Those familiar with Reece will recognize his ease in front of the camera, engaging effortlessly with A-list celebrities, renowned directors, and top-tier models. Yet, in The Heist, Reece showcases a different talent, taking charge behind the camera to weave a captivating story. We watch with bated breath as a woman, codename Miss B. - portrayed by the talented Jo Ellen Pellman - cunningly procures a timepiece, the coveted Relic, from a secret basement archive. Channeling the spirit of the legendary Indiana Jones, Pellman's character employs adventurous strategies and brilliant tactics to keep her newfound treasure.
Given that The Heist is Reece's directorial debut, our curiosity was piqued. We wanted an in-depth look into his transition to this new role, to uncover the highs and lows of managing a film crew, and to understand the intricacies of translating his vision to the big screen. Now, the tables turn as the interviewer becomes the interviewee:
First, tell us how you discovered BREDA and what was your first BREDA timepiece?
My first timepiece from BREDA was a brown/gold leather banded Virgil watch. It reminded me so much of the classic old watches I had seen my grandfather wear, and wearing it made me feel like I was in a classic Hollywood movie from the 40s.
What was the first movie that stopped you in your tracks?
The first movie that stopped me in my tracks was Casablanca. Something clicked in my brain, and I understood how it had inspired every modern movie I loved. I saw the blueprints of hundreds of films within every shot, every line, every angle, every beat from Casablanca. Casablanca helped me grapple with how modern American cinema took form, and my desire to learn more about the industry and storytelling grew from there.
Is The Heist the first commercial/short you’ve directed outside student projects?
Not only is The Heist the first commercial/short I’ve directed, it is the first project I’ve ever directed…PERIOD!
Speaking of school, what do you miss most about New Orleans?
I miss the overall atmosphere of the city. There is an indescribable feeling that exists in New Orleans, which I simply don’t have the vocabulary or insight to put to paper, but one that must be felt in person to understand, appreciate, and love.
What was behind the idea and motive to pull off The Heist?
The idea for The Heist came from my love of single-location films. Movies like 12 Angry Men, Rear Window, and The Breakfast Club are able to do so much in finite spaces, and I love/admire the challenge of telling a compelling story within the constraints of a single location. Also, quite candidly, I wanted my first ever job directing to be in a controlled environment, so I knew a one-location story would grant me the ability to focus on all of the other variables/elements more without having to stress about multiple sets.
How did the process of The Heist unfold?
After deciding on a one-location story setup, I knew I wanted The Heist to unfold like some of my favorite “theft” scenes of old: a linear, causal chain of acquisition. I wanted our hero to have to face several challenges before she’d be allowed to retrieve her prize. I took inspiration from films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Mission Impossible, Ocean’s Eleven, and Thief to get the feel and movement down. Still, I wanted the tone to fall more on the lighthearted/comedic side, as that is where my true sensibilities lie.
You’re a big fan of teen horror comedies; what draws you to teen screams?
I believe horror and comedy are the two words that best describe what being a teenager is like (at least for me, it was!) Those years are when you begin to discover who you truly are, and they shape what you will become. In that sense, all of the intense changes and strong emotions I felt during that stage of my life left me torn between wanting to burst into either laughter or screams. Thus, the coming-of-age horror-comedy perfectly captures that duality I felt.
How do you feel about the evolution of the teen horror comedy genre over the years?
I believe that over the years, the sincerity that was once present in the genre has gradually faded away. Films like Fright Night, An American Werewolf in London, and The Lost Boys were when these movies were really hitting their stride. While more recently, films like Jennifer’s Body and It Follows have scratched that itch for me, I am not satisfied with how few films are being made in the genre, which is why I’d like to make my own movies under this umbrella in the hopes of expanding it.
How do you feel about fashion's direction in the last few years, especially men’s fashion?
More and more, I have been loving the direction that men’s fashion has taken in the last few years. High-waisted pants, short shorts, wide-leg trousers, and thinner fancy watches! I am a happy, happy man!
Art has the power to resonate with our deepest emotions and to connect us with others. In your opinion, what is the most essential aspect of art?
The most essential aspect of art to me is its subjectivity. While each artist/creator has a specific intent behind their work, once it’s out in the world, it is no longer just theirs. By sharing their creation, they have effectively invited others to take what they will from it; thus, it is no longer in their control. I love that a singular work means a million different things to a million different people, and not one opinion is more or less valuable than the next.
Images by Nick Deveau