To close out our set visit reports for The Chair, Kyle Hester, one of the stars and producers of the new horror-behind-bars thriller, sat down to talk with us exclusively about his creepy new project.
“I became involved,” he said, “when I saw a post on Facebook by Ezra Buzzington. I saw that he and Bill Oberst, Jr., were in this movie, and I just had to be involved. I then ran into Ezra at the Hollywood Horror Film Festival, and he pointed me in the direction of Peter Simeti. I sent my acting reel over to him, and the rest is history! I came on as an actor and ended up producing the film. I am so proud of everyone that helped make this film a reality.”
He plays a prison guard named Bowen, who’s pretty sadistic and at times downright evil. So it’s interesting to learn from Hester that in the beginning “Bowen was actually a guard with no lines. I was told that I would have the opportunity to imrov so I said, ‘What the heck – let’s do this.’ But by the time we started shooting, Bowen had plenty to say so it developed as we went along. Bowen is actually solid in his convictions. He believes that an eye for an eye is the way it should be so that is how he lives… sometimes taking it to the extreme.”
We wondered what it was like to create and build an entire prison set, and whether it felt as claustrophobic as it looked. “Funny thing about the set,” Hester says. “When we were doing the location scouting, we were looking for actual prisons and jails to shoot at. But nothing was available. We were three weeks from filming with no prison set. Some people wanted to push the shoot, but actor availability would have made that very difficult. So I said, ‘Let’s build the set.’ Our production designer, Anthony Pearce, went about designing it, and it was on! I have lots of experience in that area so we made the decision to build it. We only had three weeks so we were still finishing the set even as we started filming. I would come in and work on the set for a couple of hours and then get into makeup for Bowen. It was crazy for the first few days.”
After taking such a proactive stance and pursuing The Chair because of its cast, we had to know if his co-stars lived up to his expectations. “The actors really hit it out of the park!” Hester enthused. “Bill Oberst, Jr., was amazing. Ezra is a joy to work with and a true professional. We had a very intense scene together. Tim Muskatell did a wonderful job as Sullivan. Roddy Piper was mesmerizing to watch. Noah Hathaway and Zach Galligan were awesome and intense. Total pros! Derrick Damions great to work with. I don’t want to leave anyone out… I was really impressed with the entire cast.”
Directed by Chad Ferrin, The Chair stars Bill Oberst, Jr., Timothy Muskatell, Noah Hathaway, Zach Galligan, Naomi Grossman, Derrick Damions, Ezra Buzzington, Susan Eisenberg, Kin Shriner, Jacob Banser, Kyle Hester, Robert Rhine, Tomas Boykin, Christian Hutcherson. and Roddy Piper.
Richard Sullivan (Timothy Muskatell) is an innocent man struggling to escape his fate on Death Row. Witnessing the murders of his fellow inmates at the hands of the prison’s sadistic and psychotic Warden (Oberst) and his crew of guards, Sullivan decides that the only way to survive is to fight back. With the body count rising, the Warden and his guards close in on Sullivan. As he matches the brutality occurring in the prison, Sullivan starts to lose his grip on reality. Memories of the childhood abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother combine with vivid hallucinations which push him to the very edge, forcing him to question his sanity at every turn.