Movies & TV / News

Writer Ron Peer On His Latest Film On Fire, How The Business Has Changed

October 18, 2023 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
On Fire Image Credit: Cineverse

The 411 Interview: Ron Peer

Image Credit: Ron Peer

Ron Peer is a producer, director, and writer who has been involved in the movie business, according to imdb, since at least 1998. Peer has written scripts for such movies as Goodbye Lover, I Love You, Baby, Bullet, and The Boy, the Dog, and the Clown, among others (Peer also directed the short film The Spiritual Cockroach). Peer’s latest movie is the family drama/natural disaster action flick On Fire, which he co-wrote with director Nick Lyon (On Fire is available exclusively in movie theaters starting September 29th, 2023). In this interview, Peer talks with this writer about writing the screenplay for On Fire, working with director Nick Lyon, how the movie business has changed over the years, and more.


Image Credit: Cineverse

Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you get involved in writing the script for On Fire? How was the story “inspired by true events?

Rick Peer: Nick Lyon and I have worked on a number of projects over the years and are good collaborators. When a film he was producing and directing fell apart at the last minute, he called and asked if I could write a replacement screenplay in two weeks. Nick had always wanted to do a story about wildfire, so he quickly cobbled together an outline and sent it over.
I loved the story and dived in. I finished the draft in exactly two weeks and sent it over to Nick. We discussed the draft, and he made some changes to what I had written. Within a month, the film was in production! This was the fastest I have ever seen a film come together.

BK: How did you come up with the title On Fire?

RP: We didn’t. The original title was The Roar of Fire. I had run across that description in my research. Somebody trapped in a fire described about how LOUD the fire was when it was close. He called it a ROAR. I had never heard that before, so I nicked it to create the title. Somewhere along the line, the title was changed to something simpler. LOL. That’s the movie biz for you!

BK: How long did it take to write the screenplay for On Fire? How many drafts did you have to do before the screenplay was ready to go?

RP: Not many. It mostly became a matter of slight tweaks.

Image Credit: Cineverse

BK: What sort of research did you have to do in order to create the screenplay for On Fire?

RP: Mostly read articles about California fires and watched actual footage of fires and first responders. The fire in Paradise was a great reference point.

BK: According to IMDB you’ve worked in the movie business since around 1998 as both a writer and producer. How has the movie business changed since you started?

RP: So many things. Shrinking film budgets and pay, due to the rise and proliferation of streaming services. Studios focusing on big-budget spectaculars and comic book movies leading to the death of mid-range movies. Movie budgets have now become $150 million plus, or less than $10 million (often waaaaaay less than $10 million). Just look at the issues the WGA has been concerned about with their strike: low pay, lack of fair residuals, fewer opportunities on many TV shows, and what to do about the rise of AI? All of these things will show you how the entertainment business has changed over the years with the development of new technologies.

BK: IMDB also shows that you directed a short film back in 2003, The Spiritual Cockroach. Why haven’t you directed anything since then and do you plan on directing anything in the future?

RP: I’m just not that interested in directing anymore. I used to make a number of short films, but there isn’t much of a market for them. I prefer writing.

BK: What’s harder to do working on a movie, writing the screenplay or producing?

RP: From my perspective, producing. It can be difficult to realize one’s vision when there is little money and a small amount of resources to make it come true. Things always change at the last minute, especially locations… and FINANCING! Especially the financing! It’s amazing (and sickening) how many “producers” claim to have the funding when they don’t. So filmmakers have to constantly keep knocking on doors.

Image Credit: Cineverse

BK: Any moviemaking heroes?

RP: So many. Sam Peckinpah, Mike Nichols, David Mamet, Sydney Lumet, Don Siegel, Spielberg, Scorsese, Hitchcock, and the list goes on.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

RP: Not really, they’re still in the gestation stage. I do have a thriller with Nick Lyon that’s looking like it might come to fruition very soon.

BK: What do you hope audiences get out of On Fire?

RP: Be careful out in Mother Nature! Put out your campfires completely. Don’t do stupid things like have a gender-reveal party using fireworks in the woods. I can’t believe how many times I’ve read about that.

BK: Is Lance Henriksen as cool in real life as he appears onscreen?

RP: I didn’t meet him, but Nick said he was a true professional and great to work with.

Image Credit: Cineverse


A very special thanks to Ron Peer for agreeing to participate in this interview and to david j. moore for setting it up.

On Fire is available exclusively in movie theaters starting September 29th, 2023!

Check out my review of On Fire here!

Check out the On Fire official Facebook page here!

Check out Ron Peer’s official website here, official Facebook page here, official Twitter page here, and imdb page here!

Ron Peer image courtesy of Ron Peer. All other images courtesy of Cineverse.