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 Strike Back actor Sullivan Stapleton

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Posts : 1182
Join date : 2011-03-24

PostSubject: Strike Back actor Sullivan Stapleton   Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:44 am


‘Strike Back' star Sullivan Stapleton discusses Cinemax series and ‘Gangster Squad' movie
BY MELISSA HAYER mhayer@opubco.com
Published: September 5, 2011

Sullivan Stapleton made his presence known to American movie fans in the Academy Award-nominated 2010 Australian feature “Animal Kingdom.”

Stapleton played a drug dealer in a dysfunctional family made up of criminals and received an Australian Film Institute nomination for his performance.

Now, he's stealing the spotlight in Cinemax's first original prime-time scripted drama, “Strike Back,” an action-oriented show adapted from the 2010 British series of the same name, which airs at 9 p.m. Fridays on the network.

The Australian actor plays former U.S. Special Forces operative Damien Scott, who along with British Sgt. Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester), are members of a British top-secret counterterrorism intelligence agency known as Section 20.

Although Stapleton, 34, had not yet officially signed on the dotted line at the time of this phone interview, he also is scheduled to join the stellar cast of the upcoming feature film “Gangster Squad,” which includes Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin and Emma Stone. The movie will be directed by Ruben Fleischer.

Stapleton discussed “Strike Back” and “Gangster Squad” in the following Q&A session:

Q: What stood out to you about “Strike Back” that made you want to be a part of it?

A: It was a great script from the outset. It was an enjoyable read. And then it sounded like a lot of fun. I'm traveling the world and playing soldiers.

Q: How would you sum up Damien Scott?

A: Well, Damien Scott's an ex-Delta Force soldier and dishonorably discharged through no fault of his own. And Section 20 comes to find him and, you know, Stonebridge finds Scott cage fighting in Kuala Lumpur for cash.

They ask Scott to help them in their search for terrorist Latif. And you quickly find out that Scott does things a very different way to Stonebridge, who is quite the serious soldier.

Scott does things very differently. He's a bit of a naughty boy, mischievous. But, you know, he's very good at his job, but he tends to have more fun doing it, I think, than Stonebridge.

Q: What similarities, if there are any, do you share with Scott — or how are you most different?

A: Definitely have the same sense of — I try to have as much fun as possible.

And the major difference would be that when I get shot, they call cut, and, you know, it doesn't kill me. It doesn't hurt.

We definitely share a love of the nightlife I would say, Scott and myself. ... I think I'm as cheeky as Scott.

Q: Talk about the boot camp training you went through to prepare for the show.

A: Yeah. They put us through hell. We landed in Cape Town, South Africa.

Phil and I, we met in the auditions, but we met basically every morning for that six weeks before shooting.

And we met at 6 a.m., and we'd go for runs. I would run to the gym, we'd work out, we'd run home. We ate lots of chicken. And that was about it.

And then we did military training. We had some great military advisers taking us through tactical operations and clearing rooms and houses. And weapons training, which is a lot of fun. And then lots more gym and lots more running.

We'd get in an overnight observational exercise out in the bush of South Africa. That was a lot of fun until 5 in the morning when we were woken up by the military advisers and told to run uphill with full kit and weapons.

And, it was hard, but it was fun ... it was a great exercise. And, really, the whole cast sort of bonded throughout all of that period. And put us in good stead for the show, for the rest of the filming period.

Q: One of the best elements of the show is the camaraderie between Scott and Stonebridge. Describe their relationship.

A: Obviously, at the start when they first meet, there's sort of an apprehension between them. Stonebridge, I don't think really likes Scott's way of doing things, and vice versa.

But throughout the show, these boys, they get into some pretty hairy situations.

And, I think through those ordeals, and that pressure, and the fact that basically they're watching each other's backs and saving each other's lives throughout these missions and they become quite close, and a high level of respect and admiration comes through.

Which also reflects in real life for Phil and myself.

Q: So let's talk a bit about “Gangster Squad.” Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone — that's an exciting crew to work with.

A: Yeah, it's very exciting, very exciting. I keep pinching myself if this stuff is actually happening. But apparently it is.

Q: What is your role?

A: I'm playing Jack Whalen. He's a hit man. And it's, obviously, set in the '40s, it's a gangster film based around Mickey Cohen, and I play a hit man.

He's not really affiliated with any one particular mob of gangsters.

He's a bit of a lone wolf and, funnily enough, an ex-military man.

But he sounds like a stand-up guy. And, basically, he's a childhood friend of Ryan Gosling's character. He actually sounds quite menacing.

Q: What kind of preparation do you have in mind for this movie?

A: I'm just gonna get back into the gym. I must admit I've had quite a relaxing time since I've finished filming.

Get back into the gym and get back into the form that I was in.

And, obviously, start doing some research.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actor Sullivan Stapleton   Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:39 pm


Q&A: Sullivan Stapleton

September 27, 2012

Frances Atkinson

Australia's Sullivan Stapleton is on the rise with a role in new US-British series Strike Back.

IN STRIKE Back, Melbourne-born actor Sullivan Stapleton (The Hunter, Animal Kingdom and December Boys) plays Damien Scott, a former Delta Force commando who along with soldier Sergeant Stonebridge, played by Philip Winchester, make up Section 20, a covert intelligence team fighting terrorism around the globe.

How did you land the role?

I auditioned in LA and when I turned up I saw all these massive guys built like hard-core marines. I didn't think I had a chance. But they were interested. I flew back to Melbourne and a few hours later they rang and said they'd changed their minds. Then they called again to say they wanted me to go to London to test for more scenes. It was all pretty intense. You have to have a thick skin in this business.

Strike Back is an action-thriller. What sort of training did you do to prepare for the role?

A lot! We wanted it to feel as real as possible. It was punishing but at the end of the day we're running around playing soldiers and getting paid for it! We did a lot of weapons and fight training. We also asked that the writers and the directors do some of the training, too, just to help them get an idea about what we go through. We were all in full kit doing forced marches, running up and down hills in the blazing sun, cutting our way through dense bushland, going on overnight recon missions in the middle of the night. But it was great and that's where we really developed the rapport that you see onscreen.

It looks like you've been to some great locations?

We shot a lot of stuff in South Africa and Hungary, so it feels like it's got a big budget behind it. Durban stands in for Deli but the sets are amazingly detailed. In the opening scenes of episode one, we almost felt sorry for the set builders because they put all this work into it and Philip Winchester [Stonebridge] just came in and blew the shit out of it!

How can I say this … you disrobe in the first episode and end up fending off an attacker with nothing but a wet towel. How did you feel about those scenes?

It was very peculiar. Definitely one of the weirdest days of my career, but that's part of the job and it's part of who Damien Scott is. I'd done a lot of training by that stage and I almost had six pack, which I never thought I'd ever have, so I figured I might as well show it off.

He certainly likes the ladies …

Let's just say Scott tends to use these brief encounters with women to release a bit of tension. Maybe it's a coping mechanism because his life is constantly under threat. More of Scott's past gets revealed as the show goes on and it's all pretty interesting. He's got quite a dark past.

A lot of the storylines on Strike Back seem to reflect current events.

I love that. It makes it easier to immerse yourself into the role. I mean we do go over-the-top sometimes but that's where the fun comes into it. Hopefully, people will just enjoy it for what it is.

Was your part in Animal Kingdom a game changer for you?

Hands down. I promised the director, David Michod, that if the film was a success, I'd get a tattoo. I still haven't done it. I've always been told by any make-up department not to do it. I'll do it one day. Part of me is worried I won't stop at one.

Would you say you've got an addictive personality?

You might say that.

Do you ever lose yourself to a role?

Yep. I didn't realise until later that while I was doing Animal Kingdom, I turned into a real arsehole. I never thought I was that kind of an actor. Recently, I had a relationship and I'd have to say my work had an impact on it.

What it like to live in LA?

I love the weather, I love the opportunities. I don't hang out with actors, really. I love the tacos and the absolute nutters that you meet on the street. It's a crazy town. I've got some really good friends there and we just hang out and have fun and don't get caught up with all the bullshit.

Strike Back begins Sunday on Channel Seven at 8.30pm.
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