Total Film dodge choppers and ducks explosions in Budapest to watch Strike Back: Season 4 from the safety of a foxhole. The cast give us a field guide to Shadow Warfare …
Remember to duck
“I reckon the best explosion was just outside the Four Seasons,” shouts Sullivan Stapleton (who plays Sergeant Scott) as a helicopter comes into land next to an abandoned Soviet listening station outside Budapest. “We were on this huge roundabout right in front of the bridge. They’d locked pedestrians off, but there were still loads of cars driving around. I was like, ‘er, should someone tell that taxi driver that a van’s about to… BOOM.’”
Pack your meds
“We were down in the wild coast in South Africa, says Philip Winchester (aka Sergeant Stonebridge) of filming the series’ early scenes. “It was 40 degrees with 90 per cent humidity and we all got this stomach bug that was just brutal. We’re in these boats doing this big action fight scene, but we’re all doubled over, running for the trees between every take. But, y’know, it’s Strike Back!”
“It’s like making five feature films in five months,” says Winchester, taking a knee in the long grass while a stunt guy prepares to leap off of a 30 ft tower. “Last week we were filming in the isolation wing of a real Hungarian prison. I remember having lunch in one of the cells, just looking at the ceiling going, ‘Oh my God’. It was a maximum security prison and we were in the yard doing fake fights… and right next to the windows, where the prisoners are, there’s our fucking tea trolley!”
Leave the ladies alone
“There’s a lot of women in Shadow Warfare, but they’ve toned [the sex] down a bit,” laughs Stapleton, who’s as well known for being out of uniform as in it. “There’s less sex, but it gives me more of a chance to act. I think Scot might be growing up.” Anyone who watches Strike Back for the flesh needn’t worry though – when we meet Winchester, he’s gearing up for his first naked fight scene (“it’s not very raunchy, but I do get hosed down…”)
Listen to the experts
“We’re not real operators, but we know how to clear a room,” says Winchester, leaning on his rifle, “we know that we have a big military audience and we don’t want to take the piss.” The stunt terrorist hurls himself onto a crash mat with a high-pitched scream in the background. “There’s the Die Hard moments of course,” laughs Stapleton, “but we want to keep it real. We have some scenes coming up in episode nine and ten where it’s literally just us holding each other’s rigs and saying ‘let’s go’. If we mess up, we die…”
STRIKE BACK: SHADOW WARFARE is currently on Sky 1.
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