Steven C. Miller has spent the better part of the last decade directing critically acclaimed indie horror films, including Automaton Transfusion, Under the Bed, and Silent Night. Now, the 2004 Film grad is making the leap to studio features with his latest directorial pursuit, Extraction, an action-packed espionage thriller starring Bruce Willis, Kellan Lutz, and Gina Carano.
The film, which was shot over 17 days in Alabama, revolves around a former CIA operative (Willis) kidnapped by a group of terrorists. When the US Government declines to negotiate for his life, his son (Lutz) decides to take matters into his own hands. Steven says the film combines all of the best qualities of a mid-90’s action flick with a more contemporary sensibilities.
“I describe it as a reverse Taken where the son has to go after the father,” he says. “That said, Bruce doesn’t play some frail old dad that just sits around waiting to be rescued. He does get in on the action.”
The project, produced by Lionsgate, allowed Steven to expand his creative horizons.
“For me, I’ve always made smaller indie films, so I haven’t had a lot of freedom to flex my muscles. This movie allowed me to expand my creative side. It gave me time and money to shoot the action the way I saw it in my head.”
“Action is physically different than horror,” he adds. “With horror, you can just make some cuts and blood flies and I don’t find that I have to be too specific. With action, you have to make sure every punch sells, every hit sells, and every car crash sells. On this film, we really got to play with style and do something a little more kinetic.”
Despite the stylistic leap, Steven says making Extraction was a positive learning experience, one that allowed him to branch out and expand his already impressive repertoire into other forms of cinema. In fact, he has another movie starring Willis in the works—a bank heist film called Marauders. The movie co-stars Christopher Meloni and Adrian Grenier, and is slated to premier next spring. As for down the road, Steven says he’d like to eventually return to his roots.
“I’d love to do a horror action film,” he says. “I’m looking for something that mixes the genres.”
Extraction opens in theaters and on demand December 18.