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Cheney grad goes 'Rogue' in Hollywood


Last updated 8/30/2018 at 9:38am

Mike DeCesare

Cast and producers of the "Rogue Warfare" film trilogy pictured above are from left to right Andrew DeCesare, Linnea Wilson, Stephen Lang, Mike Gunther and Michael Day.

One of Hollywood's more ambitious projects is headed for theaters soon, and it's coming with a local connection.

Cheney High School graduate Andrew DeCesare has been busy working on the upcoming "Rogue Warfare Trilogy," with all three films being shot in just 45 days - 15 days per film. That amounts to about 10-15 pages of script per day, DeCesare said, something made easier to accomplish by the fact that all aspects of the films from script work to final production has been kept in house at 5150 Action.

"It was designed to shoot all in California," he added.

5150 action was formed in 2010 by Mike Gunther, who directed 2010's "Beatdown" and 2011's "Setup," as well as being second unit director for two Transformers films, 2017's "The Last Knight" and 2014's "Age of Extinction," Star Trek Beyond" (2016) and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows" (2016).

DeCesare has been busy himself since graduating from Cheney in 2004 and from Washington State University with degrees in broadcast production and theater in 2008. Six months after landing in Los Angeles, he snagged a production job on the set of James Cameron's "Avatar," a move that would prove beneficial for "Rogue."

From there, DeCesare moved on to work with Michael Bay on the third and fourth Transformer movies ("Dark of the Moon" and "Age of Extinction"), Christopher Nolan's Batman film "Dark Knight Rises" and the Katy Perry documentary "Katy Perry: Part of Me." He hooked up with 5150 after working with Gunther on "Age of Extinction" and being offered the position of vice president of creative development.

DeCesare is a producer of all three "Rogue" movies with Gunther, 5150 vice president of finance Mike Day, vice president Kyle Woods and Deborah P. Gutierrez. He is also the writer of "Rogue Warrior 2: The Hunt."

According to a story on the website FanFest, the trilogy centers around an international special forces team composed of the best soldiers from the United States, United Kingdom, France, China and Russia and their altercations with an ISIS-type terrorist group. But rather than a standard action-film terrorist organization, DeCesare said "Rogue" takes a deeper look into why the organization exists and why they are pursuing terrorism in their cause.

"What it's like on their end," DeCesare said. "What it's like to be in an occupied country. There are some candid conversations between (terrorists and team members) about the facts of why they are doing what they are doing."

DeCesare said they purposely left the element of religion out of the films, focusing more on a conflict between being perceived as a terrorist by one side, and freedom fighter on the other.

"We made it solider vs. soldier," he added.

The film has star power in actor Will Yun Lee, one of the leads on the TV series "The Good Doctor." Lee has agreed to star in the trilogy.

Also appearing will be veteran actor Stephen Lang, who DeCesare developed a personal relationship with while they both worked on "Avatar."

"I picked him up at the airport and took him to his hotel," DeCesare said. "When we got there, his room wasn't ready. I called the office asking what I should do, and they said 'Hang out with him. Take him to lunch.'"

DeCesare ended up spending the rest of the day with Lang, and developed a friendship that led to the veteran actor following the Cheney grads' career over the next 10 years. When DeCesare needed a favor with "Rogue," Lang lent his name and acting abilities to the productions.

"Between him and Will (Yun Lee), it amounted to about $2.9 million in presales," DeCesare said, adding the budget for the entire trilogy was $3.5 million.

The production has also benefited from other members of the DeCesare clan, with father Mike working on the set as a stills photographer and sister Gina in the cast as Officer Marino.

"Rogue Warfare," is scheduled for a March 2019 release, with "The Hunt" following in May and the final film "Death of a Nation" scheduled for July. DeCesare said they aren't envisioning a large distribution for the series, hoping to get it into 10-15 markets and around 500 theaters - of which the Spokane area is high on the list.

John McCallum can be reached at


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