiration when you were filming?

Seth: I would say so. My favorite film is Memento and my favorite director is Christopher Nolan. So I mean, that’s just the kind of thing that I love. And I had made this movie, put it out and even wrote the feature before I knew The Game existed. So, for all the people who keep commenting that I’m copying The Game, please, I’m not copying The Game. It’s a great movie. I love The Game and I love David Fincher, he’s a great director. But yeah, I didn’t even know the movie existed before this concept was born. So, I can assure you, if you see his movie, it is nothing like The Game.

So you wrote the movie, you directed the movie and you also starred in the movie, what was it like wearing all of those hats?

Seth: Very, very difficult. You know, it’s one of the things where if you want to get done, just do it yourself. At the end of the day, I’m not going to give up on myself and I’m going to make it happen one way or another. And if those all need to be done by myself, then I was going to do it and I’m happy. I think the project came out good and so I’m happy with the result.

How did you come to play Chad?

Seth: So, when I think of ideas, I always think of myself and the characters I would want to play and the concept I’d want to do. So yeah, it’s just a natural thing for me. I’ve always acted in my own stuff and it’s just something I wanted to do and yeah, I wasn’t gonna let anyone take the role from me. There was no choice.

What was it like directing the car chase while also acting in it?  

Seth: Well, for the car chase action, there was a stunt driver so I wasn’t there. And when you got stunt coordinators, you know, that type of stuff, you can only do so much. Like we had a police escort but we didn’t have the road shut down. So when they’re weaving in and out of those cars, those are like actual normal people, yeah, it was crazy we were weaving in and out of traffic. At one point, funnily enough, I’m in the Lambo, I was like, ‘yeah, I gotta get in the Lambo.’  I almost threw up. If you’ve ever been in a legit sports car like a Lamborghini or of that level, you’ll know that the pressure on your body is intense. I almost threw up. So I was not driving the BMW, I was actually with the opposition in the Lambo… When you see the movie and we’re weaving in and out of traffic, those are legit normal people that have no idea why there’s a Lamborghini on their tail. And that’s an expensive car. You definitely don’t want to crash it. So, please believe that it was a hectic night.

Seth McTigue as Chad and Brennan Keel Cook as Todd in the thriller, TAKE THE NIGHT, a Saban Films release. Photo courtesy of Saban Films.
What was it like working with the cast?

Seth: It was cool and unique. There’s a reasonable amount of actors, you know, there’s like seven main characters, not main main, but characters who have a good amount of screen time. So just different dynamics. You know, some people are this way, some people are that way. You’re just trying to figure them out and you want them all to feel comfortable so you can get the best performance. You know, acting is all about being in and embodying a character and I think as a director, for me, and doing so much, I also have to be mindful to like not take them out of their character. So, just knowing who is who and how to approach each scene with each actor, because everyone’s their own individual and you can direct this person this way, but you need to direct that person that way. We’ve just got to be mindful of that and move forward accordingly. 

What would you say was your favorite part of this process?

Seth: I mean, it’s watching it in a theater. I’ve been in a couple of film festivals, and the first one was a legit movie theater, like it was a pretty packed crowd and it was amazing. This Friday is the theatrical release and I’m doing the premiere in New York City with all my friends and family and it’s already sold out. It’s gonna be insane to just be in a room full of people that obviously want to see the movie, but they’re there to support me. I mean, just the energy in that room is going to be amazing. Just super duper amazing. So I’m happy and excited. Yeah, that’s a great moment and I get to share it with my friends and family. That will be the best moment, for sure.

Was there any part of this process that you found particularly challenging?

Seth: Everything. I mean, honestly, imparting your vision to all the people working on the movie because everyone is trying to bring your vision to life but in their department or in their way, you know, so you can’t just assume that they’re going to do what you want them to do. They’re going to do what they think you want them to do, you know what I mean? So, there can be a disconnect there. So you have to make sure that you get your vision to them and be very, very specific and detailed. I think that’s definitely something I struggled with in the beginning, for sure. I just assumed that they should know what I want because I’m so used to doing short films and honestly, I was shooting in my house. You didn’t have to dress my house, it was dressed and I was cool with how it was. Now I’m creating this world and this isn’t my house, it’s some random house that we’re renting. It’s not my house, either. It’s Chad’s house, you know what I mean? So yeah, that was difficult for sure. Amongst 1000 other things.

So I know you’re getting ready for the premiere and the really exciting weekend but do you have any other projects coming up?

Seth: Yeah, yeah, I’ve different scripts, one specifically is kind of being workshopped, just being sent out to different producers and friends and getting notes and the general feedback is positive. And it’s cool now because they’ve seen what I can do, so it’s a little bit different now. Like, ‘Oh, this guy just has ideas,’ like, ‘no, this guy has ideas and he has a movie also that he did.’ So now, people can kind of visualize more when they read my script. They know my style now. So I think that’s kind of cool.

It’s interesting that you say that. What was the process like for you to get Take the Night made?

Seth: Oh, I was about to turn 30 and I was pretty depressed because I’m like, ‘Man, I don’t have a movie. This sucks.’ So I called my friend, Dan, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I gotta have a meeting with someone,’ and he’s like, ‘oh, yeah, there’s someone I think I told you about. I’ll set up a meeting, blah, blah.’ So I went for a meeting and he’s like,’ Oh, so you want to write, direct and act in your own movies? And you never made a feature before? Yeah, I don’t know if we’re gonna be able to work together.’ I was like, ‘ok, yeah, whatever,’ so I sent him my films and then he called me and he really liked one of them. We decided to move forward and I signed the contract on my birthday and now I have a movie.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add about Take The Night?

Seth: I hope everyone watching is pleasantly surprised. I know what people will be assuming when they hear the concept of a surprise birthday party kidnapping and when they see the trailer. I know what they’re going to be assuming. But I want them to know that it’s a lot deeper than what they think. There are nice family dynamics and relationships and characters in the movie that I think will entertain them and then also touch them and I hope that they appreciate the little nuances that I put into each character in trying to make them authentic.

(L-R)Brennan Keel Cook as Todd, Shomari Love as Shannon, Seth McTigue as Chad, and Antonio Aaron as Justin in the thriller, TAKE THE NIGHT, a Saban Films release. Photo courtesy of Saban Films.
Saban Films premieres Take The Night in theaters on July 8 and four days later, on July 12, the movie premieres on Digital.