Strike Back returns to Cinemax for its seventh season, with Strike Back: Revolution featuring the continuing misadventures of Section 20. Having gone through hell in the previous season, Revolution opens with suspended teammates Gracie (Alin Sumarwata), Mac (Warren Brown) and Wyatt (Daniel MacPherson) brought back into the action when a Russian nuclear device goes missing. Needless to say, there will be no shortage of shootouts, fistfights and probably some gratuitous nudity too.
It took MacPherson’s Wyatt a little while to adjust to working with a team last year, but the actor’s chemistry with his castmates helped make for a smooth transition between the new team and previous lead characters Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) and Stonebridge (Philip Winchester). We spoke to the star about the latest season, how the character of Wyatt has evolved and the unmistakable link between Strike Back and Aussie soap Neighbours.
Den of Geek: Wyatt started out as something of a lone wolf in Strike Back: Retribution, but gradually warmed to his new team. Where does the start of the new season find him?
Daniel MacPherson: The start of the new season finds Wyatt working off his suspension as a basic training teacher at British Military Base in Kenya. It’s soul-destroying work for a highly skilled operator like Wyatt, and he’s missing the action of combat big time.
Wyatt very nearly didn’t survive the season finale last year. Has that brush with death affected his outlook?
I think its been the beginning of a shift in attitude in Wyatt, that we see over the course of the season. He’s very secretly beginning to think of a life outside the Section, a quiet life, and what that may look like. I think this life is wearing him down at a soul level.
How do you feel the dynamic between Wyatt, Gracie and Mac has evolved since the last season?
These guys are now a true team. They’ve saved each others lives more than once, and are bonded now like family. The dynamic only gets stronger as the season goes on. Behind the camera, we are like siblings, in front of the camera, we are working with a real slickness that feels very cool, and very Strike Back.
Wyatt has shown he’s not great with authority, so how does he get on with Section 20’s new CO Coltrane?
Oh, I dont think Wyatt likes CO’s in general, but in Coltrane he sees someone who has faced some demons in the same way that Wyatt has, and does. So I think Wyatt gives him the benefit of that, but also, Wyatt still does his own thing, makes his own decisions and doesn’t waste too much energy on command.
Wyatt’s past is a little mysterious. Do we learn more of his backstory this season?
We probably learn a little more that we’d like, to be honest! We certainly get to know Wyatt a lot more, his past and the reasons for his current situation. [Strike Back showrunner Jack Lothian]’s writing was great this year. I loved exploring the complexities that were thrown around for Wyatt and I think the audience will really enjoy his personal arc this season.
Strike Back is clearly a physically taxing show at the best of times. What was your most challenging scene to shoot this season?
There are very few “un-challenging” scenes in Strike Back. Be it the remote Malaysian location, or the debilitating heat & humidity, every day was taxing. Some of the toughest days included the car/motorbike/explosion chase sequence in Episode 6, where I’m hanging out the side of a speeding jeep, firing back at sea of chasing bad guys on bikes, through an old Malay village. Also, the Russian convoy chase sequence in the final block. Both were some of the hottest days we had in Malaysia.
How have you found working with new castmates Yasemin Allen and Jamie Bamber, and what do their characters bring to the team?
They are both wonderful humans, and of course great actors. Their characters add wonderful new flavours into the mix. Zarkova runs a fine line for us of never knowing if she’s an enemy or an ally. She’s a badass though thats for sure, and I love the dynamic between her and Novin.
The show has had a great line-up of guest stars for villain roles in the past. Is there a particular performer you were excited to work with this season?
It was great to meet the incredible Ade Edmonson on the first two episodes of the season, and Victoria Smurfit brought a great energy to Episodes 5 & 6. Faisal Hussein was a great, and very famous, local actor who got stopped everywhere he went, and The Raid 2’s Cecep Arif Rahman was a total badass and gave me a proper ass whooping in my favourite fight sequence of the season.
Scott and Stonebridge made a surprise return last year. Is there any chance they might pop up again in the future?
It was great to have Phil and Sully back last year, but, sadly, no Scott and Stonebridge this year. I’d love them to come back again in the future though.
In an intriguing link, you, Alin Sumarwata and Sullivan Stapleton all have past experience on Neighbours. What is it about surviving Ramsay St. that prepares actors for a lead role on Strike Back?
Ramsay St. taught me about preparation: shooting 10-12 scenes a day. Professionalism: there’s no time to be late on a Neighbours schedule. Finally, dealing with press and promotion. It’s a great place to learn how to work on fast-paced, high-turnover TV, and I think that lends itself to the chaos of Strike Back.
What is about the Strike Back formula that has inspired such a loyal following?
I think Strike Back goes the extra mile in authenticity, be it in terms of tactics and weapons handling, of location—we shoot very little studio pieces—and, in terms of showing the true bond that is built between military units. That said, we go even harder when it comes to stunts, explosions, and general badassery, and everyone digs that.