I'm a very lucky guy that had a chance to make a film with some of the best American actors out there for my film POKER NIGHT - Ron Perlman, Giancarlo Esposito, Beau Mirchoff, Titus Welliver, Michael Eklund, Ron Eldard, Corey Large- and very excited that the film is coming out in theaters today, December 20 and is also available on iTunes and VOD.

I worked for years on crime shows for Discovery, and spent a lot of time working with cops, and for me - sitting and listening to their stories, that's where the idea came from for POKER NIGHT.

It's taken me 10 years to get the movie made, so it's been a long road to get here, and I hope people enjoy the film.

You can check out the trailer on iTunes here.

PROOF: http://imgur.com/DmX9Elq


EDIT: Thank you guys so much for stopping by and asking questions! Really appreciate that. Please take a second to check out Poker Night on iTunes and VOD - or stop by Arena Theater in Hollywood tonight for the premiere and say hi to me and Ron Perlman.

Comments: 68 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

tencandancer10 karma

what's your favourite film?

GregFrancis13 karma

I love Brazil by Terry Gilliam - Blade Runner by Ridley Scott and Raising Arizona by the Coen Brothers.

tencandancer4 karma

Brazil is a hell of a film. I really like The Zero Theorem even though it wasn't particularly well-received. I also like the other two but Brazil is special. Poker Night looks good; I'll have a look when it becomes available in Ireland.

GregFrancis4 karma

Appreciate that! Hope you like it - although it pales in comparison to those geniuses.... One day I aspire to make something on that level... but now I'm just starting out... :)

18andover8 karma

I read that Kim Jong-Un doesn't like poker. Are you worried about North Korea hacking your studio and making a bunch of threats to shut down the release of your movie?

GregFrancis10 karma

I can use the publicity - so if you have any connections... :)

dragonfly19937 karma

craziest behind the scenes story on poker night?

GregFrancis9 karma

It was amazing to shoot all the poker scenes with so many great actors... once we got them all around the table - all they wanted to do was talk... and do impressions... and tell jokes... and tell stories from other films... and the whole crew just gathered around like in the old days around the fire with the hunter gatherers... :) It was amazing. So much talent at that table - so many great actors.... it was a great learning experience....

GregFrancis6 karma

This isn't crazy - but there were so many great actors in the film - and I was really lucky to be able to get a chance to work with them. Ron Perlman, Giancarlo Esposito, Ron Eldard, Titus Welliver, Michael Eklund, Lochlyn Munro Beau Mirchoff- these guys are all amazing and they were so gracious and patient with me as we did the film. I can't thank them enough.

ZacharyJTaylor7 karma

Serious question, can I please work with you? or do you need any extra help on sets?

GregFrancis4 karma

Hey Zach - Are you in LA?

Badguysunite6 karma

Why are villains so much more interesting than most protagonists?

GregFrancis6 karma

Villains get to do interesting things that protagonists usually don't. They make the wrong choice - and a lot of times do what we would want to if we weren't bound by society and the fear of going to jail.... so while they can be interesting - they usually never have a very good ending....

a_spy4 karma

What is your favourite part of the film Titanic?

Do you think DiCaprio was hotter than Kate in the film?

GregFrancis7 karma

I was not that much of a fan of Titanic. I loved going with my friend Shawn though - he cried so much during the film - and my wife and I laughed so hard at this - that he had to move to another seat.

Kate was very pretty in the film - but its hard to ever outshine Leo.

SoltanPill3 karma

Are you a fan of/know Bill Hader/Kristen Wiig? Skeleton Twins was so good!

Did you watch Breaking Bad?

GregFrancis5 karma

I don't know Bill Hader or Kristen Wiig - but I am huge fans of theirs. They are both brilliant... I have yet to see Skeleton Twins - but have heard nothing but good about it.

I did watch breaking bad. All of it. Over and over.... :) And we were so excited to get Giancarlo Esposito in the film. He is amazing. I think he even signed a couple box cutters.... :)

SoltanPill1 karma

He is awesome!

GregFrancis4 karma

No kidding... this guy is unbelievable... and an amazing actor. I kept telling him I wanted to do a double dolly shot like he used to do with Spike Lee back in the day - but he didn't seem to interested in that. He was very calm and patient with me as a first time director - and gave me some great life advice as well.

juicejug3 karma

So who's the best poker player?

GregFrancis5 karma

Here's the sad truth - I think Perlman was the only guy who really knew how to play. Giancarlo a bit as well - but the rest of them didn't know how to play - and we didn't really showcase the game that much. The movie is more about the stories.

I, on the other hand, love poker - but am not the greatest player. My son consistently takes my cash.

AmblinFan263 karma

Aside from the Discovery crime shows, were they any horror movie influences that inspired Poker Night?

GregFrancis1 karma

We spent a lot of time focusing on Se7en and Fincher's Dragon Tattoo.... Brandon Cox - the DP and I - went shot by shot on those films. We also watched a lot of other films that weren't horror.... like Magnolia - and Amelie.... Silence of the Lambs was a big influence in how to talk about things and not show so much....

Chilero2 karma

This looks like an awesome movie in the making. Would the experience be most similar to Se7en, Memento, or Saw?

GregFrancis6 karma

Hey Chilero! Thats a great question! Memento is in my top 5 movies - and one that I constantly rewatch. It so incredible to watch and film and just not know what is coming. Thats what I love about that movie. Se7en is also such an incredible story... both were huge inspirations to Poker Night.

Saw came out after Poker Night was written.... but way before we made the film... :)

infinitehallway2 karma

Do you need a PA on your next project?

GregFrancis1 karma

PA's are always needed. My first film jobs were as a PA... its the best way to learn what you like and what you don't like in the business and get a first hand view of how everything works...

SuperKaijuGoGoRoboGo2 karma

Hey there Greg! What movie did you feel was the most fun to direct?

GregFrancis3 karma

I have only directed one movie - Poker Night - so that was pretty cool.... but if I could direct any film -there is a whole list I wish I could have directed... :)

daymanuahh2 karma

Hi Greg How awesome was Ron Perlman? I imagine him being the coolest guy in the room wherever he goes.

GregFrancis3 karma

Hi daymanuahh.....

Ron Perlman is pretty much the coolest guy in any room. He is so funny and gracious. And my goodness - he is such an underrated actor. He just brought so much more to the role that wasn't on the page. He was so great to work with - an amazing collaborator - and someone who has really become a good friend. I love the guy - and would love to work with him on every project I do if I could... :)

LJSB1 karma

Hey Greg, congratulation on the movie. I enjoy it and it has caught my attention through the whole movie. However, I am a bit confused about a scene. When Amy’s dad walked into the room with the mask on and Jeter start shooting at him, Amy start screaming “no don’t shoot” and “stop it”. That lead me to think that Amy was involved with Shawn Allen. Can you explain why amy is reacting that way?

GregFrancis1 karma

This is definitely a SPOILER:

She recognized his shoes. Her dads shoes. And saw the set up before Jeter did. But she couldn't stop it.

TheMoviegoer19681 karma

After Poker Night, what was your biggest lesson as a writer and as a director?

GregFrancis2 karma

That its hard to do both. I had so much to do as a director on the film - that I didn't have time to keep up with the rewrites that were happening at the same time.... but I learned that its a very difficult job. Not digging ditches difficult.... but its hard mentally and physically.... to go for 16-18 hours a day for 6-8 weeks... you get numb. So its like running a marathon. But its the greatest - most lucky marathon ever - and I never forgot that either.

Poker Night was a 10 year process... so it was a long time to get from the beginning to the finish line.

JPil19991 karma

Wha has been the most interesting story you have come across?

GregFrancis4 karma

In terms of what? Cop stories? So many... :) I've done crime TV for 20 years... I've seen and heard it all. While there are so many bad stories out right now about police - I've been really blessed and lucky to have worked with so many great officers who went out of their way to help people and tireless work to put the right people in jail. And Poker Night was a lot about those guys...

OlivieroVidal1 karma

What was more fun, writing the film or directing it? Or was it the 10 years of trying to get someone to finance it?

GregFrancis2 karma

I love directing. Its my favorite... its like playing on a really great basketball team - you are collaborating with so many great crew members - from my DP Brandon Cox, to the Producer Corey Large, to the amazing cast and everyone else - its fun.

Writing is hard. Always.

And yes - we had the film ready to go before cameras many times before it finally happened - but thanks to Corey Large - we finally got everything in place and got to make it.

TheChlorinator1 karma

What made you choose Beau Mirchoff to be cast among much bigger names such as Ron Pearlman and Giancarlo Esposito?

GregFrancis2 karma

We needed someone who was the right age - and was a great actor. Beau could easily be written off - cause he's so pretty - but this kid is such a good actor. He kills himself to do his best. He went above and beyond at every turn... everything that happens to his character in the movie - happened to him when we filmed.... we even glued him to the wall.... I thought he did a great job in the film and felt just like the character would in that situation - a new kid amongst the old wise men.

Beau is also just a great guy. I was happy to have him...

sfinktasezwa1 karma

I recently graduated and have had a hard time making enough to support myself jumping from gig to gig. Did you experience financial hardships at the beginning of you career? What advice can you give to an aspiring director?

GregFrancis5 karma

Dude... its tough.... There was a lot of mac and cheese in the beginning... and taco bell was a celebration meal.... but like anything it takes time. I directed a film in school that won a bunch of awards - but no one wanted to hire me. I started PA'ing - then gripping - then art directing -and two years later - I finally got a break... it takes time and networking.... but here's the thing - don't give up. it took 10 years from script to screen for this one... and I always thought we'd get it here eventually. Now we did. Hang in there brother.

thegiantanteater10001 karma

Hi Greg! I have three questions for you.

  1. What is your favorite part of the creation process for a project?

  2. What is the best memory you have while working on a project?

  3. What do you do when you aren't actively working on a film?


P.S. I love your work.

GregFrancis1 karma

  1. I love being on set. Working with other creatives is the greatest joy I have in my life. Collaboration is the most amazing thing. I stand in awe of the people I work with and love taking my silly ideas and seeing them make things work and be better than I envisioned them.

  2. I've shot a lot of projects in China. I grew up in Taiwan as a missionary kid - and speak pretty good Mandarin - so I have done a bunch of work in China. There was a drama series I shot in Beijing for CCTV back in the day that - while it almost killed me - was one of the craziest, most surreal experiences. That was a great memory.

Also love shooting the poker table scenes for this movie - cause there were so many great actors all gathered together hanging out and I love them all.

  1. When not working on a film -I do TV series. They are really fun and they pay my rent.

PS - thank you... :)

( I am fascinated that even when I try to edit this post - I can not make that second "1" a "3")

JimboYokimbo1 karma

What's your favorite color? Mine's Toupe.

GregFrancis2 karma

Mine is blue.

neverbeaten1 karma

I live in Warsaw, Indiana. Poker Night does not look like Warsaw. Why did you choose to describe the setting in Warsaw? Was it because of that short scene in The Killers?

GregFrancis2 karma

I lived in Winona Lake - right next to Warsaw - and for a time - I tried to make the movie in Indiana. I love Warsaw and it was a great setting for a small time cop film. Once financing for the film was secured - our producer was from Canada - and we relocated the film there because of his connections. Where we shot - Victoria BC - was beautiful - but I still loved the idea of Warsaw and the small town so we kept the movie setting in Indiana.

coolwhip10001 karma

"Poker Night"? Thought it would be like Rounders 2, but it was not.

GregFrancis1 karma

It was not. Sorry. I love Rounders - but this was not a Rounders sequel.

Bed_Invader1 karma

Have you thought of doing a cross-over with GLaDOS, Claptrap, Ash Williams, Brock Samson and a mute?

GregFrancis1 karma

I have not - but the idea does have its merits....

Freesolo1 karma

First of all I want to say congratulations on making a Poker movie which from looking at reviews seems to be worth watching, I know the poker movie scene is A almost impossible nut to crack. And i love Poker so thanks cant wait to see it. My Question.....Whats the largest amount of cash you have lost in a poker hand in real life?

GregFrancis2 karma

Hey man...

Thanks for stopping by and asking a question. I grew up pretty poor as a missionary kid in Taiwan - and as a result - I am really pretty tight with money. When it comes to gambling with real money - I'm even tighter - which also explains why I'm not the best player. When its fake money though - I am reckless... :)

mohamed-saber-3 karma

hi hru r u good sorry i'm a lil late i had some personal probs , so are u happy with what have u accomplished so far in ur life and happy with d choices u've made over d years ?? or if u had d chance 2 chage 1 thing in d past or d present what would it b ?? and who's d person u'd love 2 work with in d future ?? and thank u for giving some of ur precious time

GregFrancis3 karma

Wow... this is a philosophical question.... While I would say that I would have always liked to have more time to make more movies - what kind of films would they be if they didn't come from the mistakes and failures and missteps that I've made that shaped me into the person I am today. I can look at Poker Night as see every flaw and know that the person I am today would have made an even better film - but the film I made 2 years ago is way better than the film I would have made if I had to chance to do Poker Night 2 years before that. Life is that process of screwing up and learning from your mistakes and God giving you the grace to keep moving.

If I could change one thing in the past - I wish I would have invested in apple a long time ago.

I really wanted Luis Guzman to be in the film - and I'd love a chance to work with him in the future.