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 Strike Back interviews

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Join date : 2011-03-24

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PostSubject: Strike Back interviews   Strike Back interviews EmptySun Aug 14, 2011 5:00 pm


Strike Back: Project Dawn coming to Sky One

August 8th, 2011 by Lisa McGarry. No comments

High-octane drama blasts back onto Sky 1 HD this August for a super-sized second series of Strike Back: Project Dawn. Extended to ten parts and marking the first ever co-production between Sky and HBO/cinemax, the sequel continues Sky 1 HD’s commitment to original drama.

Strike Back was an immediate hit, starring Richard Armitage (The Hobbit, Spooks) in an explosive tale of betrayal, glory, redemption and revenge. In Strike Back: Project Dawn Armitage resumes his role as John Porter, and he’s in a whole world of trouble. When he’s kidnapped by an international terrorist group, Head of Section 20, Colonel Eleanor Grant (Amanda Mealing, Holby City), dispatches Sergeant Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester, Camelot, Fringe) to lead Porter’s rescue.

Teaming up with former US Special Forces operative, Damian Scott (Sullivan Stapleton, Animal Kingdom), and Captain Kate Marshall (Eva Birthistle, Waking The Dead), Stonebridge sets out to save his colleague and stop the terrorists, triggering an adrenaline-fuelled adventure boasting original globetrotting storylines brimming with breath-taking action.

After decoding a secret message from Porter, episode one sees the team heading to The Royal Lotus Hotel in New Delhi, India. Section 20 set up a remote command and, with the help of Major Jamal Ashkani (Jimi Mistry, East is East) from Pakistan Intelligence, Stonebridge and Scott infiltrate the hotel. They suspect that infamous terrorist leader Latif will show up, who was responsible for Porter’s abduction.

But all hell breaks loose as a group of Pakistani terrorists invade the hotel. After rounding up terrified hostages and rigging the hotel entrance with explosives, the siege has begun. Completely trapped and with time running out, can Stonebridge and Scott work together and rescue the hostages?

Talking about his character Sergeant Michael Stonebridge, Philip Winchester commented: “He is dedicated, disciplined, always plays by the rules and often saves the day. Stonebridge directs his energy trying to protecting others. But as the story unfolds we see that Stonebridge is not the knight in shining armour…”.

Sullivan Stapleton plays ladies’ man and maverick soldier Damien Scott. Talking about his relationship with the straight-laced Stonebridge he commented: “They have a professional respect for each other. At the start they rubbed each other up the wrong way. Scott would definitely get on Stonebridge’s nerves cause of his undisciplined ways. Scott has nothing to hide. What you see is what you get and what you get is a very honest, reliable risk-taking naughty boy.”

Swapping her stethoscope for deadly weaponry, Amanda Mealing is thrilled to be playing Head of Section 20. Talking about her character Colonel Grant, she describes her as : “Tough! Tough! Tough! Hard as nails. She is very contained, very direct, very driven. The beauty of it is I get to exorcise this alter ego. I love it!”.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back interviews   Strike Back interviews EmptySun Aug 14, 2011 5:21 pm


Lucky 'Strike'
Action series combines the violence of ‘24’ With humor of ‘Lethal Weapon’


Last Updated: 8:18 AM, August 7, 2011

Posted: 11:37 PM, August 6, 2011

Global terrorism in the era of the bin Laden raid forms the backdrop of the new Cinemax series “Strike Back.” The HBO channel has chosen this production as its first original drama, with strikingly different results from such overly art-directed fare as “Boardwalk Empire.”

The driving force of the show is a stealth British military unit known as Section 20 which pulls out all the stops to capture a heinous Pakistani terrorist known by one name, Latif. Unlike “24,” where terrorist plots were primarily foiled on US soil, “Strike Back” follows the scent of terrorism to India, Chechnya, Prague and London (all shooting was done in South Africa and Budapest) with a pair of brawny daredevils who could take Jack Bauer with one hand behind their backs.

“We go to those countries where the trouble comes from. This is what global war is today,” says executive producer and director Dan Percival, who produced the HBO documentary “Dirty War.”

Based on the novel by Chris Ryan, “Strike Back” was first a British series that caught the eye of HBO execs, who asked Percival to craft a remake that reflected “the real world as it is now,” he says. Research with members of the intelligence community in Britain and America, even before the death of Osama bin Laden, convinced Percival that “the instability of Pakistan is the most critical and volatile issue in the world.”

The reality of the situation was frightening enough, but “Strike Back” still needed fictitious heroes and villains. Little-known actors Sullivan Stapleton and Philip Winchester play Damien Scott, an ex-Delta Force operative with terrorist expertise, and Sgt. Michael Stonebridge, a Section 20 lifer, respectively. They are opposite sides of the same coin. The rugged Scott is a brash womanizer who does some of his best work without benefit of his trousers; the square-jawed and aptly named Stonebridge does everything by the book while fully dressed.

Stapleton and Winchester, who once played Anna Torv’s love interest on “Fringe,” underwent rigorous military-grade physical training for the grueling combat scenes which gave Stapleton, 34, a six-pack for the first time in his life but, after filming one fight scene for seven hours, left him feeling pretty battered.

“I’ve learned in Hungary that whatever your ailments, they’ll give you calcium tablets,” he said, with a laugh.

Winchester had to ingest a 4,000 calorie-a-day diet to balance the workout regimen. His wife, Megan, pitched in, cooking a six-egg omelette with ham and cheese and peppers for breakfast. That was followed by protein shakes, chicken breasts, ostrich steaks and snack packs.

It was a far cry from the time in 2007 when he played Edmund to Ian McKellen’s King Lear at a production of Shakespeare’s tragedy at the BAM’s famed Harvey Theater, but the Montana-born actor adjusted immediately upon meeting the gregarious Stapleton.

“Sully and I met each other at a screen test in London. I really liked him then. We then met up with each other in Capetown. We had a natural banter. Sully’s very much a lad. Out of [our physical] training, these characters developed. Stonebridge has given his life to this company. In comes Damien Scott: He’s a womanizer and a layabout but still gets the job done.”

Winchester was especially relieved that he didn’t have to do any nude scenes. Since Scott beds many of the women who cross his path (or tries to), the Australia-born Stapleton is naked through a good portion of the first episode. In one hilarious scene, he has to relieve a Pakistani terrorist of his firearm while completely starkers.

As for the nudity, he says, “I knew there was bound to be sex, but I didn’t know it was going to be pegged on me. I didn’t think I was going to do all of it.”

There’s more to “Strike Back” than the camaraderie between the two male leads. Section 20 is headed by Col. Eleanor Grant, a cool and controlled woman who favors the Peter Pan haircuts popularized by Morena Baccarin on the defunct sci-fi series “V.” Actress Amanda Mealing had to chop off all of her hair and undergo her own rigorous training. There were some injuries.

“I did work out with the SBS (Special Boat Service) commander. We were boxing. He had a routine and he went off it and I punched him. I dislocated my shoulder,” she says. “He didn’t flinch. These guys are hardcore.”

As the first original series in Cinemax’s launch, “Strike Back” hopes to capture the excitement of 1980s action movie franchises such as “Lethal Weapon” and “Die Hard.” Kary Antholis, President of HBO Miniseries, says that “Strike Back” was the ideal choice for the relaunch of the premium cable network for subscribers because the series blends so well with its most popular movies.

“We looked at high-octane, combat-oriented movies — the “Transporter” movies, the Tarantino movies, “X Men” — and thought that this could be a great and cost-effective way to show a high-action, mini-movie in every episode,” he says.

In the first quarter of 2012, Cinemax will debut a series starring actor Chris Vance and based on the testosterone-fueled Luc Besson “Transporter” movies.


Friday, 10 p.m., Cinemax
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back interviews   Strike Back interviews EmptyMon Aug 29, 2011 6:06 pm


Continuing on from the fan-favourite Sky1 series Strike Back (which was created by Chris Ryan, and starred both Spooks’ Richard Armitage and The Walking Dead’s Andrew Lincoln) Strike Back: Project Dawn (still simply known as Strike Back in the US) takes the series in a new direction, kills off its former main character, and focusses on a former US Special Forces operative who joins the illustrious Section 20, in the hopes of fending off a large-scale terrorist attack.

Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom) stars as Damien Scott; the former US soldier who’s known for being a bit of a rogue, and doing things his own way; and is drafted into the secretive Section 20 (a fictional division of MI6) by a by-the-book operative named Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester, Fringe), and earlier this month we were lucky enough to get time to sit down with the show’s new lead actors (at Empire Presents Big Screen) and discuss their work on the new series of Strike Back…

You’re characters are very different in the show, does that create a lot of tension between them?

Sullivan: Yeh in the show there is, but outside there’s none. In the show they start off, and they don’t like each other very much at all.

Philip: It’s chalk and cheese with them. Michael Stonebridge, the character I play, is very by-the-book, and the only thing I know about Damien; Sully’s character; is that he was dishonorably discharged, he’s ex-Delta Force, and he’s living in a brothel; things Michael isn’t accustomed to; but he realizes, once they get into situations where their lives depend on each other, that they can watch each others back, and they start to trust one another.

And was it difficult stepping in a following the work of Richard Armitage?

Philip: What was great about is that we weren’t so much taking over another actors spot; I mean Richard Armitage did an amazing job in the first series; but it was just refreshing to know that there was going to be a new twist on it. I think the biggest challenge, was just trying to make the military stuff as realistic as possible, and if I can have military guys watch this and say that we have the movements and weapons training down, then that’s the biggest challenge done.

“There are scenes where we’re doing 360 degree handbrake turns in the middle of Cape Town and shooting out the windows… it’s great.”

- Philip Winchester

The first series was obviously very realistic, but Strike Back has also been compared to a James Bond style show. What do you think about that?

Philip: Well I’ve actually said it’s like James Bond meets Jason Bourne. But it’s still very realistic; and that came down to the training.

Sullivan: Well the stuff in the show actually happens. We had military advisors on set who would teach us things, and pick us up on things we were doing wrong; like I threw a grenade once and was told “you swapped hands when you did that”, and when we watched it on the playback he was right. But he actually told us a story where he threw a couple of grenades and forgot to take the tape off, and that’s in the heat of battle, so this stuff does happen.

What was it like filming in Cape Town?

Sullivan: I didn’t know that much about it, other than what I’d seen from documentaries, but you get down there and Cape Town is just a great city; it reminded me a lot of Australia, and we had a ball there; and the best way to see the city was just to run through it, which we did. A lot. Every day.

Philip: We did a lot of things on the outskirts, but episodes 3 and 4 were all set in Cape Town and that was great; there are scenes where we’re doing 360 degree handbrake turns in the middle of Cape Town and shooting out the windows; but it’s just an amazing place, like South Africa in its entirety. One of our special effects guys actually blew the windows out of their City Hall; he blew the doors off using a car bomb in the show…

So were there any other incidents or mishaps while filming?

Philip: No it’s all very professional; as soon as you start the live fire stuff you’re given a talk saying “if anyone does get hit you’ll be taken to a hospital there, or there”; and they try to keep it very real. Obviously you get the normal bumps and bruises, a couple of pulled ankles, and stuff, but we were also able to do the vast majority of our owns stunts, so we got a bit of a battering doing that.

What was the top stunt you were allowed to do?

Sullivan: Probably the fight scene for me that’s in the first episode; where I fought a giant of a man who basically wakes up in the mornings and kicks trees. It was a lot of fun you know.

And which of you found the training the hardest?

Philip: We both found different areas of it hard. Like for me it was the running; Sully’s really good at running, but I’m not much of a runner. What was great about the training though, is that the military guys and the trainers saw both of our weaknesses and went right for them; they put Sully on a diet, and I was doing squats 24/7.

Sullivan: I did find that hard actually. It was the complete opposite, Phil had to gain the weight while I had to lose it, and cutting out food, especially in a place like Cape Town, is quite hard.

“In the first episode I had to fight a giant of a man… It was a lot of fun.”

- Sullivan Stapleton

So you’re both enjoying getting back to normal now?

Both: *Laughs* YES!

Philip: I was put on a diet of about 4000 calories each day, so I found it challenging to actually get enough food; my wife was cooking me a 6 egg omelette in the morning, 2 hours later I’d do a protein shake and a refreshment shake, and 2 hours after that id have a steak lunch, 2 hrs later protein shake, and then another meal at night with chicken breasts, so it was just constant eating.

And does any of that put you off coming back for a 3rd season?

Philip: Absolutely not. I’d do it again tomorrow.

Sullivan: No. Well, I’d need a bit of a break, but I kind of liked it. I’ve never had a 6 pack before, and now I’ve got the start of a little six pack; at the age of 34; so it can be done, and its bullshit if anyone says they’re not genetically built like that; which I used to say.

Strike Back: Project Dawn is currently airing on Sky1 and Sky1HD in the UK (on Sundays at 9pm), and on Cinemax in the US (on Fridays at 10pm), with repeats airing throughout the week, and the possibility of a third series on the way.

Matt Wheeldon.
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