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'Strike Back' Returns With More Intensity

25 Jul, 2013 By: Angelique Flores

(L-R): “Strike Back” stars Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton at Comic-Con.Photo courtesy Filmmagic

SAN DIEGO — More explosions, more fight scenes, and drama both in front of and behind the camera highlighted the second season of Cinemax’s “Strike Back.”

HBO Home Entertainment releases Strike Back: Cinemax Season Two Aug. 6 as four-disc DVD ($39.98) and Blu-ray ($49.99) sets. Each version comes with audio commentaries.

This season finds two counter-terrorism special agents (stars Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton) in Africa trying to nab possession of a set of nuclear triggers moving from terrorist to terrorist.

“[Season two] was more intense, dark and explosive,” Winchester said. “We really upped the ante in both explosions and the story.”

Winchester, promoting the show at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International, explained that upon arrival in Mozambique to begin shooting the season, the entire cast and crew were held up there for a week for being suspected of activity similar to what you might see on the show. This setback cut a week out of their shooting schedule, forcing them to make up the time at night.

“It was really full-on rough and dangerous,” Winchester said. “It really set the tone. It put people in a weird place.”

Stapleton, however, wasn’t as shaken.

“I loved getting stuck in Mozambique,” Stapleton said. “We were stuck in a beautiful place, and we didn’t have to work because we couldn’t work.”
But once the work started, there was no slowing down. Winchester and Stapleton did most of their stunts, as they did in season one.

“The accident of Sully and I doing [our own stunts] became the norm,” Winchester said.

While shooting the first season, the actors received extensive military training. As the crew saw the two stars could do some of their own stunts, they increasingly did more and more. For subsequent seasons, the only times the actors didn’t do their own stunts was when they couldn’t because of insurance liability or shooting schedules, said Michael J. Bassett, writer, director and co-executive producer.

“I love doing my own stunts,” Stapleton said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

This is coming from an actor who broke his knee during a stunt. Winchester also had an injury, rolling an ankle in the first season.

That authenticity to the action as well as the military training has paid off. Winchester said he has received compliments from soldiers for their work on the show, Winchester.

New cast member Milauna Jackson has heard the same praise. She joins the third season, which premieres on Cinemax Aug. 9

Jackson said she felt at a disadvantage at first jumping into the series in the third season and not knowing anything about weapons.

“Now, honey, gimme an M4, and I’ll show you how to do it,” Jackson said.

With the upcoming season three, the action will only get bigger, said Bassett.

“What I say is, ‘If it’s really, really difficult, we should do it,’” Bassett said.


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