Brittany Snow costars in the film, out Aug. 25

By Clark Collis
August 24, 2017 at 07:49 PM EDT

In the new film Bushwick (out on VOD and Digital HD), military forces from Texas and other southern states invade New York as part of a secessionist plot. Star Dave Bautista admits the premise sounds markedly less preposterous now than when he shot the film on the streets of Brooklyn with Cooties directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott.

“It just seemed so far-fetched, something I couldn’t imagine would actually happen,” says the Guardians of the Galaxy actor. “Now, it doesn’t seem that far-fetched to me, the country is just so divided, man, divided to extremes, and it’s actually manifesting itself in physical violence.”

The wrestler-turned-actor plays a veteran named Stupe who attempts to escape the war zone with a stranger named Lucy, portrayed by Brittany Snow from the Pitch Perfect films.

“I love her, man,” says Bautista of his costar. “She’s a sweet girl and she’s really super easy to work with. Like myself, she was very self-conscious, maybe because it was a different type of performance for her, which put me more at ease, because I knew it wasn’t just me. We were in this together. It really was a challenge for both of us.”

A particularly difficult aspect of the production? The directors shot extremely long takes, in an attempt to make much of the film look like one long shot.

“When I found out they were going to do these long takes, I was at first terrified but I really wanted the challenge,” says Bautista. “I have a huge chip on my shoulder about proving that I can act.”

Did he ever think during the shoot, Why did I agree to do this?

“Yeah, every day!” says the actor. “It would be easier for me to say the moments that I’m not thinking that.”

Despite the film’s potentially controversial premise, Bautista says the real message of Bushwick is one which folks of every political stripe should be able to appreciate.

“The directors were very adamant that good things don’t come from war, good things don’t come from violence,” says the actor. “Bad things come from violence — and they wanted to tell that story. Hopefully, at the end of the day, that’s the positive message that people will get.”

Watch the trailer for Bushwick, above.

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