From writer/director Aaron Harvey, the revenge thriller Into the Ashes follows Nick Brenner (Luke Grimes), an ex-criminal who’s set his life on a very different path, with an honest job and a loving wife. But when his old crew comes looking for the money that he stole and send Nick a very clear message that all is not forgiven, Nick sets out to get payback for what they’ve done.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actor Frank Grillo (who plays ex-con Sloan) talked about what drew him to Into the Ashes, the fun of playing a guy like this, getting into his character’s head, and his own favorite revenge movie. He also talked about the recently released action thriller Point Blank (available to stream at Netflix), which he did with his producing partner Joe Carnahan and opposite co-star Anthony Mackie, re-teaming with The Purge filmmaker James DeMonaco for Once Upon a Time in Staten Island, and returning to the Marvel Universe for Avengers: Endgame.
FRANK GRILLO: You know, I read the script and it really reminded me of No Country for Old Men. And then, when I talked to the director (Aaron Harvey), he actually brought up No Country for Old Men, and we talked about casting. My friend, James Badge Dale, is in the movie, and I had known Luke Grimes a little bit. The elements were there. The script is really sparse, but it’s unapologetic, which I think is cool because you’re not trying to appease any group of people. When we went to make it, it was exactly how we talked about bringing together, so it was a good experience.
Do you find it a lot of fun to play a character like this, where we don’t necessarily have to learn the reasons for what he’s doing or what his backstory is?
GRILLO: Yeah, and good for you for saying that. I read a lot of critics’ opinions about films, and a lot of them always want to know why everything happened, or what the background is, and I like not knowing. What does it matter? It doesn’t matter. All that matters is what’s happening, in the moment. You follow the now. We’re not reading a book. It’s not a novel, it’s a motion picture. I can fill in the blanks or not, and just follow the story and narrative. That’s the information that you need. That’s a great point. I love sparse scripts. I love when things show you, in a way that’s efficient. TV is a writer’s medium. You have to constantly tell the audience what happened last week, right now, and what may happen next week. But the beauty of being able to do film is that you don’t have to abide by any of that.