A REPORT FROM THE SET OF THE LATEST TIM ABELL MOVIE
Marshall Teague - Don Harding
Tim Abell - Jess
Troy Mittleider - Wyatt
Daniel Lee Clark - Bear
Scott Adkins - Talbot
Terence Rotolo Ė Reyes
Daniella Deutscher- Wendy Teller
Eli Danker - Hasib
Rimante Valiukaite - Saira
Vladislavas Jacukevicius Ė Zaman
After she witnesses atrocities committed by former Bosnian war criminal Hasib Rafendek,who has made himself indispensable to the corrupt Premier of a totalitarian regime, a young American woman is captured by him and forced to confess on video to false espionage charges. An elite five-man Special Forces team, led by Major Don Harding, are tasked with rescuing her. Harding and Rafendek have crossed paths before. The Major still bears the scars of that last meeting and, though the physical wounds may have healed, his personal feelings threaten to interfere with the mission.
The local contact, Saira, accompanies Don and his second in command, Jess, as they carry out their recon of the prison where the girl is being held captive.When the security forces of the corrupt regime, known as the PRP, compromise their cover they receive help from an unexpected source. Talbot, the surviving member of a two-man SAS unit, wades in to assist them. His partner was brutally murdered by Rafendekís men, and he too is set for revenge. Don tries to persuade him to join them, but the Brit refuses and they part company.
The assault on the prison doesnít go to plan and the team abort the attack at the last minute. Talbot reappears, helping to avert disaster for a second time, and this time Don persuades him to join them. As they make their way back to the safehouse, they witness the brutal murder of their local contact by PRP soldiers. Powerless to help her, the Special Forces unit and the Brit withdraw to a safer area.
The team, accompanied by Talbot, storm the Presidential Quarters. Having captured and interrogated the president, Hrankov, and now primed with new information they again undertake an assault on the prison. This time their attack is successful and they retrieve their objective, but when the exfil goes bad, the team are left fighting for their lives Ö
"Special Forces" is one of a series of five films under the banner "American Heroes". This film is the first and will either be picked up by a major distributor in the United States so it may have a general release or be sold directly to Cable in the States. Otherwise it will go straight to DVD, most likely through Blockbuster. Go watch it!
What is the name of your character?
Marshall:Captain Don Harding, actually he is a Major, he starts out as a Captain and then gets promoted somewhere along the line.
Tim:Hi, my nameís Tim Abell. My characterís name is Jess.
Rae: Just Jess?
Tim: Jess Bonaventura. [pause] No, I just made up the last name.
Rae: Yes we guessed.
Tim: What, I couldnít be a Bonaventura?
Rae: No. Second generation maybe.
Tim: Jess, Jess is all I know. It is also Latin for yes, "Jess".
Do you have a rank?
Tim:A rank? Not too much, I took a jog before I came. The team that we are playing is a group of guys that are, I guess you would characterise them as Delta like. I think the name they have come up with is Rec 5 and it is supposed to be even more elite than Delta but we are all senior NCOís except for Marshall, he plays the Major. That sounds familiar doesnít it?
Tim: I play a Master Sergeant, and Iím the Second in Command. So if he gets killed I take over but as all action movies go, the buddy always gets killed, you know?
What part does your character play in the film?
Marshall:He is the commanding officer of this special unit that is kind of a ghost unit. They are all members of the armed forces but they work independently on special operations because what they do is not known and if they get captured while they are there, theyíre still not known.
Tim: A very big part, ok, a very important part, damn it.
Rae: Right up until you get killed? As usual.
Tim: And er I go "Please donít shoot me." [Tim pretends to be scared]
Rae: I wish we could get that on tape.
Tim: Character wise as far as relevance to the story, actually very important, because itís kind of a sounding board for the Major and for the guys. Marshall and I have a lot of things together, driving in the van and Iím kind of a sounding board for him to be able to talk to. Prior to going into the operation the fellow who plays the bad guy Rafendek, Eli Danker from Tel Aviv, is... they have a past history where he interrogated Marshall and actually skewered his hands to a table with a big knife. Iím the voice of reason who kind of talks to him about the mission and if he can actually perform his duties without getting personal and letting that come into play and upsetting the operation and the mission. So I kind of play the voice of reason with everybody, even with the character Bear, who is played by Daniel Clark, who was actually, do you remember a show called Gladiators?
Tim: He was a character called Nitro, I donít know if you know that. He used to have like long hair I think. Heís actually the hot head who wants to kill a lot of people and so I always have to go er Ö Ďnot now, we got a mission to doí Ö Ďyou canít do that okayí Ö
Rae: So in the back history of the film, you werenít part of Marshallís original team that were captured?
Tim: Negative I was not, no. Because Iím not as old as him
Marshall, Tim, Scott (standing), Troy
Can you tell us what the film is about?
Marshall:Well, it is a film about an ongoing animosity between two people. That is not the theme of the movie, but the theme is based around the characters Hasib (played by Eli Danker) and myself. Hasib, in a war previous to this in Bosnia, captured me along with my men and he killed most of my men and tortured me severely - to the point of stabbing my hands to the tabletop and you can see the scars.
When this particular mission comes around, a young lady is captured by him and he makes a tape where she confesses Ö that kind of thing. I see Hasibís face, and my commanding officers know that I have history with this guy, but they also know I know how he thinks, and since I happen to be the Commander of this unit, my unit is going after her to bring her home.
So you go in after the girl and after the guy as well presumably?
Marshall: It would be remiss of me if I were to say that my whole thing was based on revenge, which it is not. He is a soldier first and foremost and he is going to do his mission. If the opportunity arises, yes maíam, I am going to kill him.
Eli is a very nice man and not only that he is a wonderful actor. It is a pleasure going up against him and for him to play the bad guy for a change, I have played a lot of them so having my own bad guy to go up against is a lot of fun and it makes a change for me.
Have you done any stunts yet?
Marshall:Fights. I donít really look at them as stunts, because I have being doing them for my entire acting career. You know I have been in fights and run over and it is not because I am that good, but I am just rarely doubled. They just rarely double me, "yeah let Marshall do it, whatever". I donít get doubled much, but Iíve got a gentleman in the show that is doubling me. You know a lot of the driving and stuff that theyíre doing in sequences, for the most part Iím doing it. Just like everybody else is, for the most part everybody is doing it.
Rae: Apart from nearly getting killed by Marshallís driving?
Tim: And after all those drinks the other night? Yes. [Laughter] I roll really well... [Tim makes the sound of someone rolling, if that is possible] Iím okay. We had, what have we had... we had some fun stuff in a van. I got to drive, and I scared everybody in the van because they thought I was going to flip it over. We have some shooting stuff Ö Then the van stopped short and I ran into the back, or the front of the van, and everybody thought I was hurt. It was actually very funny. Marshall kind of did a Superman and swooped me up, and comes across the front of the van and ... he was very gallant. Aside from that, we have a big firefight scene and there is just a lot of falling behind obstacles and things like that. I have a rappel Iím supposed to do, and then we have a helicopter scene where we jump out of the helicopter. Thereís no real big stunts, but we have some fight things that we have done.
We have already heard that you die in this film...
Tim: Yes. Yes, yes I die.
Rae: So how do you die?
Tim: Iím not telling you.
Kate: How far into the film do you die?
Tim: Okay second pageÖ okay I got a page and a half. No, I donít know itís ...
Kate: So, no radio in the bath this time?
Tim: No, I donít get shocked this time. Around page 70, so about 70 minutes into the film. Theyíve got about 20 minutes without me. Of course once that happens youíve just got to click the movie off. There you go.
What is it like working with Tim again?
Marshall:Itís great. He always makes me smile. Tim like I said, we have been friends for about seven years, and over the years we have had some wonderful, wonderful times together, working together and socialising and doing different sports, shooting sports things like that, he is just a great guy. I mean it is kind of hard not to come to work and not have a good time because you are working with a friend. Not only that but Michael Flanagan, the Producer, he is a friend, also Isaac Florentine (the Director) is a friend, I did US Seals II with him and I love working with him as he is such a stickler for detail. He is very methodical, he knows his shots and he is dedicated to a fault to making sure that the show looks good, and I respect that.
What is it like working with Marshall again?
Tim:Outstanding! It's wonderful to work with people you like and even more so when they are a friend as well. Marshall was my favourite guest star to work with on "Soldier of Fortune Inc." We always worked well together as a team on SOF. (Here's a bit of trivia: the role of Matt Sheppard was originally written for Marshall.) Marshall is very dedicated to his work and is always working hard to make the film the best he possibly can. He comes to the set prepared and ready to work. He knows his lines inside and out, his tech advising has helped quite a bit, and his leadership and professionalism has inspired the other actors to rise up a notch or two. The other team members will definitely walk away with good weapon handling skills and a sense of environment around them. In addition to those things... Marshall makes me laugh... a lot. That in itself, makes working with Marshall again worthwhile. I love the guy. But don't tell him I said that... OK?
Have you had the chance to see anything of Lithuania while you have been here?
Marshall:Absolutely. I have done some walking. I run every morning, so when I am running I try to run ... if you really want to know the truth I got lost. I see a lot, but not knowing the streets very well I end up in some very odd places, and it is always beautiful you know. I always see the countryside. I have been to a couple of the churches. I am always kind of a nut for seeing... I enjoy seeing the mosques, the churches, the chapels different places that I kind find and pick up a little bit of the history, or as much as I can cram in. But I just love the history of countries.
Tim: I am staying in an apartment in the Old Town so I have seen a lot of that, but I donít go running like Marshall.
What is it like being away from home for so long?
Marshall:I miss my wife. I miss my wife and I miss my dog, Elly. She is a rat terrier, she is 28 pounds, sheís like a Jack Russell on steroids. She is just beautiful, and she is kind of my wife and Iís kid right now.
So will she be missing you?
Marshall: What the dog? No, the dog probably wonít miss me, sheíll be missing my wife, when my wife comes over. Sheíll miss my wife terribly. Theyíre best friends, but that is the thing I miss the most. It is nice to have someone to miss, up till I met my wife I did not have anybody I missed.
Who is looking after things at home while you are here?
Tim: I throw a couple of bags of food in the yard for the dogs, they feed themselvesÖ No, I have a friend who is house sitting. He is looking after the dogs and all the other animals.
Troy, Dan, Rimante, Tim, Terence & Marshall
Why is the film being made in Lithuania?
Marshall:Many reasons, when you look around. First of all youíve got, my God, when you look at the buildings you could make this anywhere, I mean, itís got such history. Some of them are ruins that we shoot around and different places, and the military have been marvellous, they have co-operated with us fully, trying to make sure we get a good product out there, the guys get a good training day out of it and just geographically it is just outstanding to shoot here and the people Ö the people in the town are just... wouldnít you say that is a big plus Tim? Timís not here Ö so I am going to answer for Tim, whoís not here Ö who is shaking his head "yes" he loves the people. [laughter] Timís fishing thatís what it is, thatís why heís not here. Itís a mirage.
Apparently, from what the fans have heard, the Stargate set is a really happy place to work and everybody gets on. Is that something that you found?
Marshall: Having worked on MacGyver many times over the years and been around Ricky Dean and Michael Greenburg, they couldnít be nicer, they are just the nicest bunch of people, they have a good time every day. Itís not a high pressure set, you know they know the routine, everybodyís got their job, you go in and the only thing they expect you to know is your job, and if you know your job you are going to have a great time. Of course going to Canada is not a bad thing either, itís a beautiful place, I enjoy the parks and the people. Iíve been there a couple of times over the years and I enjoy it. I like the USA, but I also like Canada.
What are you working on next?
Marshall:I really donít know now. A friend of mine is doing a film that Iím not sure is completely slated yet so I donít want to say too much about that, it kind of jinxís it. Iím a little out of the pocket right now so itís kind of hard to check on that. Other than that no.
Tim: I am going to Spain to work on the Flamenco film with Patrick Swayze. I am not sure yet but I think I will be there from the beginning of July.
Rae: Do you get to dance in that film?
Tim: Yes, yes I do dance. I play Patrickís best buddy and I come to his rescue when he gets himself into some trouble with the locals and he doesnít know I am there.
Do you have any preference of the sort of work that you do?
Marshall:I think the best way to sum that up is very simply, my job and what I do and what I am is an actor and my job is to act, wherever that medium is. So whether it be on the stage or whether it be on the television, or whether it be on film, as long as I am doing what I really love to do, I donít see that you can really complain too much.
Kate and I would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation, not only to Marshall and Tim, but to all the other members of the cast and crew; from the director to the catering crew, to a man (and woman) they were all generous above and beyond the call of duty. They gave freely of their time and energy without question to one mad Scottish Doctor and a slightly insane English Lawyer who elbowed their way into their working and social lives, for which we shall be eternally grateful.
As for Marshall and Tim, what can we say... it was Ö horrible! [And we still have the tape to prove it, Tim *g*] Seriously, it was the most unique and amazing experience, one which neither of us will ever forget and we will always treasure the time we spent in your company. So, thank you guys, from the bottom of our hearts.
Rae & Kate