Steven Bauer is very angry.
The actor's voice shatters the silence at a local garage as he rebukes Danay Garcia, his co-star in "From Mexico With Love," a feature now filming in San Antonio.
The crew holds its collective breath until director Jimmy Nickerson yells the magic word: "Cut!" Then everyone disperses to prepare for the next scene. Five days into a six-week shoot that will go until the beginning of November, the production of the boxing drama is off and running.
"The first few days of a movie, usually you've got to get going," says producer Daniel Toll, president of Los Angeles-based Cinamour Entertainment. "It's tough to get started, but today has been a really good day, and our actors are so fantastic. We really, really lucked out with the actors."
Along with Bauer and Garcia, the cast includes San Antonio native Bruce McGill and Kuno Becker. Becker stars as Hector Villa, a young Mexican fighter who crosses the border into the United States illegally to escape the wrath of a crime boss. McGill plays Billy Jenks, a washed-up trainer who takes Hector under his wing.
Toll and Hartford decided to shoot the film in San Antonio after scouting locations in New Mexico, Louisiana, Arizona and Utah.
The Greater San Antonio Film Council, a nonprofit organization created to attract film projects to the area, helped convince the movie's producers the city had what they were looking for.
"They came over and spent a couple of days here, and we just showed them around, and they said, 'I like it, but what about locations?'" says Al Frakes, chairman of the council's board and president and CEO of SAF Studios. "They were looking for a Mexican village, they were looking for a border town, a Mexican town. And I said, 'You haven't seen San Antonio yet.' So I brought the director back in, and they spent roughly a day and a half here, and we found nine of the 10 locations."
Though several features have been shot here recently on digital video, "From Mexico With Love" is the first 35mm film shot primarily in San Antonio in about two years, says city film marketing manager Drew Mayer-Oakes.
"A 35mm crew definitely will be a larger crew, more equipment and more people usually involved, and of course, there's a greater economic impact on those larger productions," says Mayer-Oakes. "We usually estimate they'll spend about 50 percent of their budget during production on location, and on a low-budget production like this, it's probably more like 75 percent."
Hartford puts the movie's budget between $3 million and $5 million.
"For this movie, as Jimmy said, 'You give me $50 million and I couldn't make a better movie,' because this movie is about the boxing and the story," he says.
And Nickerson should know from boxing movies. As a fight coordinator, his credits include "Raging Bull," "Rocky" and "Fight Club." Like Toll, Nickerson is high on the movie's cast, particularly Becker, who previously won over audiences as an aspiring soccer star in "Goal!"
"You've got to have an actor first before a boxer. That's more important to me, and he's the best for the role," Nickerson says. "I've worked with a lot of great actors in the past. I think this young man will be huge some day — really, really big time."