Thanks to the internet and social media, it’s easier than ever before for aspiring filmmakers and creative artists to draw attention to their projects and Christian Sesma’s “Vigilante Diaries” traveled down this very route on its road to fruition. Beginning as a collection of shorts released online in 2013, it eventually evolved into a Tarantino-esque action thriller and has just been released on DVD and Video on Demand platforms.
Today, Christian Sesma gives a peek behind the humble beginnings of “Vigilante Diaries”, sharing how big names like Michael Jai White, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Jason Mewes and Michael Madsen came aboard and how the project morphed from a series of webisodes into the feature film it is today.
Hi there Christian, great having the opportunity to speak today.
Hi there Brad, it’s my pleasure.
Fantastic. Well, let’s dive right into “Vigilante Diaries”. Can you go into the beginnings of the project as a series of webisodes?
Yes, it all began as a web-series that Paul Sloan, Jason Mewes and I did for San Diego Comic-Con back in 2013. “Daredevil” and “The Punisher” hadn’t debuted on Netflix yet, so we had conceived it really as a no holds barred, hard-R, graphic novel-esque project. After it was released on Machinima, Paul Sloan and I went off to some other projects, but then we heard from two producers, Mike Hatton and Asko Akopyan, who said, “Hey, we know you guys already have twenty minutes of footage for “Vigilante Diaries”, so why not shoot more and make a movie out of it?” and that’s kind of how it all started.
Yes, the film really felt like something in the vein of “The Punisher” and had bit of a Tarantino vibe to it, as well. You also had some pretty big names in the film, such as Michael Madsen, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Michael Jai White. What can you tell us about how the whole talent pool of the film was brought aboard?
Well, the cool thing about it was that it was one of those independent projects that we just called up all of our friends to be a part of. It was something where everyone enjoyed being a part of it just because it was a total graphic novel-style romp for an hour and a half.
Definitely! So, what fun or memorable experiences from the making of the film can you tell us about?
Oh, there are many! Mostly, it was just a bunch of buddies goofing off and having fun, but Paul Sloan actually got seriously injured while we were shooting. He popped his Achilles’ tendon but he’s so tough that he ended up finishing the last act of the movie which was about two weeks’ of shooting, with just one working leg – he had to do a lot of running and fight scenes with that injury.
Ouch! He’s such a trooper and watching the movie, you’d never notice! Well, going off of that, what can you tell us about making the film alongside such incredible martial artists as Michael Jai White and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson?
It was great! I’ve been a fan of Rampage since his days in Pride and Michael Jai White is one of the most recognizable martial arts’ actors out there so it felt like directing your own sifu!
Well, given the way the film ends, will we see The Vigilante make a return at some point?
I hope so! I don’t think it’s over and we definitely made it something where the audience feels like they’re in on the fun, so it’ll depend on the response. I’d love to take the story to Asia!