Entertainment Television

'Strike Back' debrief: How to blow up actors

Thanks to extensive military training and their own fitness, "Strike Back" stars Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton can handle pretty much any stunt that's thrown at them while filming the action series in Cape Town, South Africa.

Real Special Forces soldiers have trained the actors in explosives, evasive driving, live-fire weapons and close-quarter fighting. The advisers also schooled them in everything from the proper way to hold weapons to how soldiers clear rooms or advance in a firefight.

But while filming a chase scene for the new season's third episode, airing at 9 p.m. Aug. 24, the actors got a big shock—and a few singed body parts. (Click here for Ep. 13 photos and videos.)

In the episode, their soldier characters search for a man they believe is transporting stolen nuclear triggers that, if they fall into the wrong hands, could be used by terrorists to set off nuclear bombs. In one scene, the courier tosses a grenade in a stairwell leading to a hotel rooftop where Winchester's Sgt. Michael Stonebridge and Sullivan's Damian Scott are standing.

To create the grenade explosion, the show's demolitions team used a "bomb pot," Winchester told me during a recent phone conversation. The pot contained a six-liter tub of diesel fuel and a charge, talcum powder, cork and "all sort of stuff so when it explodes it looks like it's eating up the door frame," he said.

Everything went as planned for the scene, except when the "grenade" exploded, a wind gust blew flames, smoke and debris right at the actors.

"I lost all the hair on my right side of my arm—I mean, we were shocked," Winchester said, chuckling. "Both our heads were steaming and the stunt guys and the firemen and the medic came running in and doused us. Parts of our clothes were on fire! The demolitions guys, their eyes were as big as saucers."

The actors weren't hurt seriously, but both have suffered bumps, bruises, strains, cuts and, as Stapleton says in the video above, cork in the butt. But despite their ability to bounce back from the wounds—and despite the month of military training they receive before each season begins filming—Winchester isn't kidding himself that he, Stapleton or any of their cast mates would fair too well in a real battle zone.

"We're getting better at making it look good, but there's certainly a big difference between making it look good and doing it for real," he said. "When you talk to our military guys or you sit down with the real deals, you just go, 'I'm an actor; you're an actual SAS [British Special Air Service] guy.'

"I'll speak for myself; I don't think we would [make it in a real battle]. It's a mind set; it's training. It's years and years and years of professionalism and soldiering and being in the real thing."

Here's an exclusive clip from Ep. 13 of "Strike Back:"

Want more? Discuss this article and others on Show Patrol's Facebook page

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • 'Great team effort' by joggers saves man in Lake Michigan

    'Great team effort' by joggers saves man in Lake Michigan

    During an early morning jog along Lake Michigan with his wife and children Tuesday, John Corba spotted a man struggling in the water nearly 30 yards from the shore.

  • Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    As a founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzmann watched the world change from behind his drum kit, shoveling coal in the wildly tribal rhythm section as the Dead went from San Francisco underground curio to ground-breaking indie outfit, then progenitor of the improvisation-based rock...

  • Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    The cliché that colors every good rock star story is “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll." For the Grateful Dead, the trailblazing rock band known for its improvisational style, revelatory live shows and dedicated fanbase, there was that and so much more.

  • 10 best movies of 2015 so far

    10 best movies of 2015 so far

    The year’s half over! How did that happen? No idea. With six months of a good year of movies in the books, let’s see how the Top 10 list is looking, with a quote from each respective review. Note: There are a few I’ve seen that I really like that haven’t yet opened in Chicago, and those aren’t...

  • If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    Nearly 5 million more Americans would qualify for overtime pay under new rules proposed Tuesday by the Obama administration, a long-anticipated move expected to affect a broad swath of salaried employees from store managers to social workers to restaurant shift supervisors.

  • Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Unlike previous summers, UniStaff is experiencing a spike in job applicants at its Little Village location, a trend the branch manager says is tied to the city's minimum wage increase to $10 per hour beginning Wednesday.

Comments
Loading