Interview with Brock Heasley – Director of The Shift

Interview with Brock Heasley – Director of The Shift November 28, 2023

You may recognize the name Brock Heasley from the recent publicity and general buzz around the new film, The Shift. Opening nationwide in theaters December 1st, The Shift is the latest release from Angel Studios, the powerful team behind the Summer Blockbuster Sound of Freedom and the international phenomenon, The Chosen. With a background in graphic design and several books under his belt, Heasley’s wrote and directed this film that is taking the faith world by storm.

“For me, I never even thought about getting into the film industry. I’m from California, but I might as well be on the other side of the world. As far as Hollywood goes, it’s just never been a world I had any connection to.”

As happens often in the industry, Heasley began his cinematic journey with a fascination for stories on the big screen and fond memories of going to films in theaters as a child.

“I have a deep love of movies. My earliest memories are going with my Dad and I’ve always studied how they were made just because I thought they were fascinating. Not because I thought I’d ever have a chance to make them.”

A Major Career Pivot

Having worked as a professional graphic designer for years, Heasley created a series of online comics called The SuperFogeys and also wrote a memoir about growing up in the midst of tragedy. At that point, his career path seemed fairly certain.

About 9 years ago, Heasley and his wife experienced a life-altering period when both of them lost their jobs within a 24 hours. After an intense time of prayer and introspection, Brock decided to do some research into film.

“The Shift started off as a $500 20 minute short film about a guy basically having a job interview with the Devil in a diner.” Heasley recalls. “The film turned out a lot better than people had thought. So I started formulating ideas for the feature film and I hooked up with Angel Studios and here we are.”

Here we are indeed. With the film opening nationwide in theaters December 1st, The Shift is setting up to be another surprise box office phenomenon with tickets selling out in some areas around the country. The buzz around the film is as strong as you’d expect with two powerhouse headliners cast in the lead roles. Kristoffer Polaha, of Hallmark fame, plays Kevin Garner, a man who meets a mysterious stranger and has his entire world turned upside down. Neal McDonough, well known from his hundreds of roles in television and film (usually playing the bad guy) plays The Benefactor, a chilling character who offers Kevin the job opportunity of a lifetime.

Image courtsey of Angel Studios

A Tale of Two Talents

Throughout the film, Kristoffer Polaha and Neal McDonough are polar opposites, circling each other again and again on the screen. It’s  a powerful energy that comes from this film – exploring things that many faith films don’t usually delve into.

When discussing the work of both actors, Heasely gets excited.  “Kris is one of those actor who gives everything regardless of the role or whatever it is. He’s just gonna give it everything he’s got.”

Recognized for being the romantic lead in many Hallmark films, Kristoffer Polaha is generally known for being the nice guy.  But The Shift stretched him in ways that his fans might be surprised to see.

“What he was able to do with The Shift was to bring every tool in his kit. It’s really a showcase for an actor like him.  He really gets to run the full gamut and even plays alternate versions of himself. So he’s playing against himself in scene. I just can’t say enough good about him.”

On the other side of the film is a man known for playing the opposite of the good guy. Neal McDonough, in his hundreds of roles, is usually known for being the guy everyone loves to hate.

“Neal has got playing the bad guy down to a T. Everyone has their favorite bad guy that he’s played. But I’ve never seen him play a bad guy like this. There is a vulnerability that he brought to this role that I think is gonna really take people by surprise. They aren’t expecting the Devil to be vulnerable. 

Neal brought a passion and dedication and something brand new to this role that honestly, he had first rejected. He’s never played the ultimate bad guy before and he didn’t want to. His wife talked him into it. So grateful to her for that.”

Putting two incredible talents on the screen playing against each other creates a bit of cinematic magic.

“Kris is over here matching Neal’s performance and energy and they’re both bringing just as much energy and dedication to everything. So them together in a room is just chemistry that’s off the charts.”


Final Thoughts

It is Heasley’s hope that audiences connect with The Shift in a manner that it doesn’t really leave them.

“I like movies. I want them to stay with you and prompt conversation and even days later, talk about the movie again.”

The Shift opens in theaters nationwide on December 1st. You can purchase tickets now at:

About Lori Twichell
Lori Twichell is a screenwriter, publicist and marketing director in the entertainment industry. You can read more about the author here.
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