Cut to the Chase is a “Southern noir” crime thriller, the fourth from writer-director-star Blayne Weaver—whose ex-con character sometimes hits first, talks later, as in the exclusive clip below.

We asked one of the film’s producers, Chris Lyon, to elaborate on this scene from the Louisiana-shot feature.

In this scene, Max (Blayne Weaver) has just discovered his sister, Isobel, is missing. After some contemplation, he visits her ex-boyfriend, Corey (Luke Sexton), who has a checkered past with domestic violence. This isn’t Max’s first encounter with him, and he’s not at all happy to have to show up at this scumbag’s apartment.

What happens next is an explosive fight scene, the first part of which is shown in this clip. Luke, who plays Corey, is also the film’s stunt choreographer. He was such a team player and is truly a sweet human being in real life. Luke helped Blayne convey Max’s own violent tendencies as the hunt for Isobel kicks off in the first third of the film. Being willing to be beat up and thrown around really amplifies the effect on screen, and both were troopers, take after take. We must have done this stunt a half dozen times. Not once did Luke or Blayne hesitate to give it 110 percent every take, and that really exemplifies the dedication of our small crew to bring big action to this microbudget project.

The shot was achieved using a Red camera and Zeiss Compact Prime lenses mounted to a DJI Ronin gimbal rig and remote control, allowing cinematographer Rob Senska to move freely through the room and frame the shot on the fly as Blayne launches Luke across the countertop, landing on the couch and then falling to the floor. Off screen are myself and assistant camera Alec McCommon, running the wireless remote and follow focus.

Our crew for the day was only about a dozen people, cast included, which allowed us to move quickly through the fight scene, shooting the various angles necessary to capture the action. The scene took about half of our day and included 20 different setups around the apartment. Also on hand was our armorer, George Landrum Jr., who handled the gunplay that brings the fisticuffs-style brawl to a grinding halt.

Cinematographer Rob Senska with actors Lyndie Greenwood and Blayne Weaver on the set of Cut to the Chase. Photograph by Chris Lyon

In the end, almost all of our principal cast wound up doing their own stunts for budget reasons, but all of them were game to get their hands dirty and play with us, which made the experience so much more fun on set. Luke and fellow stuntman Tim J. Smith (who plays a character named Larry in the film) worked with all of the actors’ abilities and comfort levels to maximize our budget and crew resources. Throughout the film there were very few cheats, which allowed us to get in the faces of the actors and bring some weight to the stunts. MM

Chris Lyon is a producer of Cut to the Chase, in theaters February 28 and On Demand March 6, 2017.