Exclusive Interview: Eric West Talks Action Thriller ‘Fortress’, Staying Motivated and His Cultural Highlights of 2021

We caught up with Eric West who is currently starring alongside Bruce Willis in freshly released action thriller Fortress. Eric shared his thoughts on working on the feature as well tips on staying motivated and giving us an insight into his cultural highlights of the year.

You can connect with Eric on Instagram, Twitter and his official site. For details on Fortress check here.

Can you tell us a little bit about Fortress and how you came to be involved in the project?

Our amazing director James Cullen Bressack called me up one Sunday morning, said do you want to come to Puerto Rico and shoot a movie with Bruce Willis, I said of course! A legend. Don’t have to ask me twice. 

Fortress is a really interesting cyber-thriller, Bruce’s character Robert lives in a secret resort deep in the woods, you can only imagine, a lot of crazy stuff happens. 

What was it about your role in Fortress that appealed to you as an actor?

This is my first time shooting an action movie. I was excited to do my own stunts, which left me with a few scars coming back from Puerto Rico (laughs). People haven’t seen me like this before. That’s what I’m most excited about. 

How does it feel to working in a feature with the legendary Bruce Willis and other talents including Shannon Doherty, Chad Michael Murray and Jesse Metcalfe?

Bruce has had such an amazing career, every actor has been inspired by him at some point. To get the call to be in a movie with him was such a great moment for me. Extremely grateful to James, Randall Emmett, Alan Horsnail for seeing something in me. Chad is such an amazing human and a talent in the movie. Shannon kills it and working with Jesse was great. He doesn’t get enough credit. He really wants every take to be great. 

Is there a particular scene or moment from the film that was most enjoyable to shoot?

Oh yeah, the fight scene with Ser’Darius Blain’s character Ulysses. It was the most challenging for me, because this was my first action movie, my first time doing my own stunts, fighting someone 6’ 3” isn’t an easy job (laughs). That was enjoyable because it was a challenge but I was bleeding and bruised after (laugh). 

Can you tell me a little about some of the projects that you have coming up in 2022?

There are so many more things coming up. I am shocked that I was able to work as much because of the pandemic, but I am also extremely grateful to have more projects lined up for 2022. I just hope we can get this pandemic under control so we can really begin to enjoy life again. 

Obviously it’s no secret how cutthroat and tough an industry Hollywood is. Do you have any secrets or tips that keep you motivated?

Such a deep question. I was just talking to my best friend about how cutthroat people can be and how it’s necessary to take the high road at ALL times. The key is to really stay focused on yourself and your goals, and to not let people take you off YOUR track. There is room for everyone to win, and know that you’re only competing with yourself, no one else. Your road is your road. If someone is trying to block the door you’re trying to enter, go ahead and knock the door down. What is meant for you will be. You just can’t give up because someone wants you to. 

You recently did a little bit of promotion for the film on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live! Are you a fan of any particular shows on the network?

I did, I love Andy Cohen. He’s the man. I just watched The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after hearing all of the drama and wow, I feel like I needed a drink after watching it and I don’t drink (laughs). Too much drama for me. 

As we approach the end of 2021, what have been the films that you have been your personal highlights as an audience member?

I really enjoyed “Licorice Pizza”. “Passing” was pretty amazing. “Dune,” “Summer of Soul”. Netflix had a lot of amazing shows this year. “Squid Game”, “Clickbait” and “You” are amazing. Shalita Grant’s character in “You” cracks me up. I’m caught up in the new season of “Dexter: New Blood”. It’s amazing. I want to beg Marcos Siega for a role. I’ll work for free! I also think the new “Gossip Girl” on HBO Max is pretty solid. I think Joshua Safran does a good job on it and Amos Mac is killing it with the writing. I’m also re-watching “Prison Break”. That was an amazing show. I’d love to work with Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell one day.

What about your music highlights of 2021? Who are the artists that have been getting you through the year?

Not because I executive produced it and co-wrote it, I am really proud of the Samuel Mancini mixtape “Feed the Fire”. Still can’t believe it hit the Top 40 of the Billboard albums chart this year. We worked so long on it. 

Lately I’ve been listening to Alexi Murdoch, Robbie Williams and Alejandro Sanz a lot! My most listened to albums lately are probably Elvis Costello’s “Armed Forces,” “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding?” is such an amazing song. I’ve revisited Gabrielle’s “Play to Win” album, Electric Guest’s “KIN” is so dope! It’s probably the album I listened to the most during the pandemic. Janet Jackson’s “janet.” the album has been back in rotation too, the original queen of pop. I also loved the new Third Eye Blind single “Box of Bones” and Tashi’s single “Shut Up” and for a fun throwback “everyotherday” from the 90s by or-n-more is the vibe!