Director Christian Sesma’s (PAY DIRT, VIGILANTE DIARIES) latest film ‘Take Back’ completed the principal photography during COVID-19 pandemic. The film is a martial-arts action saga starring Mickey Rourke (THE WRESTLER); Michael Jai White (BLOOD AND BONE, THE DARK KNIGHT); Gillian White (NEVER BACK DOWN: NO SURRENDER; Days of our Lives) – and James Russo (DJANGO UNCHAINED).
The Producers believe TAKE BACK is among the first US independent films to successfully wrap principal photography following California’s (and most other states’) shutdown order, which effectively shut down film production nationwide.
TAKE BACK behind the scenes (L to R): Actor Mickey Rourke with Director Christian Sesma and Producer Mike Hatton behind the scenes of TAKE BACK. (August 2020)
Written by Zach Zerries in his feature-film penning debut, TAKE BACK, shot in nearly complete secrecy in The Coachella Valley in Riverside County California, took place at breakneck speed under strict COVOD-19 guidelines set forth by city, county, and state regulations, the industry’s white sheet, “The Safe Way Forward,” as guidance, SAG-AFTRA’s requirements, and the production’s own mandatory “COVID Playbook,” created by Hatton and director Sesma.
“The industry white paper helped, but we needed to do more beyond that,” said Hatton.
In TAKE BACK, Zara (Gillian White) and Brian (Michael Jai White) are living a seemingly perfect life when a mysterious man (Rourke) from Zara’s past kidnaps their teenage daughter. With the help of a small-town sheriff (Russo), the couple races to save their daughter before she’s sold and vanishes into the sex trade.
“The film sheds some light on human trafficking–a cause Michael and I are both passionate about fighting,” says Gillian White. Indeed, a small genre of films have sprung up addressing the topic, such as 2017’s TRAFFIK starring Paula Patton, Omar Epps and Luke Goss, and TRAFFICKED, starring Ashley Judd, Anne Archer and Patrick Duffy. Sesma adds, “we’re incredibly stoked to have had this cast—Mickey and Michael are legends, and this promises to establish Gillian White as the next martial arts heroine.”