Movies & TV / Columns

Brian Skiba On His New Action Film The 2nd, Working With Ryan Phillippe, More

September 5, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
The 2nd

The 411 Interview: Brian Skiba


Brian Skiba is a director, writer, and producer who, according to imdb, has been working in the worlds of movies and TV since at least 2007. He has directed multiple short and feature films, including the shorts Blood Moon Rising, Grace Land, and Dead Time, and the feature films Dirty Little Trick, Slaughter Creek, and Rottentail, among others. Skiba’s TV credits include the TV movies Christmas Truce, Running Away, and Deadly Second Chances. Skiba’s latest feature in the badass action flick The 2nd starring Ryan Phillippe and Casper Van Dien and hits Digital and On Demand from Momentum Pictures starting September 1st, 2020. In this interview, Skiba talks with this writer about making The 2nd, working with Ryan Phillippe and Casper Van Dien, his career, and more.



Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you decide that you wanted The 2nd to be your next movie as a director?

Brian Skiba: The story attracted me to The 2nd. A father and son redemption story that’s entrenched in action. I thought this was something fresh and new that I’ve not seen done before. Mix that with the love story element and a few big explosions and I think we had something great.

BK: Is The 2nd a political movie?

BS: That’s the “B” story or the catalyst to the “A” story but I prefer to think of this as a father/son action movie with a great message.

BK: Where was The 2nd filmed? Was an actual college used as the main setting?

BS: Yes we filmed at Cal Poly’s campus.


BK: How did you cast The 2nd? What was it like working with both Ryan Phillippe and Casper Van Dien?

BS: Ryan Phillippe was on the project before I was hired and Ryan had a lot of great input on the rest of the cast. This is my second film with Casper and after reading The 2nd I knew he was perfect for Driver. So I made a few calls and got him on board. Both men are pros. They show up ready to roll and it was a pleasure working with them.

BK: How long did it take to make The 2nd, from finishing the script to completing post-production?

BS: Almost 9 months from start of prep to delivery.

BK: What was the hardest part of making The 2nd?

BS: I love filmmaking so for me nothing is “hard,” it’s all just challenges to overcome, but if I had to nail down one thing, I would say the schedule. We had limited time to make the film with no room for mistakes, so we had to be on our toes and ready for anything.

BK: The 2nd is one of the most action packed indie action flicks that I’ve seen in recent memory. From gun battles to hand-to-hand brawls to explosions, The 2nd has quite a bit to offer action movie fans. Describe your working relationship with action designer Christopher Troy.

BS: Thank you! That was our goal. Christopher Troy is an amazing soul. We spent three weeks with producer Josh Tessier mapping out the fights and talking about the action sequences and then we spent a week training the actors. Troy is one of those guys who never sleeps and is always ready to rock. He’s one of the best up and coming designers out there and I can’t wait for us to team up again and show you more of what we can do.

BK: There are some great rock songs on the The 2nd’s soundtrack. How was the soundtrack put together?

BS: Richard Patrick (FILTER, NIN) is the genus behind the score and together we sourced the soundtrack from our friends and his personal library. It’s such a great feeling working with a pro with his background. I was a huge fan of his music and to have him on this film was very exciting.

BK: Casper Van Dien’s character Driver has a super deep voice. Is that Van Dien’s actual voice or was it manipulated later? And was the cane Driver uses throughout the movie something that was always part of the character or was that added in later?

BS: That was Casper’s real voice and I added the cane to give his wardrobe and character a certain vibe. I think it worked very well.


BK: You’ve made a number of different kinds of genre movies in your career. How has the indie genre movie world changed since you started? Do you have a favorite genre to work in?

BS: I started making films right at the birth of the digital revolution. I shot my second feature on the RED MX which at the time was brand new, and since then pro cameras have become readily available to more filmmakers and more user friendly unlike film that was a process to shoot, transfer, edit, and then deliver. So, it’s easier to shoot a film today, I think, than when I started. However, the challenge now is to tell a good story and keep that production value high. My favorite genre is action and then thrillers.

BK: Any moviemaking heroes?

BS: John Carpenter, Martin Scorsese, my crew and stunt team, and Kirk Shaw, who gave me my first break in film and just so happened to get me the job directing The 2nd.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

BS: I’m working with Voltage on developing a few more action films. I have one with Randy Couture that’s starting to gain some traction as well as another action film called Thorne with Casper Van Dien.

BK: What do you hope audiences get out of The 2nd?

BS: First and foremost a respite from the craziness we’re dealing with day to day due to so many factors that none of us control. So, I hope families can sit and just enjoy an action film and forget about the stresses of life for a few hours and then walk away with a sense of hope that together we can overcome.

BK: If there’s a sequel to The 2nd what do you think it should be called? The 2nd Part 2?

BS: LOL. Yes, we are working on a sequel.

BK: Are the explosions we see in The 2nd real. and if so, how hot were they?

BS: Yes, all of the explosions were real. And yes, they are hot. I was always a good safe distance from them but even where I stood, I could feel the heat. It was exhilarating and I love how real stunts and real SFX translate to the screen. I owe that to our amazing SFX coordinator Frank Ceglia. He’s a magician when it comes to SFX, making them safe yet big.



A very special thanks to Brian Skiba for agreeing to participate in this interview and to Judy Merrick for setting it up.

The 2nd hits Digital and On Demand starting September 1st, 2020.

Brian Skiba image courtesy of Brian Skiba. All other images courtesy of Momentum Pictures.