Stephen Dorff as Jeremy Reins in Gabe Torres' BRAKE. Copyright 2011 Brake, LLC. All Rights Reserved. An IFC Films release.


Also Starring:
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* Most external filmography links go to The Internet Movie Database.

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Brake (2012)

Opened: 03/21/2012 Limited

IFC Center03/21/2012 - 03/27/20127 days
NoHo 7/LA03/23/2012 - 03/29/20127 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home

Genre: Action/Thriller

Rated: R for for mental torture/terror, and language throughout.


Secret Service Agent Jeremy Reins (Stephen Dorff) is about to have a very bad day. He wakes up trapped in the dark, cramped trunk of a moving car with no recollection of how or why he's there. The only light comes from the blood-red digital numbers ticking away above his head that signify one thing..he's running out of time.

As the captors reveal themselves and their motives while torturing their hostage mentally and physically, Jeremy realizes he is a pawn in their potentially catastrophic plot. He will not be set free until he gives up information about the President he's been trained not to reveal.

A nonstop action thriller from director Gabe Torres, BRAKE features a heroically unflinching performance by Stephen Dorff as well as supporting turns from Chyler Leigh (Grey's Anatomy) and Tom Berenger (INCEPTION).

Director's Notes

BRAKE is like no other movie I've made before and like no movie audiences have ever experienced before. It's an adrenaline fueled, white-knuckle action movie that happens to take place in the trunk of a car. One might think this genre and the confined setting might be at odds. They are but that's exactly what made me jump at the chance to create something that had never been done before on film. There have been confined thrillers and some quite good, but I had never seen a confined action movie so I knew I was in new territory. The goal I set with Brake was to create "Die Hard" in the trunk of a car. That's exactly the mantra I shared with everyone who worked on the film and it's exactly what we have created.

When I first read the script I knew I'd need to throw out all the standard ways of telling a story and think about how to shoot this story without the usual filmmaking conventions. For me, the answer was to make the film a totally immersive experience, both visually and psychologically. When you see Brake, you are inside that trunk with Jeremy. The audience lives every sweaty, confined, torturous moment that he endures.

When Secret Service Agent Jeremy Reins awakens in the trunk of the car he has no idea where he is or how he got there. Bit by bit he discovers why he's there and the danger he and the people he loves are in. His knowledge builds with each action beat, compounding and raising the stakes for Jeremy. Part of keeping the audience hooked is letting them figure out what's going on at the same time Jeremy does. We're never ahead of him in gaining knowledge. We learn everything as Jeremy does. As he puts together the pieces of the puzzle, so do we. I knew that to keep the audience with Jeremy, they could never know more than he does. It's part of what keeps you glued to the story. I made sure in crafting the scenes that we never see or hear anything more than Jeremy does. If he hears something, we hear it. If he can't quite make out a sound or voice, neither can we. Every view of the world outside the trunk is only what he can see. The shoot-outs, car chases and other big action are all experienced from inside the trunk. Not seeing the car that's crashing into you, not knowing from where the bullets are coming from makes for very tense situations.

Casting was also key to making this film work. I needed an actor who was up to the challenge of maintaining an intensity to match the action, but still portray the private, human frailties that Jeremy displays. To add to that challenge who ever played Jeremy would be the only actor on screen for the majority of the film. Stephen Dorff is an actor who relishes a challenge like this. He holds an amazing level of intensity, but skillfully balances it with humanity. His portrayal of Jeremy's descent into madness is pitch perfect. He's a flawed hero that an audience relates to from the beginning. Without that connection, it would be hard to sustain the audience interest.

Creating all this was a wonderful challenge. I relied on movement, lighting, sound and music.

To shoot the film in just twelve days, we created a half car set on a manual gimbal that was operated by lighting and movement crew all synchronized in rehearsal to simulate all the extreme action the car needed to do. Many times Stephen was unaware what the car was going to do and he was violently thrown around, creating his performance around what we did to him. It made for immediacy to his performance that I don't think we would have gotten had we done multiple rehearsals with him in the set piece.

Visually we had various lighting set ups inside the set piece. I started out more in darkness and then introduced more light as more becomes revealed to Jeremy. Then as his world starts coming apart and the action ramps up, the lighting becomes more frantic... shorting electrical connections, light cutting in from the outside through openings in the damaged car. I wanted the visual landscape to always keep changing and always reflect the state of Jeremy's psyche. I'm very pleased with what we did in that regard. It all works on a subliminal level for sure, but the combination of movement and lighting is a complete action experience for the audience.

Creating the immersive experience relied heavily on the sound design as well. Working with Richard Beggs, who won the Oscar for his sound design on Apocalypse Now was a dream for this film. We surround Jeremy and the audience in all the action in the 5.1 surround world. The roar of traffic and cars around him is around the audience. The screeching of left and right tires, the roar of the engine, the bullets flying in all directions are all there all around him. Every explosion rocks and ricochets shrapnel around him. Richard's attention to detail began with taking a car and wiring it with microphones at 8 different points to record from all around Jeremy. Then we had a stunt driver race the car through every action sequence we had in the film, to get that immersive sound experience.

Brian Tyler's score for BRAKE is as unique as the film itself. Having scored huge action films like the "Fast and Furious" franchise, Brian is used to creating a big orchestral score for big action. For Brake he took a whole new approach, coming from a place of character to create the score. Instead of using even a small orchestra, Brian chose to lock himself in his studio alone, much as Jeremy is in the trunk. Once in there Brian used a limited pallet of instruments, playing all of them himself and creating the entire score on his own. He also wove into the score unique sounds of cars. Listen closely and you'll hear a harmonized engine rev, turn signal clicks as percussion He even took a bow to alloy rims and played the rims like a violin.

I don't think I will likely ever do another film quite like Brake. It was one of the most intense shooting experiences I have ever had as a director and as much as I strived to immerse the audience in Jeremy's experience, I too found myself inside that trunk. Through all of the shooting and all of the post my head was in there. It was the only way to make sure I'd get it right. When it was over I was glad to finally see the light of day and be out of that trunk. Watching the finished film now, I think audiences will also take a deep breath and be thankful for the light of day as they step out of the theater and finally escape the trunk themselves.

Cast Biographies

Stephen Dorff (Jeremy Reins)

Stephen Dorff is one of the most respected actors in Hollywood and has been greatly sought after since his powerful performance in Sofia Coppola's drama Somewhere, which won a Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival. In 2009, Dorff teamed with Somewhere producer G. Mac Brown on Michael Mann's gangster drama Public Enemies, starring opposite Johnny Depp.

The Atlanta native has been acting in movies for over two decades. In 1990, he was one of 2,000 actors who auditioned for the lead role in John G. Avildsen's The Power of One. Dorff got the part, starring with Morgan Freeman, John Gielgud and Fay Masterson. Additionally, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) honored him with the ShoWest Male Star of Tomorrow Award.

Dorff then portrayed two real-life pop culture figures: "the fifth Beatle," musician Stuart Sutcliffe, in Iain Softley's Backbeat, and cross-dressing film star Candy Darling in Mary Harron's I Shot Andy Warhol. He was also seen in Bob Rafelson's Blood and Wine, opposite Jack Nicholson and Michael Caine; John Irvin's City of Industry, with Harvey Keitel; James Lapine's telefilm "Earthly Possessions," opposite Susan Sarandon; and Stephen Norrington's Blade, opposite Wesley Snipes. For the latter role, Dorff won the MTV Movie Award for Best Villain.

Other film credits include Ric Roman Waugh's Felon (which Dorff also executive-produced), John Waters' Cecil B. DeMented (in the title role), Lee Daniels' Shadowboxer, Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, Mike Figgis' Cold Creek Manor, Scott Kalvert's Deuces Wild, Phil Joanou's Entropy, Tony Kaye's Black Water Transit and Tom Brady's Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star. Most recently Dorff co-starred in the 3-D action epic Immortals. He stars in the upcoming film Brake which will be released by IFC Films in March 2012. Additional upcoming roles include Alan and Gabe Polsky's The Motel Life, opposite Emile Hirsch, and David Jacobson's Boot Tracks, opposite Michelle Monaghan. Dorff will next play the lead role in Eran Riklis' Zaytoun which is set to begin filming in Israel in March 2012.

Chyler Leigh (Molly Reins)

Chyler Leigh stars as 'Dr Lexie Grey' on ABC's hit series "Grey's Anatomy" and in the Lifetime movie "The 19th Wife."

Leigh previously starred in David E. Kelley's series "The Practice" and "Girls Club," as well as "Reunion," "That '80s Show," and Aaron Spelling's "Safe Harbor." She appeared in the pilots "Wilder Days" for ABC, "Lucky Us" for Fox, and "Saving Graces" and "Rocky Point" for the WB. She also guest-starred on "North Shore" and in a powerful three-episode arc on the long-running WB series, "7th Heaven."

Leigh made her feature film debut in the Columbia/Tri-Star hit comedy spoof "Not Another Teen Movie."

Leigh was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and raised in Virginia Beach and Miami Beach. She and her husband, actor Nathan West, have three children.

J.R. Bourne (Henry Shaw)

Over a short period of time, JR Bourne has taken his passion and love of the craft and fashioned a truly diverse and challenging career. In TV, film and theater, the Toronto native has been consistent with the work he puts forth, delivering interesting, layered performances and creating authentic characters.

A vigilant supporter of independent film, JR has been fortunate to appear in several films that have enjoyed great success at festivals and as well as at the box office. He most recently appeared at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Elgin James' dark and gritty "Little Birds" opposite talented up and comers Juno Temple and Kay Panabaker. Also in 2011, he starred in the heartfelt "Fly Away" for director Janet Grillo, which premiered at South By Southwest.

On the small screen, JR has played recurring characters on many series including Stargate, Fringe and 24. He can currently be seen on MTV's new hit show "Teen Wolf".

Tom Berenger (Ben Reynolds)

Tom Berenger's career spans feature films, television and production. His film career took off when he appeared in the Oscar-nominated film The Big Chill, with Glenn Close and William Hurt. He went on to receive Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for his role in the Oscar-winning film Platoon, with Willem Dafoe and Charlie Sheen. Berenger has made several television appearances, including an Emmy-nominated guest performance on the hit television series Cheers.

Berenger most recently wrapped the independent feature Right Angle, a drama centered on a hard-living salesman who becomes a quadriplegic after an accident. He plays "Jerry" starring opposite Tom Sizemore, Jeff Daniels and Aaron Paul. In 2010, Tom came out in Christopher Nolan's Inception opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, CBS Films' Faster which starred Dwayne Johnson, as well as Smokin Aces 2 which was released by Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Tom has also worked on independent feature films such as Last Will, the suspense thriller which he starred opposite Tatum O'Neal and Peter Coyote, War Flowers which stars Christina Ricci, and Lions Gate's Order of Redemption. Tom stars as "Steven Luisi", a criminal defense attorney trying to get his life back after overcoming a battle with addiction.

Berenger's past television credits includes ABC's October Road, Stephen King's TNT miniseries Nightmares & Dreamscapes, Into the West, Gettysburg and Rough Riders, the last of which he also executive produced. He has also starred in the popular films Jonathan Toomey, an adaptation of the children's book The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, Major League, Training Day, Sniper, Sliver, Shattered and At Play in the Fields of the Lord. Berenger's other executive-producing credits include The Occasional Hell and the television series Peacemakers.

Crew Biographies

Gabe Torres (Director)

Gabe Torres got started making films at age twelve when he discovered an old eight-millimeter camera in a neighbor's closet. Soon he was cranking out numerous super eight films. Movies had become his passion and Aurora his back lot. In the course of the next six years family and friends became actors, the village bank was robbed, a garage was set ablaze, toy ships were sunk in the lake and monsters roamed the streets of Aurora. All this was in the name of filmmaking.

While in high school, Torres' film A Short Distance, won first prize from the Photographic Society Of America in their teen film division. The prize winning-film was a visual allegory that followed a runner during the course of his morning training in the upstate New York countryside. The scholarship that accompanied the award was put to use the next year when Gabe graduated from high school and was accepted into the film program at USC in Los Angeles.

While at USC Torres nurtured his writing and directing skills, winning the Edward G. Small Scholarships, both in the field of directing in his junior year and then in the field of writing his senior year for his screenplay Nothing Up My Sleeve. Also during his senior year, Torres' short film, When Dragons Were Real took second place at the World Con Science Fiction Film Festival and screened as part of a film series at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles.

Upon graduation, Torres secured backing and began his most ambitious project to date, The Legend of Firefly Marsh. Written and directed by Torres, the film was a monumental undertaking for the small crew working on a shoestring budget. When completed, Torres was able to garner attention for the film at festivals and it was distributed in the educational market by Phoenix Films. It also aired as a Young People's Special on NBC and had a long life on the Disney Channel.

Torres' feature film debut as writer and director came with the powerful, humanistic, drama, December. The film was distributed by Columbia Tristar and opened in December of 1991 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. December was also chosen as closing night film of the Hawaii International film festival and was shown in Honolulu on Dec. 7, 1991.

Torres has written and directed for television as well. He began his television writing career on CBS's The Wizard produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television and has also written for the MCA Television series She-Wolf of London, the serialized, Let it Rock for The Disney Channel and created his own children's series, Nothing Up My Sleeve for Netter Digital Entertainment.

Torres has had a busy television directing career, having directed hundreds of episodes and segments on network and cable television, including the hit ABC series Land of the Lost, FOX Network's fantasy series Big Bad Beetleborgs and Mystic Knights, as well as, A.R.K. - Animal Rescue Kids for the Discovery Channel.

In 2010, Torres partnered with Walking West Entertainment to produce and direct the suspense thriller BRAKE, starring Stephen Dorff, Chyler Leigh, JR Bourne and Tom Berenger.

Ryan Ross (Executive Producer)

Ryan Ross is a graduate of the prestigious University of Texas Radio-Television- Film program. He also studied cinema at the Universidad de Sevilla in Spain. Before graduating, Ryan worked on two films in Austin directed by Richard Linklater, as well as for the award winning independent production company Thousand Words. Within a month of moving to California, he joined Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment, where he spent a year working in Special Projects under Grazer, followed by a year in development in the office of the President of Production. Ryan is currently a partner at La Costa Productions alongside film actor and producer Stephen Dorff.

James Walker (Producer)

James is a seasoned executive who is a veteran of two Fortune 500® financial groups (MassMutual & Principal) before entering the entertainment industry as the Chief Operating Officer for Terwilliger Productions where he oversaw business affairs, finance and contributed to the successful distribution of the noted documentary One Six Right: The Romance of Flying. In addition to his commitments to Walking West, James continues to consult a variety of other entertainment companies and producers on business plan development, packaging/financing, business affairs and distribution which has led to his attachment as an Associate Producer on the major motion pictures Aviatrix, being directed by Universal Studios based Academy Award® winner James Moll, and The Surgeon, that is being developed by Warner Bros. SVP Dave Brown.

James graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a degree in Business Administration, concentrating in Business Law.

Nathan West (Producer)

Nathan West is the Co-Founder & Co-President of Walking West Entertainment. Nathan is an experienced entertainment professional who has appeared as an actor in numerous independent productions, television programs and major motion pictures, including the Walt Disney Pictures release Miracle and the Universal Pictures release Bring it On. A former pro-hockey player turned leading Hollywood actor turned successful film producer, Nathan is a rare and dynamic entrepreneur who continues to pioneer the art of bridging creative excellence with business sense. Along with his wife, actress and producer Chyler Leigh, Nathan has built a rolodex of key relationships with actors, agents, managers, lawyers and other entertainment professionals that are key resources for Walking West.

James Mathers (Director of Photography)

James Mathers grew up in the film industry, performing as a child actor alongside such notables as Henry Fonda, Walter Brennen, Buddy Ebsen, and Haley Mills. He also guest starred in episodes of Bewitched, My Three Sons, The Munsters, and Adam-12.

Behind the lens professional work started after he attended film school, and a wide variety of staff and freelance assignments led to a specialization in cinematography and the founding of his own business, The Migrant FilmWorkers.

Jim has been the Director of Photography on over forty films and MOWs, and has seen six TV series from inception through their first season. In the last few years he has been developing an expertise in shooting film style digital, pioneering the use of Digital Cinema cameras such as the RED One. Recent projects have also led to a wealth of practical experience and an in depth understanding of 3D acquisition.

In the documentary realm, James was DP on the Lionsgate theatrical release The US vs John Lennon, as well as the Grammy nominated Showtime special Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of Smile. He also shot segments of the Sundance Doc Winner For The Bible Tells Me So and Leonardo DiCaprio's 11th Hour.

He is president and cofounder of the non-profit educational cooperative The Digital Cinema Society, a group dedicated to the industry's informed integration of new tchnology. Additionally, he is a contributor to several industry trade journals and is a sought after guest speaker on the topic of emerging digital technology.

Sam Restivo (Editor)

Sam Restivo has edited his 3rd feature film with Brake. He has had the privilege to rise up as an editor under the direction of master filmmakers Michael Mann, Robert Zemeckis, Michael Bay, & David Zucker on multiple projects. He was fortunate to be a part of the Oscar-nominated editorial team on Collateral (2004). His other editing credits include Fling (2008), starring Brandon Routh, & indie-fave Nesting (2011), directed by John Chuldenko.

John Mott (Production Designer)

John is an accomplished production designer, working in the U.S., and internationally on Feature Films, Television, Commercials and Music Videos. Recent feature credits include Atlas Shrugged, Bait, The One, and The Surrogate (2012 Sundance feature selection). His network television credits include the 2011 Emmy Awards, the post-apocalyptic CBS drama Jericho, and the Discovery series Moments in Time for which he was nominated for an Art Directors Guild award for Excellence In Production Design. John has extensive experience (with both film and HD) in concept generation & execution - including 2D and 3D design and drafting, model making, SPFX & VFX integration, prop & graphic design, and budget control. He was the keynote speaker on Production Design for Digital Capture at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, and has been an invited speaker on Production Design at the AFI. Memberships include the American Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (AATAS), the Art Directors Guild (SMPTAD, Local 800), and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, John grew up in Sydney, Australia, where he graduated from Sydney University. John is a US citizen and lives in Los Angeles.

Marcy Froehlich (Costume Designer)

Marcy has designed costumes for a variety of venues, in film, TV, theatre, opera, dance, and even for the Energizer Bunny! FILM/TV: Miss America Pageant; PBS's We Shall Remain; Unbowed; The Unknown Cyclist; Assistant Designer: Geppetto (Emmy nomination), American Beauty, Road to Perdition, For Your Consideration. THEATRE: Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Bus Stop, Hamlet, Man of La Mancha with Rubicon Theatre (all Ovation nominations); national tour of Camelot for McCoy Rigby with Michael York then Lou Diamond Philips; Pajama Game with Reprise; Ragtime at CLO South Bay; Les Miserables at Sacramento Music Circus. OPERA: Orpheus & Euridice at Long Beach Opera; Madama Butterfly at Delaware Opera. Associate Designer: Phantom of the Opera Broadway tours, Robert Wilson's The Civil Wars (in Rome, Rotterdam, & Tokyo). Former Trustee and Board Member of the Costume Designers Guild. Co-author Shopping LA: The Insider's Sourcebook for Film & Fashion.

Brian Tyler (Music)

Brian Tyler is a composer of over 50 films and was recently nominated for "Film Composer of the Year" by the International Film Music Critics Association. He composed and conducted the scores for "Eagle Eye" for producer Steven Spielberg, the box office hits "Fast Five" and "Fast and Furious," "The Expendables" and "Rambo" directed by Sylvester Stallone, "Law Abiding Citizen" starring Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler, the Keanu Reeves thriller "Constantine," the epic science fiction film "Battle: Los Angeles."

He began scoring features shortly after he received his bachelor's degree from UCLA and his master's degree from Harvard University. Tyler's score for Bill Paxton's "Frailty" won him a World Soundtrack Award in 2002 as well as The World Soundtrack Award as Best New Film Composer of the Year. The following year he received Emmy nominations for his scores to "The Last Call" and "Transformers: Prime." He has also won five ASCAP Film Music Awards and the most BMI Awards in 2011 (five).

Tyler is a multi-instrumentalist playing drums, piano, guitar, orchestral and world percussion, bass, cello, guitarviol, charango, bouzouki, amongst others. After composing the score for "The Hunted" for Academy Award-winning director William Friedkin, Tyler found himself on the cover of Film Score Monthly Magazine dubbed as "The Future of Film Scoring." He then composed the score for Disney's "The Greatest Game Ever Played" starring Shia LaBeouf. His score for "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" hit #1 on the iTunes soundtrack sales charts while his soundtrack for "Children of Dune" was the #4 best selling album on during March of 2003.

Other credits include 20th Century Fox's science-fiction film "Timeline" directed by Richard Donner, "Alien vs Predator: Requiem," "Star Trek: Enterprise," "Transformers Prime," and Steven Spielberg's upcoming series "Terra Nova." His music has been used in a multitude of film trailers including "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," "The Departed," and "The Chronicles of Narnia." He is also the executive producer and composer for the upcoming thriller "Columbus Circle." Tyler was recently inducted into the music branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.