Posts Tagged ‘interview’

A glimpse inside the multi-talented mind behind ‘Bus 657′

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

MOBILE, Alabama – “Bus 657″ screenwriter and actor Stephen Cyrus Sepher doesn’t have an agent or a manager, yet Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Dave Bautista are speaking his words and Sepher is acting alongside them.

And as the L.A. native experiences his work being filmed in Mobile, it feels pretty dreamy.

“I sat down at a Starbucks seven years ago and I wrote the script and here we are today,” Sepher said.  ”It’s surreal to me.”

The casino heist thriller started filming in Mobile last week, and so far the cast and crew have made use of locations including The Battle House, Hayley’s Bar and the USS Alabama battleship.

This is Sepher’s second time working in the Port City. He had a bit part in the Bruce Willis movie “Vice,” which was filmed here earlier this year.

We recently caught up with Sepher and talked to him about his career, “Bus 657,” and of course, De Niro.

Q: How did you get started in showbiz?

A: I started acting when I was about 18 years old. I picked up writing because I wanted to showcase my acting. I’ve written probably about 13 screenplays along the way.

Q: How have you reached this level of success without an agent or manager?

A: I’ve done it all through my own contacts. I had a manager tell me, ‘What you’re doing is a miracle.’ And Ray Liotta, who saw a short film of mine called “4 Minutes,” was very supportive. We have a mutual friend. I shot “4 minutes” by myself, directed it, acted in it and produced it. It was a very low budget film. Liotta put his name on the film as producer to get it more publicity. I still don’t have an agent or manager, and at this point I want an agent for the acting part (of my career.)

Q: Please tell us about some of your other previous film projects.

A: There’s a movie that I wrote, directed and acted in called “One More Round.” We had some really great TV actors in it. That was my first (feature film) and it was a good start. I also did a short film called “The Mortgage Guy” that was about the debacle of the mortgage industry. I wrote that about a year before the debacle actually happened.

Q: “Bus 657″ was originally called “Bus 757.” Why was the name changed?

A: The distribution company had ideas about marketing this film. They didn’t want it to sound like an airplane.

Q: How did you end up acting in the movie?

A: When I signed my deal (for the screenplay) with the production company it was contingent upon me being in it as an actor. I negotiated a role as Julian Dante, one of the guys that helps rob this casino.

Q: Before we go any further, tell us the plot of “Bus 657.”

A: The story’s about Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character Luke Vaughn. He’s in a jam. His daughter needs to get an operation and he’s worked for Robert De Niro’s character The Pope for many years. The Pope owns the casino. Vaughn needs the money and he doesn’t get the money.  He partners up with Dave Bautista, who plays a character named Cox. And I am Cox’s guy that he brings in and the three of us rob the casino…It’s not just a brainless action movie. It really touches on human emotions, survival and instincts.

Q: How does the bus fit into all of this?

A:I don’t want to give away the story, but the bus is used to get away.

Q: What is the character of The Pope like?

A: The Pope is a very established successful man who has done it his way as far as dealing with the underworld, and he wants to retire. This whole heist happens to be at the time when he’s kind of trying to do his thing and living life normally. We pull him back in to this whole crime thing.

Q: Why is De Niro perfect for the role?

A: I’ve been a huge fan for a long time.  He influenced my behavior as an actor and he’s influenced my film-making vision. I grew up watching his movies  and it just so happens to be that it  came full circle. I wrote something that I saw him in. I kind of wrote the role for him very specifically and he’s nailing it. He’s fantastic…I have a small scene with him on the bus. He’s very focused. He’s a focused guy

Q: What are some of your favorite De Niro movies?

A: I love “Midnight Run,” and I  really liked him in “Casino” and “Goodfellas.” And the great thing is he’s playing a gangster in “Bus 657.” It’s a blessing.

Q: How did you manage to snag De Niro for “Bus 657″?

A: The producers, Emmett Furla Productions, made that happen. They pitched him the script and he liked it. He liked the writing and that was key. He wanted to be involved in it as The Pope.  And then he worked with the director Scott Mann and they fine-tuned a lot of things.

Q: Why is Mobile a good place to film?

A: Some of the stuff is just like what you see on a Universal Studios back lot. A lot of the buildings and a lot of the streets are very much like the stuff they built in L.A., but its natural. There’s a lot of history here. Scott Mann is really a great director and he’s picked really incredible locations. The look of this movie, from what I’ve seen, is pretty amazing. Everybody from top down has brought their game to this on all levels. It’s looking really fantastic.

Source: Al.com / Tamara Ikenberg