Earlier this year when it was revealed that 24 actor Kiefer Sutherland would star in an upcoming web series, the web went wild with the thought that the Jack Bauer alter-ego would soon be returning to the realm of film. The series, titled The Confession, went live this past Monday on Hulu to largely favorable reviews and an overwhelming amount of fan response. Brad Mirman, the director and writer behind the project, spoke with ShaneSSaunders.com about the series everybody can’t stop talking about.
Saunders: From what I understand Kiefer Sutherland brought the idea of making a web series to you, and thus The Confession was born. Was it always intended to be a drama web series, or was there a possibility to maybe do something like a comedy?
Mirman: It was always going to be a dramatic thing. As Kiefer has said, one of the biggest challenges was could a story be told in this format. And when he came up with the idea of a hit man confessional he called me and I went up to New York for a few days and we talked about it. The toughest thing about this format doing 7-minute episodes was that we were really going to need strong ins and outs for this thing to work.
Saunders: The Confession marks your first foray into the world of web series. How different is it working on an online project as compared to television and film?
Mirman: For us there was actually no difference at all. Every actor that came on to this show I think was expecting some kind of low-budget, no thrills experience. Whereas when they showed up, it was virtually indistinguishable from any movie set that you’ve ever been on. Production values, the members of the crew, the way that it was approached was exactly the same way you would approach a feature film or television network series.
Saunders: I’m really interested in how this project maintained a low-profile, if you will. Many people were curious as to what Kiefer’s next project was going to be, and there was some mystery surrounding what it would be. Then one day The Confession was announced and it kind of caught people… off guard.
Mirman: I think probably the reason for that is when a movie is going to be done or a project is going to be done, you have an incredible need time. Thus to say the deals are made, the movers get out there, the script takes time to get written, and the production base set. This is by far the fastest thing to come together that I’ve ever been involved with from beginning to end. Whereas in July we had dinner with these guys from DBG, and by December we were shooting. So within a period of five months there was a script and we were filming. It’s incredibly fast. So to speak, under the radar, because the script was out there and we were talking about when to go; trying to find a time when Kiefer and I and John Hurt were all available to go do this. By the time we picked a date it was only about a month before, so there really wasn’t a lot of time for people to start talking about it. And part of that was design, being very secretive and having people involved with this by signing a confidentiality agreement not to talk about it.
Saunders: To follow that up, what was the production schedule like to film one episode?
Mirman: I can’t really break that down by episode. I know that it took about ten days to shoot ten episodes. So I guess you could say that it was an episode a day. I think that would be a fair approximation to say.
Saunders: Right now the series is just ten episodes, but is there a possibility that more episodes could be produced depending on how successful the first ten do?
Mirman: Well, there’s talk of a season two. I think that Kiefer and I have discussed it and we’re open to a season two, and again it depends on how well season one does and having the time in our schedules to get together and do another ten episodes. I think that Kiefer and I would like to do it in a larger format if we can do it next time. Maybe ten to fifteen minute episodes.
Saunders: Back when this project was announced you opened up the opportunity for a fan to attend a screening of The Confession in New York. While it didn’t quite work out as well as you planned, do you think this is something you would try with future projects?
Mirman: Yeah, we always try to get people involved. When this thing started I thought that after all the movies that I’ve done it would be interesting to keep people in the loop. I joined Twitter as you know and I’ve come across a lot of very interesting, very kind people out there who have been very supportive of the project and helping us get the word out there. It’s kind of a grassroots thing… uncharted territory. Something of this size and this budget didn’t really go out in a mainstream way and didn’t have any billboards or television ads. We relied on the whole social media network to get the word of mouth out there. All of these people on Twitter have been very instrumental in helping people become aware of it.
Saunders: You have another film you’re working on right now titled Sleigh Of Hand. Is this a film audiences can expect to see in the theaters or more in the same style of online/OnDemand viewing such as The Confession?
Mirman: No, this will be a theatrical release.
Saunders: Will it be coming out this year?
Mirman: It probably won’t be coming out this year. We’re thinking we’re gonna start filming in Paris around middle of July. So it probably wouldn’t be out until first or second quarter of next year.
Saunders: Great. My last question is regarding the potential 24 film that is allegedly in the works. Is this something you would consider being a part of? I understand you have Kiefer have a close friendship, and am curious to see if you two have any future projects in the works together.
Mirman: No, it’s not something that I am a part of. Kiefer and I have never discussed that. I think partly because I was busy writing and getting ready to direct The Confession.
As for other projects Kiefer and I have, yes, we’ve done some things. We have a western the two of us want to do together, but again it boils down to when he’s available and I’m available.