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    David Hookstead | Reporter


    “SEAL Team” star Max Thieriot was kind enough to speak to me about the second season of the CBS hit series, and it sounds like there are some great things on the horizon.

    As you all know, I’m a huge fan of the show, and I have been ever since the first episode aired. That’s why I was so pumped to speak with Max, who plays Bravo Team member Clay Spenser in the series. (RELATED: ‘SEAL Team‘ Is Excellent In New Episode ‘Things Not Seen’)

    Let’s dive right into what he had to say!

    *Some of the questions and answers have been slightly edited for clarity and smoothness.

    We’ve been off the air now for about two months (interview was conducted Wednesday before the newest episode aired). We’re coming back tonight. What’s it like to finally be back? Lot of anticipation, lot of fans that were waiting. What’s it like to know we finally got some new episodes?

    Oh man, it’s a relief. … One of the hardest things … I think is keeping everybody waiting, and in a holding pattern, waiting to see new episodes because I know there are a lot of people who are itching to watch them. So, I’m excited. I think leading up to this last eight-nine episodes of the season, I can say confidently that the back half of the season is awesome. I mean, it really ramps up. There is some really really great action stuff along with a great storyline, character development stuff. We kind of dive into a lot of stuff we really haven’t really talked about before. It’s great. We got some of our best episodes ever for sure are coming up.

    One of the big storylines was when Jason’s wife was killed off the show — a gut-wrenching turn of events. Was the cast pretty surprised to find out that was going to happen? Because as an audience member who watched all of it, that was like getting hit by a train.

    If I’m being honest, I think yes and no. We were surprised because it’s such a big decision; it’s such a big commitment to make and such a bold card to play that early on such a great character. But at the same time, from a film and television viewer, it’s also weirdly important sometimes to do that stuff because it keeps the audience on their toes. You don’t want people to be able to think they will be able to expect everything all the time. As far as us being surprised or not, the only reason why we weren’t totally surprised is [because] Michaela’s a fantastic actor, and she had booked another television show that she was going on to do. And so, scheduling-wise, it was going to be really hard to work it out. That sort of helps in that decision-making process.

    Speaking of women on the show, can we expect anything between Clay and Stella going forward, or is that pretty much over? Because it obviously didn’t end well. Clay carried a lot of that with him when he deployed right afterward. Is that storyline done or can we, as fans, hold out hope that those two might still have a future?

    As far as the future, I’m not sure. But, I think, as fans, you can expect that it hasn’t been fully resolved and figured out. We’ll see some of Stella again. It’s just a matter of what way we are going to be seeing her.

    We have a huge military audience, and they really like how the show shines a light on the personal aspect of the military. How important is it to you guys when you’re out there — both in the action scenes and in the personal life stuff — to really give the respect and shine a light on the people who have actually been through this? Is that always in the back of your mind, that, ‘Hey, we really got to hit home runs here because this isn’t a game. There are people who actually make these sacrifices every day.’

    One-hundred percent, David. I think the thing is, to be honest, that’s the most important thing to us. Whether the technical aspect [of] the military tactics or the stuff that now goes on in this community or if it’s the personal life stories or, like you said, the sacrifices that these men and women make … to make sure we are as authentic as we can possibly be is, by far, the most important thing. And sometimes, like Adam’s death, those things aren’t necessarily what we want to see, but they’re realities. They’re realities of the job and what these people go through. And so, obviously, it’s the most important thing for us, to show it in the best possible way, but also the most real way.

    Speaking of the tactics and stuff, what type of training do they run you guys through to make sure that when you are handling the weapons it looks realistic, when you’re moving, when you’re breaching doors, it all looks realistic? How much time did it take for you guys to go through before you started feeling comfortable with it?

    [For] the pilot, we sort of jumped right into it. We didn’t have a whole lot of time. We had amazing technical advisors on set and we still … have a couple Delta guys, guys from various field teams, we have Marine Force Recon, we have guys from all different branches of the military that are on the show as producers, writers, actors, stuntmen, crew and, so, we have a lot of time rehearsing now. It’s repeated motion, right? It’s like riding a bike. The more and more you do it, the more comfortable you get and the more normal it looks. I’m a country boy so I came from a small town, Northern California, where everybody owned guns. We grew up, you know, hunting and fishing. It’s obviously not the same gun movement, but I spend a lot of times around guns and have been around them since I was eight or nine years old. For me, it was kind of more learning some of the technical stuff.

    One of the neat things about the show, especially the Mexico storyline and the storyline about the rescuing of the ISIS bride — there really seems like there are a lot of things that are in the news that are often reflected in the show. Do the writers try to leave a lot of room so that they can try to mold things to current events? Or is it just kind of coincidence when stuff like that happens?

    Both. I think the writers’ goal is to half an overlying arch that the audience can track, but also we can have these missions and things going on that are current events. We can kind of jump in and out of those while following character development and these storylines throughout the season. A lot of those current events and things going on, we try to not remake identically, but certainly, the cartel stuff and those things are all sorts of related to things that are going on.

    If any of the actors on Bravo Team actually had to go through BUDS, who would be the first one to quit? Who would likely make it the farthest?

    I can say confidently that I would make it the farthest. The first one to quit? I think that AJ will willingly say that he would probably be the first one to quit. He’s kind of stated that before. I think he’s like, “Dude, you’re out of your mind.”

    On the show, characters are, obviously, a really tight-knit group, a lot of great comradery stuff like that. When cameras aren’t rolling, do you guys like to do anything fun? Keep loose? Pranks on set? Or anything like that to keep morale high?

    Yeah, I’m the biggest prankster on set. As you can see on my Instagram, I’m pretty much always, specifically, I prank AJ more than anybody. But, it’s because he and I are just such buddies and he’s an easy target and I’m always around him. So he makes it easy and fun to pick on [him]. But, yeah, we kind of keep it as light as we possibly can in between. Clearly, there are days that are really serious and emotional and, on those days, yeah, things are a little different. But, when we’re out there running in the hills and shooting late nights and stacking up on doors to breach, we keep it as light as we possibly can and joke around.

    Make sure to tune in to “SEAL Team” Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST to catch new episodes.

    You know that I’ll be watching and keeping you all as updated as I can on the show!

    Special thanks to Graham Gallagher for transcribing the interview.


    Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

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