Lauren Cohan and Iko Uwais on Making It to Mile 22

The Walking Dead star and Indonesian martial arts master suit up for Peter Berg’s new action epic.

British actress Lauren Cohan apparently enjoys being put through the emotional wringer at work: as Maggie on The Walking Dead, she has dealt with the brutal murder of her husband, the equally gruesome death of her father and the terror of carrying an unborn child while battling hordes of zombies and armies of sadistic humans.

In Mile 22, she takes a different approach with her character, Alice Kerr, a deadly covert operative who also happens to be a divorced mother. While out protecting the world as part of a secret CIA ops team, Kerr must also contend with raising her daughter from afar — while knowing that her own life could become forfeit at any moment.

“The best part of the role and of making the film for me was how much I needed to sort of sequester the emotional side of her,” says Cohan about the character. “And how much it has to just find it way out anyway. And that felt like something I could really tap into.”

The mission in Mile 22 involves the transport of a foreign intelligence asset named Li Noor to an airport for extraction, across a 22-mile urban stretch in a Southeast Asian metropolis where enemies lurk around every corner.

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Li Noor is played by Iko Uwais, the Indonesian actor and martial arts powerhouse who first came to the attention of international audiences through his starring roles in the stunning The Raid and The Raid 2. Making his American film debut gave Uwais the chance to introduce his incredible fighting style — which features the traditional Indonesian martial arts form known as silat — into a major Hollywood movie.

“It was like a compliment for me,” Uwais says about the opportunity. “(The American stunt team) were really helpful and helped me a lot. I wanted to show the audience that the action stuff was real, that it wasn’t too much fake, that there weren’t a lot of wires and that it had impact.”

Mile 22, which is headlined by Mark Wahlberg and also stars John Malkovich, Ronda Rousey, Emily Skeggs and Carlo Alban, drives into theaters on Friday (Aug. 17).