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 Strike Back actors

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PostSubject: Strike Back actors   Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:58 pm

http://www.omantribune.com/index.php?page=leisure_details&id=5536&heading=Special%20Features%20in%20Details

Stapleton in action
Action packed ‘Strike Back’ has the 34-year-old actor playing a former US Special Forces operative, writes Nancy Mills

HOLLYWOOD keeps turning to Australia when they need men of action,” Sullivan Stapleton says. “I guess it’s because we’re all convicts over there. We’re all bad boys.”

In Strike Back, the new action series on Cinemax, the 34-year-old Stapleton plays a former US Special Forces operative who teams with a British military unit to hunt an international terrorist group. The 10-episode series, which also features Camelot’s Philip Winchester, is scheduled to premiere on Aug. 12.

“I’m having lots of fun running around shooting guns,” Stapleton says in a strong Aussie accent, unlike the American accent he uses on the show. “I’m running away from explosions and riding in choppers. There is an element of danger to it, but that makes work all the more fun.”

Stapleton is speaking by telephone from Hungary, where he is shooting the series’ 10th episode. It’s his first Hollywood project. Last year action producer Joel Silver cast him in the pilot for a Las Vegas cop series, The Odds, but the show did not go to series. In October he will return to Hollywood for more meetings and a possible film.

Does Stapleton see himself following in the bad-boy footsteps of Russell Crowe and Mel Gibson, Aussies who made their name in action and went on to establish themselves as major stars – and also as tabloid mainstays for their temperamental outbursts?

“I want to be in the Hugh Jackman category,” Stapleton says, laughing, “although it depends on what time of the night you’re talking about. At 3 in the morning I could be more in the Russell Crowe area.

“I can be daring and foolhardy,” the actor admits. “If there’s trouble, I find it very hard to just let it slide. I’m not about starting fights, but I’ll get in and help. But I’m definitely not jumping in just for the fun of it. A couple incidents happened that might have scared producers and executives.

“In that sense I’m a little bit like my Strike Back character,” he says. “I don’t think about things, I just do them. But I’m not a hothead.”

“A couple incidents” like what?

“In Africa there was this poor, blind guy begging for cash,” Stapleton says. “He was outside a restaurant, and security at the restaurant got quite heavy with him. I jumped in between them. People said it could have been dangerous, but I don’t care.

“They get worried about what happens off set,” the actor says. “Yet on set they’ll put us 10 meters from a bomb, whereas the rest of the crew are 100 metres away. Stuff blows up. Running from sunup to sundown, I might pull a groin or a hamstring – but heaven forbid I might step in and help someone who genuinely needs help.”

So far, though, speaking his mind has helped Stapleton’s career. He credits a verbal exchange with a waiter for helping him get a leading role in Animal Kingdom (2010), an Australian crime-family drama by writer/director David Michod that received high acclaim in the United States. Stapleton played hotheaded brother Craig Cody.

“Dave saw hints of Craig in me,” Stapleton says, not quite stifling a laugh. “During casting we all went for lunch. A casting agent ordered a salmon salad, and it was off. I smelled it as it went past me. I said, “Don’t eat that,’ but she didn’t want to make a fuss.

“So I grabbed the waiter and said, ‘Can you take this back? It’s off,”‘ he continues. “He tried to argue with me, and I said very nicely, ‘Just change it.’

“He took it back to the chef, and came back and quickly apologised.”

Michod witnessed the exchange, and decided that Stapleton had enough edge to play Craig.

“Thank goodness for that lunch,” Stapleton says. “But I’m not about making a fuss for no reason.”

Muscular and standing more than 6 feet tall, the Melbourne-born actor is hard to ignore. Even when he’s not playing a sociopath – Daniel Radcliffe fans may remember Stapleton from December Boys (2007), a small Australian film in which he played a father figure to a group of young orphans, Radcliffe among them – he makes an impression.

“I’m a nice boy,” he says, “and I’ve played a lot of lovely boys. But I’ve also played a lot of criminals. In (the upcoming) The Hunter I play a Tasmanian logger. He’s not a very nice guy. He and Willem Dafoe’s character basically have a bit of an altercation.”

To prepare for his role in Strike Back, Stapleton went to boot camp.

“We spent weeks running and doing weapons and tactical-operations training,” he recalls. “I remember running up hills at 4am in full combat fatigues. It was quite intense, but very useful. I found out I could actually get a six-pack, which is nice at my age.”

He also got a taste of his father’s early life.

“I come from a family of soldiers,” Stapleton says. “My dad served in Vietnam and my grandfather in World War II. It’s much more fun playing a solder than actually being one. You’re firing blanks, and you don’t get shot for real or lose your mates.”

Although Stapleton’s character in Strike Back is a ladies’ man, his most challenging scenes have been the action sequences.

“There’s a fight scene in the first episode that required me to stand up and fight for seven hours nonstop,” he says. “I was actually taking hits from a giant. As strong as I am, I still got a few knocks and bumps.”

Stapleton didn’t start out wanting to be an actor. He blames his mother and his aunt for how things have worked out.

“My auntie put my cousins into a child agency when they were young,” he explains, “and the agency asked if she knew any blond-haired kids. She rang Mum, and she took my sister, Jacinta, and me down there. I played cricket in the background of a commercial and got some good pocket money for it.”

Stapleton made more commercials, but had no real ambition to be an actor. Then, when he was 14, a director asked him to audition for a short film. He got the part.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:30 pm

http://www.thefutoncritic.com/interviews/2011/08/12/interview-strike-back-co-executive-producer-frank-spotnitz-507102/20110812_strikeback/

[08/12/11 - 12:15 AM]
Interview: "Strike Back" Co-Executive Producer Frank Spotnitz
By Jim Halterman (TFC)

With the ever-changing world of American television getting more complicated and competitive, one prolific American writer/producer has up and moved across the pond and is now producing television in the United Kingdom where things are done quite a bit differently than in the States. Frank Spotnitz, best known for his work during the majority of the television run of "The X-Files" and co-writer of the two big-screen versions, saw the differences in the way the two countries produce television to be so enticing that he's been living in London since last summer with his family.

First, he helped shape Cinemax's new series "Strike Back," premiering tonight, and currently he is busy at work writing the spy thriller series "Morton" (working title) that was originally going to star his "X-Files" lead Gillian Anderson. While Spotnitz is definitely not turning his back on American television, he welcomed our Jim Halterman into his London home earlier this year and discussed what was appealing about the move to the U.K., why Anderson is no longer involved with "Morton" and why some shows translate well between the U.K. and U.S. and others fail miserably.

Jim Halterman: What brought you to the U.K. for television work?

Frank Spotnitz: The long answer is that 8 years ago I met Stephen Garrett and Jane Featherstone, who are the heads of Kudos Film and Television, one of the most successful independent producers in the U.K.. They do 'Spooks,' 'Life on Mars' and 'Ashes to Ashes' and a lot of big TV series here and I was very impressed with them and liked them. They said 'Would you ever come work in the U.K.?' I had just finished 'The X-Files' and didn't know what I was going to do and I said, 'I'd love to but I don't know when or why I would do it.' I love Europe and had lived in Paris in my 20s so the idea of going back was very appealing. The years passed and it was never the right opportunity and then two years ago, I was talking with Gillian Anderson who was visiting Los Angeles from London and she said 'Would you ever consider doing a show?' I started talking to her about doing a spy series and then the first call I made was to Stephen Garrett because we had never lost touch. 'You know the idea of doing a show in England? I think I may finally have it.' That's how it got started.

JH: What were you not getting from American television anymore?

FS: The TV business is changing so much. All the pressure in America is do it for less. Take less money, have fewer writers and have smaller budgets; all the pressure is downward. If you come to the U.K. and you produce television... I own this show with Stephen and Jane. I'm a partner in the show so the upside is bigger. You can come here and have advantages that you couldn't have at home. The opportunity to work with them, the chance to live in Europe and to be an owner in my show was irresistible.

JH: From a creative standpoint, what are the advantages of working in U.K. television?

FS: It's very different and I didn't appreciate how different it was until I got here. It's a little disorienting, actually, because I was so used to Hollywood - it's the only world I knew and I was trained in that system - and the show I'm doing with Stephen and Jane is for the BBC. The BBC cares about ratings, obviously, and they want people to watch their shows but I think they care at least as much about quality and that's an incredible thing how prized quality is in this process. There's less fear, I would say. There's fear everywhere so I don't want to make it sound like this is all roses and paradise. It's not paradise anywhere but the atmosphere is so brutal right now in American television especially with the executives who are really driven by fear because it's a shrinking business and looking over their shoulder and seeing their decisions being questioned... it's just not as desperate here. That's just the sense you get in working with people. They're going to do the best they can but it's not this little life or death feel that you get these days in Hollywood.

JH: You were also helping out on another U.K. show, 'Strike Back,' right? How'd that come about?

FS: 'Strike Back' just kind of fell into my lap. I wasn't looking and then there it was. It started out as a series for Sky but now it's season 2 and it's been picked up by Cinemax so it's a British/American series. Part of why they asked me to come onboard is they needed to reimagine the show because they needed it to work without Richard Armitage, who had been the lead in season one but left the show to do 'The Hobbit' in New Zealand. So they needed two leads - a British lead and an American lead - and I came in and it was great. We had this great format, this great world of 'Strike Back' and then we had to imagine who were the new characters who were going to drive the show in the second year. It's been a lot of fun.

JH: The model in the U.K. is fewer series episodes. For example, last year's popular cop drama 'Luther' [starring Idris Elba originally] only ran for six episodes. In America you need to have 5-7 years imagined when you go in to pitch the idea. Quite a difference, right?

FS: This is the funny thing coming in as an outsider. A lot of British people bemoan the state of their television industry and say 'We don't have great series like you do in America! They're amazing and they're so long' but British television is not in that business. They're not in the business of doing a series of 13 or 22 hours a year. For them, a long order is 10 and, yeah, as you were saying, most series are 2, 4 or 6 hours and 6 hours is a long run. Then if it does well, then they decide, 'Yeah, we'll do another one.' With this series it's very much with the intention, even though it's a shorter run by American standards, of creating a series that returns every year and has a number of episodes.

JH: 'Morton' is more spy thriller than sci-fi or supernatural so it's not what you're known for. Was it your intention to get away from those genres?

FS: Well, I've written a number of different genres in the years since 'X-Files' has gone off and not everything has been made. It's easiest for me to get something produced that's in the supernatural genre because that's how I've been typecast and, honestly, I don't mind being typecast that way because I love that kind of storytelling. But 'X-Files' was not just supernatural. It was also a suspense thriller and murder mystery and romantic drama and all these different things so I feel very comfortable in this sort of paranoid, suspense thriller world.

JH: Are there things you're finding in your writing of 'Morton' that maybe you couldn't do if you were writing it in America?

FS: I anticipate that this will be like 'Strike Back' as an American/British series so the exact same hour you're watching here will also be the same in America. In another way I will say it is different because what the BBC is looking for is so different than what most broadcasters in America start out with. But at the end of the day I think it's going to be not quite like anything the BBC has done before either so it will be a hybrid.

JH: That first chat with Gillian Anderson started all this but she's no longer a part of the project. What happened?

FS: I think the reason is that it just took longer than either of us expected and by the time we had our yes she couldn't do it anymore.

JH: Have you had to reconfigure anything with Gillian no longer involved since you wrote the part for her?

FS: There will inevitably be differences but we don't start filming until the fall. I will have written all the scripts before we start to film! Can you imagine that in America? It's months away!

JH: There are some U.S. shows that are real popular in the U.K. like 'Glee' but why do you think some shows translate well and others don't?

FS: I'm far from an expert on this but I would say anecdotally that comedies are a tougher thing in either direction. It's such a culture-specific thing and sometimes it works but more often that not it doesn't work. In terms of drama, the 'CSI's, 'House,' 'The Mentalist'... shows like that seem to travel all over the world. Shows that are excellent like 'The Sopranos,' 'The Wire' and 'Mad Men' are admired all over the world but they don't get the big numbers. We're sort of forgetting this now that cable is so popular but the networks are still the big tent of TV viewership. You can forget that in America if you watch cable all the time but around the world it's still network dramas like 'Glee' and 'House' and 'CSI' that are the big, big, big sellers.

JH: How has the web changed your job as a writer/producer? Do you think about that in your process?

FS: I think economically it's challenging because the web has taken away a huge amount of the viewing audience for television but I think it's an incredibly exciting and an amazing opportunity. I thought about the Internet in the creation of ['Morton'] and how to use the Internet not as a marketing tool but as another layer of the series so I think it's really exciting and obviously allows you to be very, very close to your audience. I have a website [www.BigLight.com] where I'm in constant contact with fans so you'll see when this series in the air that there's a huge online component to the show; it's built into the design of the show.

"Karaoke Battle U.S.A." airs Fridays at 10:00/9:00c on Cinemax.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:37 am

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2027713/Strike-Back-Amanda-Mealings-new-role-didnt-mean-play-hero-mugged.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Former Holby City star Amanda Mealing's new role: 'I was mugged but I wasn't going to play a hero for real'

By Vicki Power

Last updated at 10:29 AM on 19th August 2011

Actress Amanda Mealing plays a tough commando in charge of a crack team of SAS soldiers in the new series of Strike Back.

She is meant to be smart, cool and combative — as practised with a gun as she is with her physical fighting skills.

So the muggers who surrounded the actress at a cash dispenser and demanded that she hand over her card could have found they had more than met their match.
'A role I couldn't resist': Amanda Mealing as Colonel Eleanor Grant

'A role I couldn't resist': Amanda Mealing as Colonel Eleanor Grant

But Amanda, 44, knows there is a world of difference between on-screen action and the potentially fatal consequences of the real thing, so she gave them her card without resistance.

‘I didn’t know if they were armed with guns and knives, but I was in danger of finding out if I’d tried to argue with them,’ she says. ‘It’s what the police always advise: Don’t try to be a hero.’

The incident happened in Cape Town when Amanda — who spent six years in BBC1 medical drama Holby City as cardiothoracic consultant Connie Beauchamp — was filming Strike Back.

‘I’d pulled into a petrol station and went into a glass booth to use the cash machine,’ she says. ‘Four men appeared out of nowhere and blocked me in. They were pretending to help, but their leader, a really big guy, grabbed hold of my card.’
Action-hero: Richard Armitage with Orla Brady

Action-hero: Richard Armitage with Orla Brady

He told her to tap her number into the keypad, and when Amanda refused, the other three muggers started pushing her and shouting.

‘It was getting nasty, and I was very scared. So I put my hands up and said, “Okay, fine” — but I had to let them keep my card.’

Amanda cancelled her card immediately and lost no money, but the mugging left her unnerved.

She found herself in a vulnerable position even though her husband, screenwriter Richard Sainsbury, and her children Milo, 11, and Otis, nine, who were visiting her in South Africa, were yards away, inside the petrol station.

‘They had no idea it was going on,’ she says.

When she quit Holby City last autumn, Amanda was considering giving up acting. ‘I was exhausted and disillusioned,’ she says. ‘Drama budgets were being cut, and things were getting worse.

‘I thought that instead of acting, I’d direct or produce short films. I also looked into studying to become a counsellor. I felt my own life experience would lend itself to that.’

The day after she gave birth to her second son, Amanda was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but has made a full recovery.

Amanda’s lives on a farm in Lincolnshire, and it was partly her daily commute to the Holby City set in Elstree, Herts — a 200- mile return journey — that made her leave the series.

‘I’d get up at 4.30am, and work a 12-hour day in the studio. I missed my sons’ nativity plays, their school concerts — all the things that are really important to kids. That went on for six years, and I decided I didn’t want to be away from Richard and Milo and Otis any more.

‘But then Strike Back came along and I couldn’t resist, because Colonel Eleanor Grant is a role that’s so me.
Pressures: Amanda Mealing, pictured here in Holby City, decided the pressure of a commute was too much to continue with the BBC show

Pressures: Amanda Mealing, pictured here in Holby City, decided the pressure of a commute was too much to continue with the BBC show

‘I love all-action movies. I am trying to get my pilot’s licence, and I’m a huge fan of Formula One. My idea of heaven would be to go on Top Gear and to get my racing licence. So playing an SAS soldier is perfect.’

Strike Back, based on ex-SAS sergeant Chris Ryan’s bestseller, caused quite a stir when it debuted last year thanks to the casting of Spooks heartthrob Richard Armitage in an action-hero role. Armitage played hunky soldier John Porter, oozing sex appeal in his khakis and two-day stubble. For the second series, Strike Back: Project Dawn, Armitage appears only in the first episode — as a hostage.

Two handsome newcomers, American actor Philip Winchester as Sgt Michael Stonebridge, and Australian Sullivan Stapleton as ex-soldier Damien Scott, supply the muscle for the rest of the series.

Amanda says she wasn’t fazed by stepping into the Spooks star’s boots. ‘It didn’t really bother me, because I’m a woman, and so it’s a very different thing. In fact, I play his boss.’

The second series has been bumped from six to 10 episodes thanks to Sky co-producing it with respected American network HBO. And the bombs, blasts and body count make for a high-octane thriller.

Amanda was offered the role after HBO and Sky screen-tested actresses in England and the U.S. ‘Apparently they saw lots of people, so it’s a huge compliment to get it,’ she says.

Strike Back: Project Dawn, starts this Sunday on Sky One
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:06 pm

http://english.blic.rs/Culture-Showbiz/8041/Branko-Tomovic-in-new-action-show\\

Branko Tomovic in new action show
Ivana Stojanov | 27. 09. 2011. - 00:02h

Serbian actor Branko Tomovic has been pursuing a successful career in the UK for years. He currently features in HBO’s television show Strike Back, and despite the fact he has admitted to preferring the European film, he has been cast in Hollywood movies opposite the likes of Matt Damon, Benicio del Toro and John Goodman. He is yet to put on a performance in Serbian language.

Tomovic was born in Germany and originates from Serbia, the country his parents emigrated from in the 1970s. He studied acting at the prestigious Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York City and has appeared in numerous productions and has won awards, one of the most prominent of which has been the 2002 Potsdam Film Festival award for his role in Remote Control.



Besides acting, he has a great love for painting and once stated he was attracted to characters of men with sad eyes. Also, his great wish is to one day portray the character of great Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla.


Tomovic’s enviable filmography includes television show entitled Strike Back and produced by HBO/Sky. This is an action thriller where the main characters are two agents of Section 20, British intelligence service’s secret cell.



The two are portrayed by Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton, while Tomovic appears in two episodes during which four European state officials are kidnapped, and agents follow them from Vienna to Kosovo.



Tomovic’s character is a young Serb, who has been kidnapped by the Albanian mafia and made him work in their heroin plant. Together with MI6 agents, he attempts to rescue the remaining hostages and flee through a woods in Kosovo.


- When I was reading the show’s script, I felt particularly glad the Serbs were not presented as bad guys, as always. It feels good to play a good Serb, said Branko.


He has also finished shooting his lead role in an English thriller Entity, as well as an action thriller Interview with a Hitman.


- I must admit it is really nice to be working on all those films, not only because of the financial aspect of it, but also because you can learn a lot from great actors I have played alongside, said Tomovic.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:12 pm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/23/adewale-akinnuoye-agbaje-_n_976538.html?ref=mostpopular

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Interview: Actor Talks 'Strike Back,' Playing Bad & 'The Killer Elite' (VIDEO)
Adewale Strike Back

Posted: 9/23/11 02:39 PM ET

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje may just be the most badass actor in Hollywood. To "Oz" fans, he's gang leader Simon Adebisi. To "Lost" fans, he's former war lord turned man of god, Mr. Eko. And if you sat through rapper 50 Cent's acting debut, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," he's the twisted drug lord Majestic.

In his latest television stint on Cinemax's explosive new show "Strike Back," Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays a brutal militia leader named Tahir, who holds an innocent aid worker hostage in the Sudan. Tahir shows little mercy to those who disobey his leadership. For as uncompromising and brutal as Tahir seems, Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who also learned Arabic for the project, was drawn to the project because of the character's many dimensions.

"It's such a rich character," Akinnuoye-Agbaje told The Huffington Post. "This character has many layers. He's a man of absolutely uncompromising principles, and what was intriguing to me was what would drive a person to such extremes? I was interested in exploring what his motivation was, and why he was committing such seemingly heinous crimes. And then finding out that there was a real, substantive purpose behind it was really intriguing to me. Nobody is good or bad. Everybody has shades of both, and he is a character who's got both, and he's just extreme in both. He's fighting for a cause. He seems to be an old vestige of a warrior."

Judging from his credits, Akinnuoye-Agbaje walks the line between good and evil quite often, giving seemingly twisted characters emotional depth and understanding.

"Multifaceted and textured characters are always more intriguing to me," said the actor. "You never really just want to play one note. It becomes a bit monotone and boring. I think the most appealing characters for the audience are the ones that you never know whether to root for them or whether to hate them. That's what keeps people drawn to their television sets. As with Eko, as with Majestic, as with Adebisi, these are characters that you want to hate, but there's a part of them that you secretly want to root for, and that part is called humanity."

Akinnuoye-Agbaje has the ability to give a voice to certain tormented and twisted characters that other actors would shy away from -- such as Tahir and Adebisi -- which is what makes his portrayal of such characters so endearing and authentic. Yet, he's proven that he can play tortured and twisted quick well, but what about playing someone, well, more normal? In the star-studded "Killer Elite," coming out this fall and starring Robert De Nero, Clive Owen and Jason Statham, Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays Agent, someone who's not a drug lord, criminal or militia leader in the Sudan.

"For the first time really, I played a British character in a shirt and tie," laughed the British-born actor. "He's more behind-the-scenes and pulling the strings, so that was really interesting for me. I also have another film coming out this fall, called 'Best Laid Plans,' and it's a British modern adaptation of 'Of Mice and Men.' I play the character Lenny, and he's a 37-year-old man with a 7-year-old mentality. And it was a challenge for me, and it was a vert tricky task, but that's the rewarding part of what I do -- the exploration of different personalities, traits and characters. Ultimately, you have to just take the plunge and follow your instincts on these characters."

By taking the plunge, Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays bad like no one else -- with vulnerability and depth -- and sometimes, these tormented and twisted characters tend to go against his Buddhist faith. The actor admitted that he had to chant more than usual while playing the brutal Majestic in "Get Rich or Die Tryin'."

"Sometimes I do question it because f you do your job well, the public will associate you with that person," said Akinnuoye-Agbaje, "But then I have to take a step back from it and say, this is my job, this is what I do. I'm here to play certain characters and give them a voice that they might not have had. That's my job, and like it or not, that's what I'm here to do."

Watch an exciting clip of the new episode of "Strike Back" -- featuring Akinnuoye-Agbaje as the deliciously twisted villan Tahir -- below. Catch all of the Adewale action Friday (Sept. 23) at 10PM EST on Cinemax.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:11 pm

http://www.todayonline.com/Entertainment/Television/EDC120419-0000005/Yes,-Maam

Yes, Ma'am

Mealing wears the cargo pants in the action-packed

Strike Back series
by May Seah
04:45 AM Apr 19, 2012
No question about it: Amanda Mealing is a woman on top. In the slick, action-packed, globe-trotting series Strike Back, the English actress gets to wield the power of command over the show's two very hunky male leads.

Strike Back follows an elite military black ops unit within the British government that focuses on high-risk, top priority targets like terrorist activities.

When a cocky former operative, played by Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton, is roped in for his expertise, his style instantly clashes with the unit's by-the-book star, played by Philip Winchester. Mealing plays boss as team leader Colonel Eleanor Grant.

On being surrounded by testosterone on set, Mealing chuckled: "Well, you know, it was very difficult in the make-up bus in the morning, with such fit young men around you! Obviously, the boys had a challenge between themselves as to who was the fittest; who was most like a real soldier. Philip, to maintain his physique, had to eat nearly every hour-and-a-half. And so we used to laugh at him. His wife would make him a packed lunch that he would bring into set. He would sit down every hour-and-a-half, and you'd hear the rustling of the lunch bag and he would be digging away finding more food. That was quite a funny thing to see: A big, burly man with a very girly lunchbag that his wife had made!"

Winchester's hard work has evidently paid off since, when asked which of the two men was more her type, Mealing laughed: "I think Philip. He has an incredible body. But he's a very gentle man. I quite like that ability to be strong and sensitive as well."

But just having prominent biceps doesn't mean you're in charge. "I'm a bit of a tomboy myself; I'm a bit of a thrill-seeker. So I think I held my own against the boys," Mealing said. "I kept them in check."

"We did a lot of training - we had Special Forces as our military advisers and we would have a really tough workout. I wanted to get myself to a physical level of fitness because I believe that a lot of the character comes through the physicality of it. I was boxing with the Special Forces guy, and I punched him so hard I dislocated my shoulder. So I took my training very seriously!"

As Mealing explained, the show also helped her learn about the "interesting dynamic" accompanying women in commanding roles.

"I spoke with quite a few high-ranking female officers about it in my research. And they said a lot of the time, (having women in charge) helps to defuse situations, whereas men will lock horns and challenge each other," she said. "But, also, what was interesting is the female officers I spoke to said that the men have far more respect for you if you don't pretend to be one of the boys; if you maintain your femininity. They understand that for you to be in that position, you will have had to prove yourself over and above what the men would do. So there is, strangely enough, a lot of respect for a female commander."

Catch Strike Back starting April 20 at 10pm on MAX (StarHub TV Ch 611).

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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:13 am

http://www.redeyechicago.com/entertainment/tv/redeye-rhona-mitra-strike-back-tv-interview-20120907,0,2768400.story

Rhona Mitra wanted to bring authenticity to 'Strike Back' role

By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol RedEye

3:22 p.m. CDT, September 7, 2012
When Rhona Mitra signed on to star in the new season of "Strike Back," she wanted to achieve one goal among all others.

"The key thing of this show is that they're praised for the legitimacy and authenticity of both Phil and Sully's approach to their characters, so the pressure that I felt that I wasn't dropping the ball or lowering the bar was considerable," she told me during a conversation at San Diego Comic Con in July. "I wanted to make sure that I was keeping a certain standard in the credibility that was already set. I couldn't mess up on that."

Mitra plays Major Rachel Dalton, an MI-6 spy who at the beginning of the season boldly pushed her way into the special ops division Section 20 not as a new agent, but the boss who oversees, among others, the main operatives Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) and Scott (Sullivan Stapleton). Mitra, who has starred as butt-kicking women in such films as "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" and "Doomsday," as well as stints on TV's "SGU" and "The Gates," easily handles the role of a tough taskmaster and expert covert agent. (Just check out her interrogation of the man in the clip above from Ep. 15, debuting at 9 p.m. CT Sept. 7 on Cinemax.)

Mitra's desire to look like the real deal while in battle mode was a taller order, considering the whirlwind filming schedule in South Africa and other African locations.

"We had an incredibly brief amount of time to get everything together as far as training was concerned," she said. "It was a baptism by fire, for sure."

Mitra watched some of the first Cinemax season episodes and studied how the characters worked with their weapons. She paid close attention to Stonebridge because Dalton, like Stonebridge, would have been trained in British military practices--an important detail in maintaining the authenticity of the series.

"What you understand is there's a language in your usage of weapons, which is much liking learning Chinese or French or whatever it is," Mitra explained. "With the British military training you are all given a foundation, so there has to be a way in which you carry your gun that is authentic and legitimate [to that training]."

The show's military advisers--some are British, some American and some South African--worked with Mitra on the various techniques used for different weapons. Dalton would have learned how to use the AK-47 she brandished in the season premiere while undercover in Africa, Mitra said, because it's not used by the British military. Later she used an MP-5, which is a British military issue weapon and which required a different style and stance for shooting.

Mitra praised Winchester for his help on set. "He was brilliant with me in helping me along the way, just making sure I was doing the little things right," she said.

During the "Strike Back" panel at Comic Con, Mitra said she was "a pacifist by nature." Playing a character that sometimes kills for a living meant she had to find mental tricks "so my karma wasn't altered too hugely," she told me during our interview. When she had to discharge a bazooka as Dalton, she imagined the weapon fired something other than explosive shells.

"If I was really doing the damage [the character] was doing I wouldn't be a happy camper," she said, then chuckled. So I imagined there were giant cupcakes coming out of it."

Despite her pacifist leanings, the physicality of the role was "the No. 1 magnetic pull" for the British actress.

"I just love that stuff. I love anything that involves that much physical activity," she said, adding that the mind plays into the physicality as well. "There's also a lot of mental and strategic sort of chess involved where your body and mind are working together. It's a dance. You're always on your game. You're always on fire. You're always awake and alert. I think it's one of the best parts of what I get to do in my job."

Mitra also enjoyed getting into the psyche of her character and how she would work within a new military unit, another task that the show's military advisers and the regular cast members helped her undertake. She said that in a way, her coming onto the series in its second season echoed how her character jumps into the workings of Section 20 as their new commander.

"The beauty of what these people do is that they all have the common denominator to see through [to completion] their mission. And whatever that cause is eclipses their own egos, their own needs, their own agendas. And when working together on one cause and one mission they have to create a symbiosis. And if it means that's done through deceit, through sex, whatever the means are, that's what you use," she said. "That's what they're taught, and it's a beautiful synchronicity when it comes together.

"In a way that's sort of what we had to do as actors. They [the cast and crew] had created this family, this unit, and life was imitating art. I had to come in, listen to it, adhere to it, know when to take a back seat and know when to come in and grab the reins."

Copyright © 2012, RedEye
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:47 pm

http://www.craveonline.com/tv/interviews/196927-michelle-lukes-on-strike-back

Michelle Lukes on ‘Strike Back’

Lukes tells us what's ahead for her character and how she trained for the role.
By Fred Topel
September 28, 2012

“Strike Back” is a manly man’s show, but there’s always room for a tough girl. Michelle Lukes is original tough girl of Cinemax’s incarnation of the British series.

Lukes’ character, Sgt. Julia Richmond has been there from the beginning, and this season she even got into the field. We got to chat with Lukes by phone for our own private debrief on Sgt. Richmond’s upcoming missions and her dossier of qualifications for the show.

Photo Credit: HBO / David Bloomer


CraveOnline: What's coming up for Julia Richmond?

Michelle Lukes: Oh, some exciting stuff. Gosh it is really difficult without giving too much away. There’s some really cool stuff coming up for her. I think you get to really get inside her head in the next sort of two to three episodes. You get to know more about her loyalties and her relationships and she has tough judgment calls which that sort of stuff is more interesting than perhaps we’ve a chance in the past. You see another layer I guess which has been brilliant for me to play, just great stuff and sort of real emotional stuff which is fantastic.

So I hope people will enjoy seeing this side to her because we have already seen this season sort of the Julia in the field which has also been a lovely, lovely change for the character. But I think as we go further on into the series there is more twists and turns and yeah, you get to see yet another side to her. So hopefully people enjoy it. I think they will so fingers crossed we will see.

CraveOnline: Have you been waiting a long time to develop this side of her?

Michelle Lukes: Oh totally, totally, totally. I mean, this year just in terms of the physicality and the action has just been such a gift for me. I was so jealous last year when the boys were out and they had all this training and it just seemed like super, super fun and I was always kind of really keen to get involved with that but wasn't sure whether that was the direction my character would ever go.

And so coming back this year and having that alone has just been amazing. Physically, I have really enjoyed the new challenges but also the emotional challenges that are coming up or that you will see coming up have also been a real gift too because I guess it is just the characters evolving. And I think the last series you really got to know who she is and you do start to get to know who she is this year and it is just wonderful.

It is wonderful for me to discover as an actor, I hope really wonderful for fans and the viewers to sort of get to know her too. So it is really exciting, super exciting and I am very pleased with how it is sort of panning out for Julia.

CraveOnline: I like seeing you in the field too but is that control room fun also?

Michelle Lukes: Do you mean when the cameras are rolling or when the cameras are off? Inside Section 20 in the remote command, I have to say just sort of from an actor's perspective those scenes are always super, super fun because usually all the team are together and it is just, I don't know if I should say this but it is just a great sort of chance for us to all get together and there is a lot of sort of fun, there is a lot of games and it is just a really lovely working environment.

It is a great sort of mix between work and play and it is not often that we all get to do scenes together. I think each of us really sort of cherish those few moments because we are all very fond of each other in our little unit. Those scenes in Section 20 are a lot of fun to do together. So yay.

CraveOnline: Did you have any special training for the show?

Michelle Lukes: Yeah, we had a huge amount. It never feels like enough but I am so, so grateful for what we had. We went out to South Africa and we had almost a month of training prior to the shoot. We had various sorts of counter terrorism and military advisors that took us through the training and it was an incredible experience.

And I guess I am really pleased that we had that made available to us. I mean, on a personal level as an actor to have gone through that before stepping on set is just brilliant because hopefully it just sort of informs the performance in such a way that you just wouldn't be able to do without having that knowledge. Also we feel like we have a certain responsibility to the people, the men and women that do this job for real and I would hate to be responsible for maybe trivializing it or not giving it the sort of gravitas and the respect it deserves.

I think that going through the training will hopefully help us to do that. I mean, my dad is in the military so I had a sort of very, very basic knowledge of what was involved in terms of lifestyle and training but nothing compares to when you go through it yourself. I think it is as close to reality as it gets. I mean they didn't treat us like actors at all. We were squadees and we were there to work hard and be soldiers and it was just brilliant. We did defense techniques and combat strategy, weapons training, reconnaissance and I guess even just the physical fitness was just insane.

By the end of the month I think I probably felt the best I have ever felt, just physically felt brilliant. I felt like a machine. But unfortunately you can't maintain that once you stop but to have that, you know, preparation was just brilliant. And also brilliant for us actors to spend four weeks together sitting in full camo in boiling heat in bunkers eating like really, really sh*t food out of foil bags. And it is just a real great sort of bonding experience. So yes the training was awesome and it was really fun as well. It was brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

CraveOnline: How does it feel to fire a gun?

Michelle Lukes: I really liked it. I don't know if that is good to say or not. I surprised myself actually. I was quite nervous beforehand just for really sort of girly reasons like the noise alone. And once I had sort of done it the first couple of times, I really got into it and I am quite the perfectionist as well so I, you know, I would do something, they would tell me I am doing it wrong, I would go back to again, we filmed everything so we could watch ourselves and it was just really fun.

Practice, practice, practice and have the luxury of practice to try and get things right. All the training was just so exhilarating and not just the sort of weapons training but even the unarmed combat and the sort of the knife fighting is great sort of learning.

I mean those sorts of fights like dances almost. So much choreography. I got to do things that I would never do in reality, absolutely never do. I mean I hadn't even gone to paintball or anything beforehand so it was just real sort of new experience for me and brilliant, again just brilliant.

CraveOnline: When Rhona Mitra joined the cast was it nice to have another woman in the cast?

Michelle Lukes: It is always brilliant when a woman comes in. And I love the boys. I love boys, but it is just so much testosterone around set and stuff it is just a real joy to sort of have another female energy and sometimes do girly things and go to dinner and, have our nails painted and stuff and just sort of be girls because it is such a masculine environment and the job is very, very masculine.

It is just great to have that sort of that release almost. So yes, I love it when all the girls come on set. It is just a joy and, you know, every block is new group of girls and it is quite nice. We all kind of stick together and do our thing.I am still friends with actually a lot of the girls that have come and gone on the show. So yes, it is great to get new girls on.

CraveOnline: So even the villain girls bond with you.

Michelle Lukes: Yeah, totally, totally, even the villains. I don't know it is funny, I don't know if it is just the nature of the show but I found in last season and especially this season we were all thrown together and it just felt like a sorority. I don't know, I don't know it is strange but yes good guys, bad guys, it is just really nice actually going to work and just know that you have a girl there watching your back. It’s awesome. It’s always such a treat to get the girls on.

CraveOnline: Did you beat other tough girls for the role of Julia?

Michelle Lukes: I don't know who else was seen for the role. Of course it was a very, very, very quick process. I have a feeling they sort of rethought the part of Julia quite close to the beginning of filming and thought perhaps that she was a role that they might want to develop in the future. So I think various decisions were made quite close to the time of production.

Brilliantly I got a phone call out of the blue from the casting director who had seen me in other stuff before but never had the opportunity to call me in. He called and he said, “I have got this part and you are perfect for it. Would you like to come in and meet me? I haven't seen you for a while.” So I went in. He gave me the first four Eps of last season. I had a quick read and the next day I had a screen test. Then a week later they said, “Can you be on a plane to South Africa in three days?”

It was mental. It was absolutely bonkers. But I totally owe him this job and it was I guess hopefully the right decision for everyone. It is weird because I am so protective over her now. I just can't imagine anyone else doing it.

CraveOnline: Well you made your debut in Alexander. How did that come about for you and how long had you been auditioning and acting before then?

Michelle Lukes: I hadn't really been acting at all. I was trained as a dancer and I had done this professionally for quite a while. And somebody, a friend of mine had asked whether I would be interested in being sort of a movement supervisor dance captain on the film because there were a lot of dances, a lot of movement. And Rosario [Dawson] who is the lead had to do some dancing and I was sort of brought in initially to sort of coach her and rehearse her and then as it happens they said "do you want to do it as well?"

And I was like "okay, why not?" So I kind of appeared in the film that way rather than sort of traditional way of going to an audition and trying to sell your wares but a great opportunity and a fantastic experience. It was my first experience of being on a massive film set and I remember going down onto set on the first day. We had been rehearsing for about three or four weeks and I went down to see Oliver [Stone] because he needed to okay my costume.

I remember walking onto set which was on the Atlas Mountains and my jaw like literally dropping open. I was so overwhelmed. I mean, it was bonkers. There were hundreds and hundreds of supporting artists. There were panthers in cages, bears and music and it was such a vibrant, exciting place. I though yeah I could get involved with this. This is something I could do. It was just a really, really inspiring experience. So another opportunity that I am really grateful for. And I guess helps me to get to where I am today.

CraveOnline: Yes so you got the bug from that?

Michelle Lukes: I did. I think I got the bug much earlier but I wasn't brave enough to perhaps to perhaps pursue it until later. I guess that is what it was.

CraveOnline: Are you working on anything else or is it all “Strike Back” right now?

Michelle Lukes: It is a bit “Strike Back.” I have my finger in a few pies but at that early stage where I can't really talk about anything at the moment. But I am still 100% committed to “Strike Back” and God willing we will get to see more of Julia in the future. So fingers crossed.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:23 pm

http://articles.redeyechicago.com/2012-10-13/entertainment/34435360_1_michael-stonebridge-craig-hanson-black-eye

Shane Taylor rolls with punches of 'Strike Back'

Shane Taylor stars as Craig Hanson in Cinemax's "Strike Back."

Shane Taylor stars as Craig Hanson in Cinemax's "Strike Back." (Cinemax )
October 13, 2012|By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol | RedEye

Shane Taylor left his mark on the second season of "Strike Back," but the show's stars left their marks on him, too.

The British actor suffered a few hits while playing ruthless soldier-for-hire Craig Hanson in the Cinemax drama which ended its season Friday. (Spoiler alert for those not cuaght up!) Throughout the season, Hanson had run-ins with Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) and Damian Scott (Sullivan Stapleton), two operatives from the counterterrorism unit called Section 20. The actors in those roles, as fans can see, make the fight scenes look as real as possible.

"I have profound respect now for action-type shows," Taylor told me earlier this week on the phone from London. "I don't think anybody escaped injury. I had my fair share."

Those would be his "Stapleton rib" and "Winchester eye," as he has nicknamed them. A good-natured debate has arisen about whether Stapleton actually cracked the rib, but there's no denying that the black eye, which you can see in a photo Taylor links to from his Twitter feed (@tinker_t), came courtesy of Winchester's elbow.

"Momentarily, momentarily, I thought I was going to black out, but I came back. I learned I could take a punch," Taylor said, chuckling. "Phil's bicep is like the average man's thigh. You know what I mean! In rehearsal he just kind of cracked me, and that kind of put me out.

"I'm not even sure how we managed to do the actual fight. I don't know. I just had to have a big timeout. They had to do other stuff before I could get back in the ring."

Things didn't go perfectly once he got back into the ring either. After cracking his rib earlier in the season, Taylor took some time off to rest it so that he would be fit enough to film the final confrontation between the one-time comrades who had become bitter enemies. The fight was filmed on their last day of shooting in Johannesburg, South Africa, and they had little time to prepare after the fight choreography had been changed, both actors said.

In the scene, Stonebridge throws Hanson on some steps and jumps on top of him. During the shoot, Winchester landed on Taylor and they both heard a cracking sound. "I just felt it against my leg," Winchester said. "It was horrible."

Again Taylor rebounded, and turned in what Winchester called a "flipping brilliant" performance in the scene.

His performance throughout the season gave a depth and sadness to Hanson that I'm not convinced was on the page. Hanson, holding Stonebridge responsible for the death of his brother, retaliated by gunning down the Section 20 agent's wife. But thanks to Taylor, Hanson was more than just a mad man who got off killing people; he was a disillusioned former soldier who had lost the only thing he had left in the world. He also knew that he was partly to blame, and the guilt tore him up inside.

"The motivation for me was always about Hanson's own disgust of himself," Taylor said, adding that he also was challenged by how to make Hanson an intimidating person when Taylor himself isn't imposing physically.

"I always kind of joke, it's 6-foot-2 brawn versus 5-foot-10 scrawn. I mean there's nothing of me," he said. "I trained as much as the rest of them, but I'm never going to bulk up and be like [Winchester and Stapleton].

"I tried to tap into more of a presence, more of somebody that you wouldn't want to mess with. I've come across those people before where there is just something about them. There is an air. There is a way they carry themselves. I hope it worked."

(I believe it did. What do all the fans think?) Taylor and I chatted more about his experience on "Strike Back," the Stapleton rib, how he got into Hanson's head and that he auditioned for the role of Stonebridge.

I was happy you saw the rib story and video and that now we get to clear this up.
[Laughs.] Yeah. That kind of sparked it off really. I just I couldn't help laughing. It was bizarre. ...

But Winchester didn’t mention the black eye that he gave me, a huge black eye right at the end of the show. ... He and I had to go over a good few things first of all. Then the stunties kind of changed it at the last [minute]. A section that was supposed on the floor was now going to be on these steps. We were just going over a few moves, swinging a few arms and stuff like that, and what they call blading, which is not using your fist but just your elbow to protect your hands. ... He got me in my eye socket.

It almost played into the scene because my eye was gradually getting bigger and bigger while we were filming it. There was absolutely no makeup required. [Laughs.] I was having the rocky eye and I could barely see. And it was, of course, incredibly painful. But it worked. It really did help the situation. Yeah.

And there was the Sully rib, or the Stapleton rib as I nicknamed it. That was an injury by degree. He was right in saying I didn't really mention anything initially because it was just something that actually happened while we were being trained at the gym. Then I did something else to it when Sully and I were rehearsing in the gym on another occasion. Actually, at that point the medic said, “I need you to come to the hospital and get an X-ray.” Nothing showed on the X-ray, but they mentioned it being the intercostal muscles might be damaged there, which can be more painful than a fracture.

They said, “You need a bit of time off.” I said, “Well, I haven't got any time off. I’ve got to fight tomorrow.”

It's just it's one of those things. I just had these Victorian-type corsets. [Laughs.] I had everything you could possibly put on to be able to do this fight. It was just a random shoulder. We were going at it. We were doing everything that we could to sort of avoid that certain area. The choreography was orchestrated in a way that I wasn't going to get any damage on the left-hand side. It was just Sully's shoulder, me against the pipe on the wall I think, and a random shoulder that went in there. It was audible. It just went [makes snapping sound]. And that was that.

We got through the fight—painkillers—but then it was straight to the hospital. It was kind of like a little hairline fracture. From that moment on the schedules kind of changed so the big fight sequence with Phil was right at the back end of the shoot, and I could be fairly fit for it.

Come the time, it wasn't bad. It wasn't completely healed, but it was enough to be able to get up and move around and throw a few punches and kicks and whatever. We just had to be gentle. Then the irony was that he bladed me in the eye and I was just injured all over again, but in an entirely different area. [Laughs.] There you go.

That's the way Sully and Phil treat their guests. What can I say? [Laughs.]

It was great fun to do. Like I say, those boys and Michelle as well, the regulars, I know what they do on a daily basis. I know how they train. Of course, I was part of that when I was there. I have profound respect for doing that because it's an intense thing to do. You go and shoot stuff, and then you come away from the shoot, and you go back to training. It's constant. I think Sully had his “300” trainers there as well. On top of the “Strike Back” stuff, you have to then go and do that, which is just insane.

Your rib was almost OK by the time you did the Phil fight for the finale.
Yeah, as much as it could be. Even then there was a moment where Phil and I got in a tussle on the floor. We rolled a certain way. He literally lept off me because heard this kind of crack again, but it wasn't anything. I could continue. ... Phil is very good. Phil is very sort of specific with what he does. He is very controlled. I did trust him as well.

It looks really good.
OK, all right. Well thank you. I can't really remember too much about it. [Laughs.] By the end of it I couldn’t see him. My eye was throbbing. My ribs were in pain. I needed to flop on him. [Laughs.] “Just kill me. Let’s get it done.” I don't think I got up. I couldn't get up in fact. Once I was on the ground, people had to come and get me. It was one of those.

When you heard about the part, did you like the idea of exploring this guy who becomes so consumed by his anger?
Arguably the go-to thing is that this guy is just a mad, bad, crazy man, but for me there isn't much difference between Stonebridge and Scott and Hanson. They’re damaged goods. They're damaged men; they're damaged soldiers. It's just manifested into them in different ways.

I think I have to look where Hanson has come from. I think every one of them believes in the righteousness of their actions. That may be slightly worse if you look at Hanson and his overall way of doing things. He doesn't set out to be the mustachio-twirling evil guy. There is a reason. There is a motivation. I had to look for that when I was doing it.

I know it comes out quite late in the series in small little amounts, but tough, working-class background with his brother, obviously soldiering is in the family. Jake wasn't a soldier, however, and that was pretty obvious now. I had to make a decision about how much did Hanson know about Jake's pill-popping fragility? I would probably say not much, but did he know he was vulnerable? Yes. Did he know that he really wasn't cut out to be a soldier? Yes. Could that stuff then force him into being something that he wasn't? No.

You've got this thing going on with Craig Hanson, where for me, it's not about Stonebridge. Stonebridge becomes the emotional target. For Hanson, it's about the guilt. It's about the self-loathing. It's about forcing his brother to do something that he wasn't cut out to do, and then leaving him, and he’s the only thing that he cared about.

There is a massive amount going on underneath that. It's that classic, psychological transference of anger that is thrust upon Stonebridge because after all, he's looking at Stonebridge as the man who would look out for [his brother]. Now you can go into the details. Stonebridge had to take him out in the way that he did. There are reasons for what he did, but in Hanson's eyes he kind of failed him. He failed him. It's almost like a betrayal.

He knew he was vulnerable, but to what extent I must say, I don't think Craig Hanson probably knew in terms of just how bad it was. But at the same time, he was expecting Stonebridge to look out for him, and it didn't happen.

The justification for then going on and shooting his wife, well, that’s extreme. But then you're dealing with an extreme man who comes from an extreme background. There is a one-way trajectory from there on in. What Craig Hanson was looking for was not only to make him suffer, but then to really go on a particular route that was going to see Stonebridge end [Hanson’s] life, if you know what I mean? It was almost like a Special Forces suicide ... He’s always looked at Stonebridge to end it. He was aware that it was going to end when it got to that final conflict. It was what he was egging him on to do.

It was, in Craig Hanson’s warped mind, and the way I was trying to play it, it was going to serve both people. It was going to serve Stonebridge for his vengeance, although he’d have live with it. Also, for the fact that it takes Hanson away because he had nothing. He just didn't have anything to live for, and he didn't want to. I think that the whole thing snowballs, pretty much, after the assassination of Stonebridge's wife. Then it goes on from there.

I think it’s interesting you say there is not a lot of difference between the three of them.
You look at the way they deal with things, it's post-traumatic, isn't it, for every one of them? They all had their ways of dealing with things, and they're highly controversial. They're all killers. They're all people who take out other people, for whatever reason. They've all got demons. I really don't see it in black and white, you know, these can be seen as good people because they're in Section 20 and Hanson because he joined Knox is this kind of character. They all operate in that gray. That's why I find them all very fascinating.

I would like to have seen all three of them in the field working together. I think they’d make a great unit.

I drew parallels to help me with my character. I would often read about the two of those characters and where they came from, and what their back story was. ... I just kind of thought, “Wow, this is really interesting. This is really interesting.” I know it kind of gets extreme for Hanson, but the energy, the makeup, the DNA is very similar. It's something to get a foothold for me going in.

I quite like the initial stuff with my brother and then Stonebridge. Then, of course, things happen, and Hanson becomes this kind of in and out sort of killing machine. By the end of it, I'm glad that there was some kind of moment where I could explain to Stonebridge where I was coming from, and what we are, and that’s nothing really to be proud of. Whatever I say, “It’s a game of soldiers and this is just no life.”

He's come to the end of the road. This is the perfect resolution for Hanson anyway. This needed to happen. It really needed to happen, and I knew that.

Are you as adept at getting out of handcuffs as Hanson is?
[Laughs.] You know, this is the thing, it's weird because you have these specialists, like Paul Hornsby is one. He's a great man. He did some stuff on “Band of Brothers” years ago and I worked with him. They are really good at doing what they do. They'll be the first ones to say, “Look, in reality this can't happen. This situation, you wouldn't do that; you can't do this.”

Then there comes a point where directors or producers or whoever it is that are writing, whatever. It's written in a certain way because it is an action show, and it's high entertainment, where the spectacle and the sort of poetic license just takes over. They get overruled. I feel for them because some of the situations, some of the “A-Team” situations like, “Man, how could they all get hit?” I feel for them because they've gone in and said, “Well, that can't happen; that's outrageous.” They are often overruled for the spectacle of the visual and the entertainment value.

Those handcuffs, you know, I tried. There is no way. You can't do that. You can't do that. To back against the fence and do a couple of things and abracadabra, I'm free. [Laughs.] Yeah. That was pushing it.

Even taking out three guys with your hands cuffed behind your back.
[Laughs.] Yeah. That was very sort of “Matrix.” ... There are sort of super heroic elements to it.

And the people in the neighborhood, instead of running to find police, they're all standing there applauding Hanson, which I think is sort of a true situation in the neighborhood full of criminals that was supposed to be.
Absolutely right. You're spot on with that. ... That was the roughest neighborhood I had ever been to. It went on for blocks and blocks. It was incredible because you could tell at one point in time that it was an artist hub. The buildings were incredible. They were dilapidated when we were shooting but at one time it was kind of an artistic hub. It's got this very ugly beauty about it.

I think they were even using some locals for security because if you knew a few people around, you sort of could keep them at bay. We were in the heart of darkness really. It was just a very deadly situation. But then what do you do? You embrace it and you get the people involved. That's what happened on that day. They were the neighborhood locals. They got involved. They loved the day. It was something different from their day-to-day lives. Everybody had a great time.

That scene is kind of very macabre, very sort of a dark comic moment, I think.

You play it well too because you didn't wave or anything. It's just so Hanson because he doesn't really react. He just looks up at them.
Yeah. [Laughs.] Giving the Fonzie thumbs up, that would have blown it there. [Laughs.]

Exactly. Did you find being in South Africa was a perk of the job?
Very much so. Luckily they had that first season there, and because Michelle and Sully and Phil all knew the place, it was great to just tag along and get to know the areas through them. I got my girls out, flew them out toward the end of the Cape Town leg, before we went to Johannesburg. By that time I knew the areas myself. I got the car. I could take them all over the place. It's easily navigable, Cape Town. It's very easy. You've got to wise up. You've got to know where to go, and Jo’burg’s much worse in that regard.

You really cannot go out. I called it moon base one, but it was really just like a hotel within a shopping mall. It was huge. There wasn't actually any natural kind of area to go that was outside. You had to make special arrangements to go outside and be taken to certain areas because the pockets. There are some great pockets in Johannesburg. It is an exciting place, but it's peppered with these really bad areas that you just want to go into.

I thought Cape Town itself, and the surrounding area of Cape Town was absolutely beautiful. It was definitely one of the moments where you realize it's just an incredible job, to come here, to do this sort of thing in this kind of area.

How was working with Charles?
Charles, what can I say? He's probably the youngest-spirited one of us all. Yeah, great, great time with Charles. Two of his friends were in it as well, Pete Evans and Tim Pigott-Smith, in the opening episodes. I think Tim is the oldest swinger in town. He tops even Charles I think. Whenever we went out he was the last man standing. Even over Sully, which that's a feat to be able to do that. I mean he was just great. I think everybody that came in embraced it in the best possible way.

It wasn't just about them and us, cast separated from crew or anything like that. The crew was very integral in all of it. ... In terms of the experience and working on a show like that, I haven't had a better experience. It was a really fun thing to do and a fun place.

Phil told me a while ago that when you guys met you told him that you were up for his part as well, Stonebridge's part.
Can you believe it? Yeah, I mean they would have had to radically gone in a different way. ... Yeah, I was one of them. ... I went up for it. Met in London and LA, and then London again. Even though it got quite far, it never quite felt right. It didn't quite fit somehow. I put a lot on tape. I met a bunch of people. That's when I met Sully because he was London. He had just finished “Animal Kingdom.” He came over because I knew the director wanted to see Sully. We went out a few nights in London while he was doing that. He ended up getting the role. For me, it was just meeting all these people and knowing everybody.

Then when I met for the Hanson role, I was useless. ... I did a really rusty meet. It was purely down to the fact that I had put so much on tape previously. I met everybody in the States and this side to do with the show. It sort of swung it in my favor. That's when they came and said we've got this character and he's going to have this season-long arc, which was great, which was an amazing thing.

I think Phil is a perfect choice. How he conducts himself outside of the Stonebridge character. Even though Stonebridge has gone through a bunch of stuff this season, I think just the way he is. He’s a real gent. He's just perfect, and the way they riff off each other is obviously the juice of show, and they do it really well. For me, given the choice, of course I would like to have always had a bit more to do with Hanson, but I mean the particular role was very interesting. I found a foothold very quick on it. I enjoyed myself thoroughly doing that role and knowing that I was going to have these moments with the boys especially.

Did you take any special pleasure though, in being able to whoop on Phil a little bit?
[Laughs.] Of course, coming back and you could see in the face, “Steal Stonebridge off me?” No, I think it just worked at the end in the best possible way. Even if there was a chance for this character to come back, I think, it wouldn't be for me. I think this particular role was definitely a hit-it-and-quit-it character. I like that. For me, that's where I'm at. I like the intensity of doing something that's going to kind of come in, do something, and then that's it, and get out.

It's really one of my favorite shows because of all the layers. It could just be an action-adventure thing, but they look into more about how the job affects the people, about the areas where they work.
I agree with what you're saying. It's about Stonebridge and Scott and that relationship, and the way they play off each other, and the complexity within that. But then I quite like the way they show Section 20 as a unit. Michelle, for instance, that's kind of fleshing out. I'm glad to see that they've been getting out in the field actually and doing a little bit of that. I would hope that the next season would allow Richmond and certainly Liam, or Baxter, they flesh out those two a little more, and whatever happens to Rhona. It will be nice to see a bit more going on there.

I think everyone involved has a huge respect for the real soldiers. Did you find that?
Absolutely. They’re surrounded by those people, and some of the stories that you hear. It's crazy. It's incredible what they put themselves through. ... The scenarios that are set up [for the show] obviously are based in certain truths. Some of them, as you know, are kind of exaggerated situations. But the way that they would actually go about dealing with it is very much as the Special Forces people would deal with it. They're very, very meticulous about that and rightly so. I think that they really work hard to get that down.

When I was out there people on the range, I would be talking to the guys there. They had all served, some of them in Special Forces. They said, “We'd take Phil with us within a unit. He's that good doing what he's doing now.” And I can believe it. You can just see it. That's how meticulous they both are. They all are, Michelle as well. Michelle is brilliant at getting everything right.

You have other stuff coming up you want to talk about?
I think maybe I have to knock back on HBO's door. They've been pretty good to me over the years. Just before “Strike Back” I was supposed to be doing this ... psychological horror film ... called “This Little Piggy.” ... It's a pretty small film. I mean it's a real sort of indie encounter. It's going to be shot in Darby, which is kind of northwest England. ... Corinna Faith is the director. The producers are actually from the producers of “Hunger,” a Michael Fassbender film. ... We're on standby. That last piece is often the hardest, and you never know. It's about working out schedules from then on, and we'll see what happens.

Other than that, Curt, I'm just behind the mic. I do a lot of voiceover stuff for animation and Playstation and Nintendo. That's my bread and butter stuff. I enjoy that a lot. You can just roll out of bed and do it.

You don't get hit in the face?
[Laughs.] You don't get hit in the face. You really can sit in comfort. [Laughs.]

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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:27 pm

http://www.redeyechicago.com/entertainment/tv/redeye-strike-back-michelle-lukes-interview-20121012,0,1837108.story

Michelle Lukes kicks butt in 'Strike Back'

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Strike Back

Michelle Lukes plays Sgt. Julia Richmond in Cinemax's "Strike Back." (Cinemax / October 12, 2012)

By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol RedEye

9:06 p.m. CDT, October 12, 2012

Michelle Lukes didn't get much time out of the crib during the first season of "Strike Back." Thankfully that changed this year.

As Season 2 of the action drama comes to a close Friday, we'll see Lukes' Sgt. Julia Richmond in action again as Section 20 launches an assault in the mean streets of Johannesburg, South Africa. The season finale airs at 9 p.m. CT Oct. 12 on Cinemax.

Richmond proved she's more than a desk jockey in the season premiere with her total Bond girl moment as she and Sgt. Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) swam ashore in Mogadishu, Somalia, on a dangerous mission to rescue Damian Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) and Major Rachel Dalton (Rhona Mitra). In a later episode, she accompanied Stonebridge and Scott to Niger to hunt down a terrorist in possession of nuclear triggers.

"Last year I was desperate to get involved and the boys were just having such a blast. I was, too, in my sort of very reserved and reliable way," she said over the phone from her home in London where she was preparing her specialty, lasagna. "But I just was dying to get down and dirty with them, and fortunately I've been given that chance this year."

She also had the opportunity to explore more of her character's emotional side. After the shocking death of Major Oliver Sinclair (Rashan Stone) in Episode 17, the usually measured and focused Richmond totally lost her cool and shot the South African minister responsible for the capture of several Section 20 agents.

Lukes believes Sinclair's death was "absolutely life-changing for all of them, but I would say particularly for Julia because ... her reaction is so extreme and so emotional and so far removed from the Julia that we know, the sort of sensible, grown-up Julia." The scenes also were difficult to film, she said.

"It was tough, tough, tough, tough, tough to film personally. But as an actor it was really challenging and really rewarding," she said. "It was challenging for me because actually having done the show for a couple of years and the nature of my role in the show, I haven't really had ... to explore the emotional side of this character. So it was new territory for me and pretty scary."

"Strike Back" is the most high-profile international exposure for the actress, who starred in the British TV series "Doctors" and has theater credits at the Royal National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and Salisbury Playhouse. She is a 2007 graduate of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, where she began her studies after being plucked from her dance studies at the age of 17 to star as Demeter in a production of "Cats" in Hamburg, Germany.

For now, Lukes is hanging out in London but eager to get started on Season 3 of the series, if she returns. (Although we know the show will be back, there's been no official word on which cast members will return.) Lukes will no doubt miss Stone (watch the video eulogy below), who she said was probably the biggest jokester on a set where there is a lot of a lot of joking and teasing.

"Don't believe the Oliver Sinclair facade because he is cheeky. He's very cheeky. But he's brilliant. He's a great, great company member, an awesome guy," Lukes said. "It's brilliant because out of everyone he's probably the most unlike his character. We're terrible when we're together. Mercifully for the producers we had a lot of time apart this year which was tough for us. We made up for it in our own time. But probably we are probably the biggest goofballs."

"It's a good group of people. It's a lovely place to work, if lovely is the right word," she said, laughing. "It's a lovely place to go to work and stab people."

Lukes and I talked a whole lot more about her military training for the show, how crew members sometimes don't recognize her out of character, and her past work, which includes teaching Rosario Dawson how to dance for the film "Alexander." (The Q&A section of this story is hella long, but sometimes the conversations are so fun I just feel the need to share it all, or most of it.)



People love kick-ass women, and Julia Richmond has been this season.
What I love about her is that she is kick ass in the field but I still feel there’s a real humanity, a real warmth about Julia, too. I hope that people feel that or see that or get that. It’s something that I know that I want to pursue. It’s not just black and white with these people. I don’t want her to be just a kick-ass woman, you know? They’re a dime a dozen especially in TV land. And I kind of want more quality, more substance.

And she secretly goes against the bosses sometimes
I know. How brilliant is that? I like that. I really like that. I’m not sure we saw that last year, but I definitely think that we see a different side to her. She has some tough judgment calls and she’s not just a do-it-and-shut-up type, which perhaps she may have been perceived as before. She’s got balls and she’s smart and she takes risks. She puts her money where her mouth is. And I like that she challenges the bosses. I like that she’s confident enough to make her own decisions regardless of the results.

I like that she stands up for what she believes and then she sees it through. I think that’s a really admirable quality. Yes.

How has the reaction been this season?
I’ve had loads of support. I’ve got to say I’ve loads of support this season from fans writing in and just saying how much they’re enjoying seeing this new side to her. So yes, I’m excited that people are enjoying it and I know that I’ve loved it too. It’s been brilliant.

I loved when you jumped off the apartment building onto the car.
I know! How cool is that? They’ve just showed that episode here in the UK and all my friends are like, “Oh my God!” They couldn’t believe it. It’s such a big change from the Julia that we all got to know last year. That, I have to say, was one of my personal highlights. It was just such a brilliant day and I think I really surprised some people. I’ve never really been asked to do anything like that.

I think they probably thought, “Oh, you know, Shelly. She’s so lovely and nice and I’m sure you’re not going to want to do it.” And I was just like, “Let me at it! Let me at it!” They pretty much let me do the thing myself, which was very, very silly of them, but brilliant for me. So yes, it was a really good day and I loved it. It was great.

Did you actually jump on a car top or was there like a soft landing thing and then they made it look like a car?
Oh no, now I’m giving away some of the tricks. I jumped over the building, which was a big deal can I say? But there was a crash mat and various sort of burly men to break my fall. It wasn’t quite as cool in reality as it looks on the screen, but it still took a bit of guts to do it, I’d like to think. [Laughs.]

I’d say jumping over the side of the building is cool no matter what you’re landing on.
Thank you. [Laughs.]

Because it didn’t look like it was just a few feet. It looked fairly high up.
Yes I know. It wasn’t even the first floor. It was the second floor.

So there you go. And then you looked just downright Bond girly in the scene with Philip coming out of the water. (See the photo here.)
Oh, thank you. That’s really nice. Somebody asked me recently whether I had a problem playing the “plain Jane” of the show. I was like, “Oh no!” But gosh, when I read that initially I thought, “This is so like weirdly out of character for her.” Last year we didn’t really see past the surface. We know Julia to be reliable, to be sensible and smart. I don’t know, obedient and all of these very good things. And then to suddenly to be seen in a bikini just felt so racy. But yes, that was an incentive to keep training, if nothing else.

Right. Well I kind of felt like, “OK, now everybody sees what Scott sees,” because he’s always flirting with her. Now everybody knows why he’s always flirting with her.
[Laughs.] I know! It’s a bit of a will they or won’t they scenario. Everyone loves a bit of will they/won’t they, don’t they? [Laughs.]

I think so. So will they?
[Laughs.] They’ve got a lovely relationship. I think they’ve got a lovely relationship and will they? Never say never. That’s all I’m going to say. I kind of feel like that one of the things that makes their relationship so special, I just feel that he perhaps has a certain respect for her that maybe he doesn’t have for most other women. I don’t know if that reads, if that comes across, but there’s definitely an affinity there, which goes past the whole, you know, sex thing.

I think that’s a lovely thing for them to have. I think that actually she doesn’t sort of jump when he clicks his fingers is also a really fun element to their relationship.

I think she can handle him really well.
Totally. Absolutely. He’s totally met his match with her, and I think they both actually quite enjoy that.

She doesn’t get flustered or pissed. She just sort of gives it back, you know?
Yes, absolutely. I think that’s a great thing about her is that probably out of everyone, she’s possibly the most consistent, and sort of the most grown-up and confident member of 20. I think when everyone else is losing their heads, you can always sort of go to Julia and always get a sort of calm and considered perspective which is useful I think. Also, having said that she’s an animal in the field. [Laughs.]

Right, which she’s totally proving this year. I was wondering as Julia did you have to do a lot of learning about the technical side of the computers and satellites and all that stuff?
Yes, totally. Well in terms of our prep for the show, I did exactly the same training as the boys. There wasn’t so much focus on sort of the nerdy side. Most of our training was defense techniques, combat strategy, reconnaissance, weapons training. That was sort of the bulk of our prep. Absolutely I did everything that the boys did. Yes. I sort of had to and I kind of really wanted to as well. Yes.

But did you have to do extra for the nerdy side?
No. You know, I’m giving my tricks away. No. It’s just all acting.

That’s called acting, Curt.
[Laughs.] Yes, that’s acting Curt. [Laughs.] No, shamefully no. It’s a lot of sort of considered looks and furrowed brows and typing on the computer. I can’t actually type—probably shouldn’t put that in the interview. [Laughs.] A lot of focus is on sort of the tactical side, which is really important not just for us as actors to walk onto set and have that informed performance. But I know that we all kind of feel a certain responsibility to the men and the women who do this job for real, because most of the time, because of the nature of the work, they don’t get any recognition for what they do.

It’s such an insanely difficult, challenging job physically and emotionally. I know that we all feel that we want to do as much as we can to honor that, do you know what I mean? I would hate to be responsible for contributing to any glamorizing of it or trivializing it. And so the training was a really, really important thing for us to do and do it properly. Do you know what I mean?

I’m always amazed that when you guys do one of the missions or clear a room, there’s this consistency to your moves.
Well, I’m so glad you said that. Yes, because we do work really hard to try at every opportunity to do that. For the boys, they’ve doing this for two years now and so I guess for them it’s second nature. But for me I’m still very aware that if I don’t know something then I’ll ask, because I don’t want to guess and get it wrong.

And the boys are very brilliant. They were always there to support and to help me whenever I needed it. And the military adviser that we had was just absolute legend. He probably got so sick of me going, “Oh do I do it like this? Is this right? Is that right?” But, you know, that’s boring, but I feel it’s essential to doing it all properly.

When you initially did the boot camp before the season began, did you think, “Hey, look at me. I’m in pretty decent shape?”
Oh no, I was in horrible shape. [Laughs.] It was awful. It was absolutely awful. I couldn’t have been much worse. I sort of knew that it was coming and, you know, before I flew out I started doing a little bit of yoga two or three times a week thinking, “I’ll be fine.” Sort of the in the back of my head [I was] going, “No it won’t be. No it won’t be fine.” The reality is just, I mean, it’s just ludicrous. [Laughs.]

I sort of had a very basic understanding of the military because my dad was a military man. But to sort of put yourself through it, I mean, I really was just like, “Wow.” I have a newfound respect for these people. It’s just crazy what they put themselves through.

But having said that, after three-and-half, four weeks of training I felt amazing. I was in the best shape that I think I’ve ever, ever been in. I was actually like a machine. Unfortunately you can’t sort of sustain it when you’re shooting schedule starts, but I just felt brilliant, physically and just mentally sharper. I was just cut and no fat. I could eat burgers if I wanted and it didn’t matter. It was a pretty quick and dramatic transformation.

I was watching a few episodes of last season recently because I was cutting a show reel together, and I barely recognized myself from the last series. The change was really dramatic. I was like, “Who’s that fat Asian girl in Section 20? Oh it’s me.” [Laughs.]

Hardly.
Well, it’s weird because people kept commenting on it and, “Wow look at you. You look so different and this and that and blah, blah, blah. And you’ve really done this. Well done.” And I sort of was like, “Oh, I just sort of feel like the same person.” But now in hindsight looking back at last year I go, “Oh wow. Yes. Now I really see it.” And I’m kind of proud of that. Yes.

Well this season you really do look tough.
Hey! I’m really not in real life because that’s all acting as well Curt. [Laughs.]

Did you talk to women in the military during your research for this?
No I didn’t. it was all boys. I wish that I’d had access to a female perspective. I don’t know if it would be dramatically different. But it would be useful and probably something that I would want to do, God willing, if I get the opportunity to go back and continue to develop Julia. It’s absolutely something that I’d want to do.

I was also reading a book recently on post-traumatic stress disorder and it’s such an interesting book. I kind of wish that I’d read it before I’d done the season. It’s sort of brilliantly describing the psyche of men and women in combat. They’ve got this sort of brilliant ability to separate emotions from actions. They constantly have to put aside feelings of fear and doubt and I guess friendship sometimes, just to follow an order to put it through.

It sounds so simple but it’s something I never really considered. I know it’s certainly something that I couldn’t do for real. I’d probably get shot while I was scratching my head and weighing out the pros and cons.

So that’s another level of research that I would definitely want to engage in if we were to go again—that and also women in the military.

You’ve really explored PTSD this season with Stonebridge's story.
Absolutely. I think it’s a really interesting development for Phil’s character and yes, a new angle for the show as well. I think a great thing about the show particularly this season, it’s more than just a show about blowing shit up. Do you know what I mean? it’s more complicated than good guys and bad guys. I think we’re really trying to explore why people do the things that they do and why they make the decisions that they make.

That sort of personal conflict or inner conflict is a brilliant place to discover drama and I’m hoping that that’s the route that we’ll go. Phil’s character sets a perfect example of how that’s evolving. Julia as well ... has some tough judgment calls to make ... Also with Scott as well I think, with the Mossad agent. And so for him as well you’re seeing it’s not just black and white. It’s a gray area and I think that that’s the difference between a shoot-’em-up action show and real drama. Hopefully we’re sort of bridging the gap.

You and Tim Pigott-Smith [who guest-starred as Patrick Burton in the season premiere] both trained at the Bristol Old Vic. Did that come up?
Ohhh, Tim Pigott-Smith, I love that man! We didn’t actually talk about that. We talked about possibly everything else but that didn’t come up. And most of the stuff we talked about was absolute nonsense, because let me tell you, and I don’t care who knows it, that man is naughty. He is just absolutely naughty, but I kind of love that. He’s such a consummate professional, but just an absolute menace on set.

Because he’s so brilliant, he can literally just be messing around like seconds before "action" and turn it on and give an award-winning performance. Whereas I’m not as experienced as him so I need just a few moments to sort my head out before we go. He made that tricky sometimes, but he’s just brilliant.

It’s been fantastic to have such brilliant and accomplished guest actors come on. It just raises the bar and just makes our job harder, OK? [Laughs.] But just so rewarding too, to work with people like Tim and Charles [Dance] is pretty phenomenal.

What got you into acting?
Originally I wanted to be a ballet dancer. I trained at the Royal Ballet in London. And when I was very young they told me that I wouldn’t ever be a ballet dancer and I should broaden my horizons, which obviously is heartbreaking when you’re 15 and someone’s told you “no.”

I sort of wasted a few years trying to prove them wrong and then realized, “No, actually they were right,” and started doing other things. I learned other disciplines in dance, which I found I was gifted at. And I found acting, which was also something that I found I had a flair for. It was completely underdeveloped but it was something that really gave me joy, probably if I’m really honest unlike anything I’d experienced before.

At a very young age I won a lead role in a musical [“Cats” in Hamburg]. And when you were that young and someone offered you loads of money and a fabulous part you go, “OK, well, I’ll do that then,” without actually really giving it that much thought. And so I went off to sing and dance for a while. It was a difficult decision. ... But very soon after I realized actually that it’s kind of what I really wanted to do. And even though things were going brilliantly in my other career I felt that if I didn’t give [acting school] a go, I’d probably always regret it. And so I gave up a fantastic job and became a student again and went to Bristol.

Were you 17 then, 17 or 18?
Yes, so that was kind of why I headed off in that direction without sort of really giving it much thought. I was like, "Oh OK, I’ll go and do this then." But I’m kind of happy where I’m at now and I’m loving what I’m doing. Like every actor I’m sort of greedy and want more. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to flourish and continue to work and hopefully get better and do good work and more work.

I don’t know. It’s a scary job this. This profession is, when it’s bad it’s bad but when it’s good it’s just awesome. This job [“Strike Back”] is a perfect example. The last two years have been absolutely sensational. Spending six months of the year in Cape Town with amazing people, doing a job that I love, getting to do things I’d never normally get to do and getting paid for it. It’s just so good. If I’m ever feeling a bit sorry for myself or I’m worried about the future, I have to remind myself of those moments. I think that it’s easy to forget and we shouldn’t. It’s a great, great job.

And also, I have absolutely no other skills so I kind of have to stick with it. I can’t do anything else. [Laughs.] So I’d be sloshing brew, I think, if I decided one day to give it up.

You are from London?
Well, really my dad was in the army and so we moved around all the time. So I’ve had a real gypsy lifestyle and kind of not really from anywhere. I went to boarding school very young. I went to boarding school at 8. My mom’s Chinese. She’s from Singapore.

You’re back in London and what have you been up to?
I’m back in London. I’m actually really enjoying it. ... When I came back it was just really lovely and I caught up with friends and family. I went to see theater, which I love and which sort of wasn’t really available to me in the last six or seven months. I actually go to favorite restaurants and just do all of those things that I’d forgotten about or I forgot I loved. And it’s been awesome being back but ... I’m getting itchy feet now. I want to do stuff.

I haven’t actually been seen for any theater. It’s a bit tricky just in terms of logistics. A long-term commitment now is tricky just in terms of my commitment to “Strike Back.” ... If I can squeeze something else in obviously I’ll jump at the chance. But it has to be the right project.

Do you find yourself being recognized on the street?
No. Do you know what? No one ever recognizes me, not from “Strike Back.” It’s really weird. The number of times I’ve been sat with Sully or Rashan and people come up and they go, “Oh my God. I love your show. I’ve seen the box set like 25 times.” And then go to me, “Hey, so what do you do?”
It’s so strange. It’s really so frustrating not because I want to be recognized, but it’s because people that say they’ve seen the show and know it don’t even recognize me. And it’s like, “Wow, my performance must’ve been epic for them not to even recognize me.” And the boys whisper and they go, “No, it’s because you look so glam in real life no one would ever know it was you.” And I’m like, “Yes, yes.”

Are you wearing a green T-shirt when you go out with those guys?
No, I don’t wear green anymore even though I love green. [Laughs.] It’s brilliant. Do you know what? I’d like to think I’m one of the boys, but I am sort of quite a girly girl in the sense that I like my clothes. When I’m not working I like to paint my nails and zhuzh around in heels. But we go to cast and crew events, to parties and the crew wouldn’t talk to me for ages. It was really weird. I realized it’s because they didn’t know who I was. [Laughs.] It was amazing and then like half an hour would go past and they’d go, “Oh my God. Shelly it’s you.” And I’d be like, “Hello.” I don’t know. Maybe I look very different in real life or maybe I’m just rubbish. [Laughs.]

I don’t think it’s the rubbish part.
Oh bless you. I have to say I’ve had lots of lovely letters of encouragement from people that watch our show. It’s been really nice because I was a bit sort of nervous about how I was going to be received this season. “Are they going to hate me being in the field? Are they going to think I’m rubbish?” All those usual paranoid actor things. And for the most part everyone’s been so brilliantly supportive.

"Alexander" was your first movie gig?
Yes, yes, I believe it was. It was my first movie experience, let's say that. I don't think it really qualifies as a role, but it is currently my first movie experience. I did more behind-the-scenes than I did on-camera for that because there's a lot of dance and movement in the film and I looked after that side. I rehearsed with Rosario [Dawson], helped her get her dancing up to scratch, and rehearsed the girls. Being in the film was almost like a little sort of just postscript to the other work I did.

But it was a phenomenal experience. If you want a big movie experience in terms of production, you couldn't really get bigger than that at that time. It was just insane. I just remember going down onto the set the first time.

I had to go down and see Oliver [Stone] because he had to OK my costume, blah, blah, blah. We were filming the Atlas Mountains and I remember just coming around the corner and my jaw dropping open because nestled in the mountains is this most incredible sort of vision, I don't know, there were hundreds and hundreds of supporting artists. There was a cage with a panther in it. There were dancing girls.

It was just absolutely bonkers. It was just so vibrant and exciting. I thought—well I didn't think anything at the time, I was too overwhelmed. But I knew I wanted a piece of that. That's quite good times. I thought, “I could get used to this.” Yeah, so it was a great sort of baptism into the movie world.

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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:30 pm

http://www.tvequals.com/2012/10/12/exclusive-interview-director-michael-bassett-on-filming-strike-back-season-2-character-deaths-and-more/

Exclusive Interview: Director Michael Bassett On Filming Strike Back Season 2, Character Deaths and More

Strike Back ep8 day14 Michael Bassett

After speaking with Philip Winchester and Michelle Lukes, time now to get a behind-the-scenes look into how the magic happens.

In an exclusive interview, TV Equals had the opportunity to chat with director Michael Bassett, (Silent Hill: Revelation 3D) who shot a few Strike Back episodes this season, to ask him about the cinematic qualities behind the series, how to handle the death of a main character and more.

Check out what he had to say below and don’t miss the season finale of Strike Back which airs at 10pm on Cinemax.

(Note: The following interview contains spoilers of the current season. Do not read it if you haven’t caught up yet and don’t want to be spoiled.)

So it appears that you are back for a third season. Congratulations.

Michael Bassett: Yes, I am indeed, I am delighted about it. I have had an absolute blast making this show, it was the first television that I have ever done and so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and it was all the fun you could imagine and so much more and so I’m delighted to be coming back.

You mentioned that this is sort of your first foray in directing a TV series like “Strike Back” which has such a cinematic feel to it. How was the experience overall?

Michael Bassett: I made a film called Solomon Kane which is out now in the U.S. if you want to go see it, and Phil [Winchester] was in it. I tried to cast Phil a few years earlier, when he was a great young actor; he auditioned for me and I really liked him, really wanted to use him, and so when the opportunity came to put him in a movie, I put him in a movie, and then we went our separate ways again.

So Phil and I were just exchanging our Christmas cards and I said, “What have you been up to?” He said, “I have been doing Strike Back” and I said, “oh yes, I know about Strike Back, it was a great fun show” this is the season two in the UK, the season one for the U.S. and he said “I think you should come and do one.” I kind of went “well, yes, that would be great” in a kind of casual friend way of not really thinking it was serious but he went “no, no seriously, it is right up your alley, they are great characters, loads of actions, with a really cinematic feel. Would you come do it?”

So I said “Phil, I would genuinely like to come and join you on the adventure.” And then a week later, I got a call from the producer. So I went down and said, I love the show and I haven’t done TV but I have made low budget movies as well as some medium budget movies and that is why I understand the pressures.

But the key was something like Strike Back, you are aspiring to cinematic levels of action. It does have the limitations of TV budget and TV schedules but I think myself and the other directors who come on board are all very aware that we are trying to deliver something which makes fullest use of modern audio video technology and so the people who sit in their home, they have big TVs and they have big sounds systems, and you want to play in the biggest way possible.

So you went to South Africa, right?

Michael Bassett: Yes, we shot this in and around Capetown. The story this time was very Africa-centric and so it blends itself really nicely, especially with the political undercurrent and the theme of empowerment of Africa. Actually there was a line in my episode with Eamonn Walker, who is the African leader been broken out of prison by Charles Dance to lead a coup to take power, he says “Who are you to give me back my own country?” and I remember reading that and thinking that is a really smart line and it is a story that shows the political undercurrent. It is in those little moments where you can sort of discover that there is more going on than just Phil Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton running around shooting things.

Definitely having more depth with socio-economic or political aspects make it really interesting to watch.

Michael Bassett: It’s completely true because the writers and the production team spend time before we even write the script, they look at the socio-political world and say: “OK, where is the next thing happening?”. So they will talk to experts in the armed services and in the world of spooks and things.

Our goal is to drive our stories to be current and to allow us to do our action adventure but at the same time to say something and be relevant and have a resonance where people watching it 12 months after we started producing it will go: “yes, yes, I see where they are coming from”.

I think that is kind of why the show resonates with people because it is not just terrific action but it is also something more. As a director, I also come out with the writer’s eye, and you see the structures and you see the ideas going through that so you try and preserve those in the midst of all the chaos and the action.

You shot one of the most gut-wrenching scenes of the season, the death of Major Sinclair. Can you talk about that?

Michael Bassett: It is very, very cool to be able to take out a principle character because from a pure filmmaker’s point of view, I get to do something which is clearly going to be a turning point for all the other characters. And Rhashan [Stone], who is a fabulous actor and great guy was ready to leave, and so knowing that somewhere within the story of Strike Back, he was going to be our sacrificial lamb. I spoke to the writers and we thought it would be terrific if we can deliver it.

So it has to be in the rain, it has to be on his knees, I wanted him to go in a way where you are absolutely certain that the boys are going to turn up in time. That was a key for this, and nobody has to assume that you are not going to kill a principal, he is going to be rescued, but how the hell can it happen? The gun is pointed in his head, the guys are out there and then the gun goes off. It is wonderful to be able to deliver that.

So you did do it on purpose.

Michael Bassett: Completely and the guy who played the South African villain was so terrific as well and I asked him to say the line “Do you have children?”

Rhashan and I talked quite a lot about whether he should reply to it or whether he shouldn’t. He said “Yes, I’ve got kids” and by the way, we think that he did have, and so we decided to have two versions: one where he says, yes, and one where he doesn’t get to speak.

I told him that I want the last thing to go through his mind is to be with his family. Really, I want it to be like a rabid punch to the gut, there is no point in doing it unless you are going to do it like that. Because it has to be in rain, we got to just do this and it’s kind of a wildly chaotic environment and it makes the shooting of it terribly difficult but it paid off.

I read recently some Facebook comments on the Strike Back page and people are outraged that we killed Sinclair and that is the perfect response.

Philip and Sullivan seem to have this great chemistry on and off set. What are the advantages for a director to have actors with that great of a relationship?

Michael Bassett: First, the boys bring great physicality and serious training in all sorts of areas, to a point where the army guys who they train with said they could be real soldiers. So they are both very knowledgeable about that aspect. But the other side to it is in the relationship side, and they are both terrific guys. Now, Sullivan, as you know, is an Australian guy, he is a wild guy and he is fantastic to have around and Phil is such a gentleman, he is a nice decent family man, with a great sense of humor, so he is the rock and Sullivan really is chaos, around the foundation.

So when the two of them get together, it creates such wonderful chemistry that you can just basically point the camera at them and just say “Action”. Really what you are trying to do is shape their energies so that you have something which the audience can relate to. They can have their favorite, like “Oh, I like Michael Stonebridge because he is this.” And “I love Scott because he is this.” And that is really the heart of the show. It’s what these two guys bring to it in their chemistry. Plus they are so great that on set, I realize that I’m having too much fun just hanging out between takes.

Season 3 and you are king for a day. There is no budget limit for the episode you are working on, what would you love to do?

Michael Bassett: I mean that is a really tricky question. I’m king for a day and there is no budget — I have a desire to do more stuff in the water.

Phil said the same thing

Michael Bassett: Oh, did he? That is brilliant. Well, Michael Stonebridge’s character, he is Special Air Service, right? The problem is that water on a budget is incredibly hard to do. It is just chaos waiting to happen and it always gets in the way. But if I had unlimited resources, I would love to do some.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:45 pm

http://articles.redeyechicago.com/2012-09-29/entertainment/34166874_1_ribs-fight-sequence-craig-hanson

'Strike Back' debrief: How to crack someone's ribs
SHOW PATROL
September 29, 2012|By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol | RedEye

Spoiler alert: If you haven't watched Episode 18 of "Strike Back," spoilers ahead.

The actors in the military drama "Strike Back" may just be pretending to fight, fire weapons and kill enemies in various ways, but that doesn't mean they don't get hurt.

Take, for instance, Shane Taylor, who plays one of this season's bad guys, former soldier-turned-killer Craig Hanson. In the Sept. 28 episode, Hanson has a run-in with Damien Scott, played by series star Sullivan Stapleton. And, well, somebody got hurt. I'll let director Michael Bassett explain:

"There is a fight sequence ... which is so brutal Sully broke the actor's ribs," Bassett told me at San Diego Comic Con. "[It was] entirely by accident. There were all the fight coordinators around, so it's safe, it's safe, it's safe, but when you're really going for it as intensely as you can that's what happens."

According to Stapleton, Taylor's ribs may have been cracked before their fight scene, which you can see in the exclusive video above. "I didn't break his ribs," Stapleton says in the video, laughing. "He says I broke his ribs; I didn't break his ribs."

Stapleton claims Taylor mentioned he was feeling some rib pain before their fight, but he hadn't consulted with a doctor about it. He adds, "I was as gentle as I could be."

I you believe what Bassett says about Stapleton, you might doubt the actor. The director told me that all the cast members and guest stars go 100 percent when filming action sequences in an effort to make them as believable as possible. The actors do about 95 percent of the stunt work, according Philip Winchester, who plays Scott's partner Stonebridge. But when Stapleton fights, Bassett said, it's almost for real.

"When Sully fights he gives no quarter whatsoever. He fights like he means it and you can see it in his eyes," Bassett said. "For the actor he's fighting, that's tricky, but for me as a director it's absolutely wonderful. ... For me, I love it."

Taylor's character, Craig Hanson, apparently can handle as much pain as the actor. He's been shot, his face has been burned by steam and he's survived a car wreck. But with only two episodes left in the season, I have to think he's going to finally pay for murdering Stonebridge's wife. Winchester didn't take the bait when I fished for an answer during an earlier interview. But he did praise Taylor.

"Shane Taylor came in and he just smashed Hanson so hard," Winchester said. "He did such an amazing job at making him human. He made him likable and he made him a character that you just love to hate as well, but he just did such a good job of humanizing this sort of animal."

You'll have to watch the final two episodes to see what happens to Hanson, and how Taylor rebounded after those alleged cracked ribs. Cinemax debuts new episodes of "Strike Back" at 9 p.m. CT Fridays.

By the way: Shane Taylor, if Sully really did crack your ribs, he says he's sorry. (Call me, we'll clear this up.)

Want more? Discuss this article and others on Show Patrol's Facebook page.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:59 am

http://www.tvwise.co.uk/2013/03/drama-series-law-order-uk-poirot-strike-back-book-guest-stars/

Drama Series ‘Law & Order: UK’, ‘Poirot’ & ‘Strike Back’ Book Guest Stars
By Patrick Munn - March 5th, 2013 @ 09:40 am UTC
Category: News / UK News

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that former Sinbad star Elliot Knight has landed (and I’m told already completed shooting) a guest lead on the seventh season of ITV’s Law & Order: UK. The exact nature of Knight’s role is being kept under wraps but one source tells me he was “a joy to work with.” A relative newcomer, Elliot Knight, repped by Affirmative Entertainment and Payne Management, is best know for playing the eponymous lead character on Sky1′s action series Sinbad, which was cancelled by the broadcaster last week. Law & Order: UK, produced by Kudos Film and Television and Wolf Films, is based on the well known US series Law & Order and follows the investigation of a major crime by the Metropolitan Police Service and the subsequent prosecution undertaken by the Crown Prosecution Service. The series was renewed by ITV with an 8 episode order back in August, with the broadcaster eyeing a May premiere.

Peter Symonds has booked a guest role on ITV’s Poirot: The Big Four. My source has described the part as a “minor but significant role.” Symonds will be playing Jonathan Whalley, one of the many murder victims in the movie. Poirot: The Big Four is one of the final four adaptations being produced for ITV, the movie was adapted by Mark Gatiss and Ian Hallard and is being directed by Peter Lydon. In the movie Poirot (David Suchet) finds himself plunged into a world of global espionage where he uncovers a tale of murder, secrets, lies and love, set against the backdrop of the impending World War II. As a deadly game of chess unfolds, Russian grandmaster, Dr Ivan Savaranoff (Michael Culkin) meets a shocking end, sending the public spiralling into panic, as suspicion is cast upon Peace Party stalwarts Abe Ryland (James Carroll Jordan) and Madame Olivier (Patricia Hodge). In one of his toughest challenges yet, Poirot must work out who the good guys are from the bad, as a complex plot sees a host of international figures used like pawns by a gang of dangerous dissidents tagged “The Big Four”. The Big Four also stars Philip Jackson, Tom Brooke, Sarah Parish, Nicholas Burn, Teres Banham and Simon Lowe.

Finally, Greg Kolpakchi has landed a guest role on the new season of the Sky1/Cinemax action series Strike Back. Kolpakchi will play Victor, one of the terrorists being tracked by Section 20. I’m hearing rumblings that it may be a recurring role, but I’ve been unable to confirm that. Kolpakchi’s previous credits include Waterloo Road and World War Z. Based on the novel of the same name by Chris Ryan, Strike Back follows the exploits of Section 20, an elite counterterrorism unit as it spans the globe to stop potential threats, often behind enemy lines. The drama series is produced by Left Bank Pictures in association with BSkyB & HBO/Cinemax and stars Phillip Winchester, Sullivan Stapleton and Rhona Mitra. As TVWise previously reported, Robson Green has also joined the cast as a series regular playing Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Lock, the new CO of Section 20. The new season is under the reins of new showrunner Michael J. Basset after former showrunner and co-executive producer Tony Saint left the show to begin work on a new 8 part drama series for BBC One titled The Interceptor.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:23 pm

http://www.accesshollywood.com/rhona-mitra-on-rachel-daltons-dark-strike-back-season-3-journey-and-sailing-on-tnts-the-last-ship_article_83940

Rhona Mitra On Rachel Dalton’s Dark Strike Back Season 3 Journey

First Published: September 6, 2013 3:33 PM EDT Credit: Cinemax
Philip Winchester and Rhona Mitra in ‘Strike Back’ Season 2Caption

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- “Strike Back” has taken Rhona Mitra’s character, Major Rachel Dalton, into new depths on the Cinemax series’ third season.

“It was really lovely to actually be able to give Rachel Dalton, I think, the breadth and the space that she needed to be, who I’ve always believed her to be,” Rhona told AccessHollywood.com of her Season 3 “Strike Back” arc, which has so far, seen her go from confident commander to an impulsive and unhinged one.

A few weeks ago, in the show’s season opener, Rachel watched one of her men get murdered in front of her. As the subsequent episodes have rolled out, she’s been on a mission (alongside Michael Stonebridge and Damian Scott) to get the terrorist behind it all – al-Zuhari.

“It’s one of her soldiers [who was killed], so the personal responsibility that she starts to feel for being accountable for men that are under her guidance… I think for any human being you start to see the chinks in the armor and I think her fragility as a woman and as a human, she starts questioning who she is,” Rhona explained. “I think that’s what happens to all men and women in the military is they get to the point where lives are being lost again and again. I suppose it’s that perspective, that point you reach your own personal cul-de-sac, where your life becomes so twisted that you start to become unraveled.”

The new season of “Strike Back” has put Rhona on the screen with a host of guest stars, including “Men Behaving Badly” and “Doc Martin” actor Martin Clunes, who played former agent Sebastian Grey.

“I adore him,” she said of the actor. “He’s just the most lovely and the most entertaining, and as a child I grew up with him and… he’s such a sweetheart and what a gentleman.”

Rhona also called Robson Green, who plays Major Locke, “a darling,” but admits she “missed” out on his career as a pop star in the mid-nineties, alongside eventual “Game of Thrones” actor Jerome Flynn (Bronn on “GOT”).

With “Strike Back” a Cinemax summer series, Rhona has joined the cast of TNT’s 2014-due apocalyptic drama “The Last Ship,” from executive producer Michael Bay.

The series, based on the novel by William Brinkley, stars Eric Dane Dane as Captain Tom Chandler, a leader who survives a global catastrophe.

Rhona plays a paleomicrobiologist, who is working on the U.S.S. Nathan James and investigating what killed billions worldwide.

“I’m playing another Rachel,” she said of her “The Last Ship” character.

“The crazy thing is my new character’s called Rachel Scott,” she said, pointing out her character has a surname in common with Sullivan Stapleton’s “Strike Back” character, Damian Scott.

And once again, she’s in a fight for the good side.

“Someone’s got to do it — save the world,” she said.

The actress’ new series is currently underway.

“It sounds more big budget than it is,” she said when Access asked about the scale of the show. “TNT are very supportive of their shows, so we get a very great amount of support from them, but it’s also the Navy who have been very generous and the military, again, being very generous with their toys.”

“The Last Ship” will premiere on TNT next year. “Strike Back” airs Friday nights at 10 PM on Cinemax.

-- Jolie Lash
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:13 pm

http://www.craveonline.com/tv/interviews/196927-michelle-lukes-on-strike-back#.UmRb2K-IopU.twitter

Michelle Lukes on ‘Strike Back’
Lukes tells us what's ahead for her character and how she trained for the role.
September 28th, 2012 Fred Topel

“Strike Back” is a manly man’s show, but there’s always room for a tough girl. Michelle Lukes is original tough girl of Cinemax’s incarnation of the British series.

Lukes’ character, Sgt. Julia Richmond has been there from the beginning, and this season she even got into the field. We got to chat with Lukes by phone for our own private debrief on Sgt. Richmond’s upcoming missions and her dossier of qualifications for the show.

Photo Credit: HBO / David Bloomer


CraveOnline: What's coming up for Julia Richmond?

Michelle Lukes: Oh, some exciting stuff. Gosh it is really difficult without giving too much away. There’s some really cool stuff coming up for her. I think you get to really get inside her head in the next sort of two to three episodes. You get to know more about her loyalties and her relationships and she has tough judgment calls which that sort of stuff is more interesting than perhaps we’ve a chance in the past. You see another layer I guess which has been brilliant for me to play, just great stuff and sort of real emotional stuff which is fantastic.

So I hope people will enjoy seeing this side to her because we have already seen this season sort of the Julia in the field which has also been a lovely, lovely change for the character. But I think as we go further on into the series there is more twists and turns and yeah, you get to see yet another side to her. So hopefully people enjoy it. I think they will so fingers crossed we will see.

CraveOnline: Have you been waiting a long time to develop this side of her?

Michelle Lukes: Oh totally, totally, totally. I mean, this year just in terms of the physicality and the action has just been such a gift for me. I was so jealous last year when the boys were out and they had all this training and it just seemed like super, super fun and I was always kind of really keen to get involved with that but wasn't sure whether that was the direction my character would ever go.

And so coming back this year and having that alone has just been amazing. Physically, I have really enjoyed the new challenges but also the emotional challenges that are coming up or that you will see coming up have also been a real gift too because I guess it is just the characters evolving. And I think the last series you really got to know who she is and you do start to get to know who she is this year and it is just wonderful.

It is wonderful for me to discover as an actor, I hope really wonderful for fans and the viewers to sort of get to know her too. So it is really exciting, super exciting and I am very pleased with how it is sort of panning out for Julia.

CraveOnline: I like seeing you in the field too but is that control room fun also?

Michelle Lukes: Do you mean when the cameras are rolling or when the cameras are off? Inside Section 20 in the remote command, I have to say just sort of from an actor's perspective those scenes are always super, super fun because usually all the team are together and it is just, I don't know if I should say this but it is just a great sort of chance for us to all get together and there is a lot of sort of fun, there is a lot of games and it is just a really lovely working environment.

It is a great sort of mix between work and play and it is not often that we all get to do scenes together. I think each of us really sort of cherish those few moments because we are all very fond of each other in our little unit. Those scenes in Section 20 are a lot of fun to do together. So yay.

CraveOnline: Did you have any special training for the show?

Michelle Lukes: Yeah, we had a huge amount. It never feels like enough but I am so, so grateful for what we had. We went out to South Africa and we had almost a month of training prior to the shoot. We had various sorts of counter terrorism and military advisors that took us through the training and it was an incredible experience.

And I guess I am really pleased that we had that made available to us. I mean, on a personal level as an actor to have gone through that before stepping on set is just brilliant because hopefully it just sort of informs the performance in such a way that you just wouldn't be able to do without having that knowledge. Also we feel like we have a certain responsibility to the people, the men and women that do this job for real and I would hate to be responsible for maybe trivializing it or not giving it the sort of gravitas and the respect it deserves.

I think that going through the training will hopefully help us to do that. I mean, my dad is in the military so I had a sort of very, very basic knowledge of what was involved in terms of lifestyle and training but nothing compares to when you go through it yourself. I think it is as close to reality as it gets. I mean they didn't treat us like actors at all. We were squadees and we were there to work hard and be soldiers and it was just brilliant. We did defense techniques and combat strategy, weapons training, reconnaissance and I guess even just the physical fitness was just insane.

By the end of the month I think I probably felt the best I have ever felt, just physically felt brilliant. I felt like a machine. But unfortunately you can't maintain that once you stop but to have that, you know, preparation was just brilliant. And also brilliant for us actors to spend four weeks together sitting in full camo in boiling heat in bunkers eating like really, really sh*t food out of foil bags. And it is just a real great sort of bonding experience. So yes the training was awesome and it was really fun as well. It was brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

CraveOnline: How does it feel to fire a gun?

Michelle Lukes: I really liked it. I don't know if that is good to say or not. I surprised myself actually. I was quite nervous beforehand just for really sort of girly reasons like the noise alone. And once I had sort of done it the first couple of times, I really got into it and I am quite the perfectionist as well so I, you know, I would do something, they would tell me I am doing it wrong, I would go back to again, we filmed everything so we could watch ourselves and it was just really fun.

Practice, practice, practice and have the luxury of practice to try and get things right. All the training was just so exhilarating and not just the sort of weapons training but even the unarmed combat and the sort of the knife fighting is great sort of learning.

I mean those sorts of fights like dances almost. So much choreography. I got to do things that I would never do in reality, absolutely never do. I mean I hadn't even gone to paintball or anything beforehand so it was just real sort of new experience for me and brilliant, again just brilliant.



CraveOnline: When Rhona Mitra joined the cast was it nice to have another woman in the cast?

Michelle Lukes: It is always brilliant when a woman comes in. And I love the boys. I love boys, but it is just so much testosterone around set and stuff it is just a real joy to sort of have another female energy and sometimes do girly things and go to dinner and, have our nails painted and stuff and just sort of be girls because it is such a masculine environment and the job is very, very masculine.

It is just great to have that sort of that release almost. So yes, I love it when all the girls come on set. It is just a joy and, you know, every block is new group of girls and it is quite nice. We all kind of stick together and do our thing.I am still friends with actually a lot of the girls that have come and gone on the show. So yes, it is great to get new girls on.

CraveOnline: So even the villain girls bond with you.

Michelle Lukes: Yeah, totally, totally, even the villains. I don't know it is funny, I don't know if it is just the nature of the show but I found in last season and especially this season we were all thrown together and it just felt like a sorority. I don't know, I don't know it is strange but yes good guys, bad guys, it is just really nice actually going to work and just know that you have a girl there watching your back. It’s awesome. It’s always such a treat to get the girls on.

CraveOnline: Did you beat other tough girls for the role of Julia?

Michelle Lukes: I don't know who else was seen for the role. Of course it was a very, very, very quick process. I have a feeling they sort of rethought the part of Julia quite close to the beginning of filming and thought perhaps that she was a role that they might want to develop in the future. So I think various decisions were made quite close to the time of production.

Brilliantly I got a phone call out of the blue from the casting director who had seen me in other stuff before but never had the opportunity to call me in. He called and he said, “I have got this part and you are perfect for it. Would you like to come in and meet me? I haven't seen you for a while.” So I went in. He gave me the first four Eps of last season. I had a quick read and the next day I had a screen test. Then a week later they said, “Can you be on a plane to South Africa in three days?”

It was mental. It was absolutely bonkers. But I totally owe him this job and it was I guess hopefully the right decision for everyone. It is weird because I am so protective over her now. I just can't imagine anyone else doing it.

CraveOnline: Well you made your debut in Alexander. How did that come about for you and how long had you been auditioning and acting before then?

Michelle Lukes: I hadn't really been acting at all. I was trained as a dancer and I had done this professionally for quite a while. And somebody, a friend of mine had asked whether I would be interested in being sort of a movement supervisor dance captain on the film because there were a lot of dances, a lot of movement. And Rosario [Dawson] who is the lead had to do some dancing and I was sort of brought in initially to sort of coach her and rehearse her and then as it happens they said "do you want to do it as well?"

And I was like "okay, why not?" So I kind of appeared in the film that way rather than sort of traditional way of going to an audition and trying to sell your wares but a great opportunity and a fantastic experience. It was my first experience of being on a massive film set and I remember going down onto set on the first day. We had been rehearsing for about three or four weeks and I went down to see Oliver [Stone] because he needed to okay my costume.

I remember walking onto set which was on the Atlas Mountains and my jaw like literally dropping open. I was so overwhelmed. I mean, it was bonkers. There were hundreds and hundreds of supporting artists. There were panthers in cages, bears and music and it was such a vibrant, exciting place. I though yeah I could get involved with this. This is something I could do. It was just a really, really inspiring experience. So another opportunity that I am really grateful for. And I guess helps me to get to where I am today.

CraveOnline: Yes so you got the bug from that?

Michelle Lukes: I did. I think I got the bug much earlier but I wasn't brave enough to perhaps to perhaps pursue it until later. I guess that is what it was.

CraveOnline: Are you working on anything else or is it all “Strike Back” right now?

Michelle Lukes: It is a bit “Strike Back.” I have my finger in a few pies but at that early stage where I can't really talk about anything at the moment. But I am still 100% committed to “Strike Back” and God willing we will get to see more of Julia in the future. So fingers crossed.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back actors   Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:24 pm

http://www.craveonline.com/tv/interviews/549759-milauna-jackson-on-strike-back-season-3

Milauna Jackson on ‘Strike Back’ Season 3
Meet the newest actress to join Section 20 in Cinemax’s blockbuster action series.
August 8th, 2013 Blair Marnell

Milauna Jackson

“Strike Back” Season 3 kicks off tomorrow. And this year, Scott and Stonebridge are getting a new teammate named Kim Martinez, as played by Milauna Jackson.

At Comic-Con International, CraveOnline’s Erin Darling caught up with Jackson to find out more about her new character, as well as Jackson’s weapons and military training for the show, her favorite weapon, the more personal tone of this season’s story and she offered a few hints about Kim’s backstory.


You can also check out our one-on-one interviews with Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton, as well as our complete report from the "Strike Back" panel at Comic-Con.

“Strike Back” Season 3 starts tomorrow, August 9 at 10pm only on Cinemax!
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