BLAST FROM THE PAST: EXCLUSIVE LOOK AT FILM & TV MAG INTERVIEWS

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BLAST FROM THE PAST:

EXCLUSIVE LOOK AT FILM & TV MAG INTERVIEWS

In case you missed it, Film & TV Magazine held a “Last Ship Summer” event, with interviews, articles and reviews about “The Last Ship”. From July to September, they interviewed Travis Van Winkle, Bren Foster, Steven Kane and Jocko Sims. We’ve been given exclusive permission to share excerpts from each of those interviews here.

Firstly, from July’s issue, here are a few excerpts from their interview with Travis Van Winkle, who plays Lt. Danny Green.

Big Brothers, BellyBump and Bay – a conversation with Travis Van Winkle

july-coverTravis Van Winkle is a busy man. A happy man, too, if his tone of voice is anything to go by when my call is patched through to him. It is noon in LA, a Monday near the end of May and a little under four weeks until the season 3 premiere of Michael Bay’s The Last Ship on Sunday June 19th. In the show, Travis plays Lieutenant Danny Green, a Navy SEAL stationed on board the USS Nathan James. He is also well known for playing Trent DeMarco in both Transformers and Friday the 13th, both produced by Michael Bay.

It is in the no doubt frenetic run up to the premiere that he has agreed to give up some of his time to talk to me, and I ask the one thing that everyone wants to know the answer to: can you tell us where the beginning of season 3 of The Last Ship finds the crew of the USS Nathan James?

“Yes,” he says. “You find us trying to reach the globe – the entire globe – with our cure.” Travis gives a wry laugh and pauses. “I don’t know how much I can reveal, that’s why you asked that,” he states, laughing again. “I don’t know how to answer that. I don’t know how much I can give away. Can you rephrase the question?” I grin, and ask him to remind us where the USS Nathan James was at the end of season 2. He duly obliges.

“We left where everything was looking good. Our government was looking like it was going to become more established, and there was a lot of hope in the air that things were going to get better. There was a lot of motivation to keep moving forward, to cure the rest of the world. We left people with a good feeling that a lot of hard work had paid off.”


Bren Foster, who plays Wolf Taylor, is known for being a martial arts badass, and doing all of his own stunts. What’s it like trying to keep up with someone like that? Travis laughs, clearly amused.

“Oh my god, he is a beast,” he chuckles. “We have so much fun! He and I, this season, we have a lot of camaraderie, on and off camera. We really got to work together well, and to try to keep up with his ferocious moves is nearly impossible. I get to do my own stunts, I get to do my own stunts and although they may not look the same as Bren’s, I have so much fun doing them. If we go more seasons, there will be a lot of Danny Green and Wolf Taylor back to back fights. That’s something to look forward to!”

I tell him that I enjoyed their interaction in season two, and Travis is quick to tell me there’s more to come. “We get into a few things, and we get to kick a lot of ass!” Sounds like there’s plenty to look forward to for fans of this particular bromance.

I decide to turn the conversation towards something slightly more fun, and ask Travis whether he’s aware of the internet theory about the amount of Danny’s facial scruff being directly proportional to his emotional intelligence. He laughs, and I wonder if this isn’t the first time he’s heard this theory. “You know what, it seems to be pretty accurate,” he chuckles. “Who came up with that? It’s hilarious! Like anyone, as the years go on, we all mature, and Danny does just that. The stakes were really high in season 1, and everyone was punched in the gut with this new information that the whole world was, basically, dead. So Danny did his best to handle the situation, and I think, as the seasons progress, he’s definitely found a more mature footing. He finds himself with more responsibility and more reason to fight. In season 3, I think you can find an even more level headed Danny Green.” With more beard? Travis laughs again. “Possibly! There might be some more beard.”

exclusive-tony-duranI mention Travis’ charity work and service, starting with the LoveLife:LiveStream, which was a Hollywood talent show streamed worldwide in March. Travis’ aim was to raise $100,000 to build three schools in Senegal, which he achieved. I congratulate him. “Thank you! LoveLife was something that came up a couple of years ago. I got introduced to this organisation, buildOn, and I started leading treks to build schools with them. It really opened my eyes up to the impact that this kind of service had on communities. It’s an opportunity for them to really gain power, and to begin creating the changes they want for themselves. A school can impact so many lives for generations.”

The passion that Travis feels for service – and buildOn in particular – is palpable, and it sends shivers down my spine, even from over 5000 miles away. “The benefit and the impact these schools were having was so amazing that I wanted to keep exploring this kind of service. I was seeing all these beautiful changes in other and in myself, and I was learning so much and finding a lot of purpose in it. All I wanted to do was share it with my friends. It’s always been important to me to build community around service. I found a great way to combine using Los Angeles, which is filled with amazingly talented people, and using this creativity to spread service. I put together a group of really talented friends and we performed a really fun talent show to raise the money needed for all the materials and supplies needed to build 6 schools. It was a great way to bring everyone together and to use our talents for good, to celebrate and to raise awareness for an amazing cause. The power of education is everything. If a community has access to education, they can transform their lives for generations. So for me, LoveLife became this way to create opportunities for others to serve in Los Angeles, to spread the word about buildOn, and to celebrate the fact that we have a lot of amazing opportunities to live a very blessed life . We wanted to share all our good fortune with the world, and use our good fortune to inspire change in others. LoveLife has been such a beautiful ride, and I’m sure we’ll continue going further with it in the years to come.”

I’m almost ashamed to admit that I only saw the first half of the stream (and missed an apparently epic lipsync battle with Travis dressed up as J-Lo), but I admit it all the same, and the fact that I can’t get one particular song – “Who Stole My Monkey”, performed by Max Carver and a guy called Lyrik – out of my head. Travis finds this extremely funny. “What is really interesting about LoveLife:LiveStream is it is a first time collaboration between Big Brothers Big Sisters organisation and buildOn. My Little Brother from the program is the 17 year old Lyrik – he sang that song that you love! I will be taking 6 littles and 6 bigs from the program to Senegal to build a school this summer. We just had our first meeting in LA and it was so amazing to see these kids – and their Bigs – as well as the families of the Littles, all together in one room. We all went around the circle, and talked about how the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization had changed our lives. There were a lot of tears and beautiful sharing happening. I’m so excited to take them on the kind of experience that has changed my life a few times over! I am excited for them to contribute to a whole community’s well-being. It’s like this service within a service within a service. Everybody wins, and I’m really excited to be creating win-win-win-win scenarios within my life.”

Wow. This is a guy who is seriously committed to giving back. I ask him what he finds most rewarding about his relationship with Lyrik. “You know, that’s a tough question. I feel like I’m rewarded so much by the relationship that he and I have cultivated. It’s been five years now. I gave him a guitar a few years back and he fell in love with music. He’s in a band and has fallen in love with music theory! We hung out the other night, and he taught me how to play this song on my guitar, and we wrote a song together. It’s so interesting how it all comes back around. He’s teaching me so much. Lyrik doesn’t have a strong father figure in his life, and I think what makes me feel really lucky is that I can be a positive male influence in his life. If I can have a positive effect on him, I’m the luckiest man alive. That’s the biggest reward for me: that Lyrik has given me an opportunity to step up and to be that male figure in his life. Now it’s my job to show up and to live that out.”


August’s issue carried interviews with both Bren Foster, who plays Wolf Taylor, and the showrunner Steven Kane.

Hungry Like The Wolf

cover_4_final-_bren_fosterIt’s a dull Monday in June when I settle in for a call with Bren. He’s back home in Australia, and he sounds chirpy. I start by asking him what drew him to the role of Wolf Taylor. “It’s funny the way that things work out. I booked a job for a mini-series to go to Romania for three months, and a week before I was supposed to leave, financing fell through, and the whole job fell through. I was going to go back to Australia for a little while, but I got an audition, and it was for Wolf Taylor. I went back in for a second audition a couple of days later, with six pages of brand new dialogue and only a couple of hours notice! The auditions showed different sides to the character. From the first audition, I knew he was Australian, and I knew he was SAS, but when I really looked at this character, I thought ‘this guy’s me’. I was really confident going into this audition, I knew that this character definitely lived within me. So I got the role, and, after that, there was no indication that there was any martial arts involved. About a week into my first episode, the producers found out about the martial arts, and they quickly took the guns out of my hands and rewrote that first episode I did in season two to do some hand to hand combat. I think the character found me, and I found him at the same time. It was like the universe opened up and said ‘here you go, Bren’. I was fortunate, in that sense.”


The Last Ship is, somewhat obviously, largely populated with American characters. I ask whether Wolf was always slated to be Australian, or whether that was something that Bren brought to the table himself. “He was already Australian,” he says. “He was already called Wolf, and I guess I was just lucky enough that it came through. The casting director told me that they saw 40 people for the role before they saw me. I got some feedback from some of the producers, and they said they were sat there saying ‘that’s Wolf! That’s him!’ Sometimes, in this industry, it can be a ‘shoe size’ thing, and when you’re right for the role, you’re right for the role. Wolf was perfect for me.”

Wolf was the “new boy” of season two, and, as he’s not a part of the crew of the Nathan James, he holds something of a different position within the show’s dynamic. I ask where he finds himself in season three. “Everything they went through in season two brought Wolf closer to the crew of the Nathan James. He suffered a lot, and, as he knows it, he lost everything he had back in Australia. Joining the crew of the Nathan James is his way of giving back, of contributing, and he moved forward from there. He was totally committed to them, and he allied himself with them, making some solid friendships with them. Season two was his bonding experience, and in season three he’s already tight with them and already has a sense of loyalty to them. He’ll always back them up, he’d give his life for these guys. He’s part of the team, and has a special place in his heart for each and every one of them.”

So if he wasn’t with the Nathan James, what did he get up to in the five months between the end of season two and the beginning of season three? “He was in Asia, just a ‘hop,skip and a jump’ away from Hong Kong, as he said in the season premiere,” explains Bren. “He’s been working, and had a four-man team in the premiere. He didn’t leave too long ago, though, because he’s had a romance going with Val, but he’d been away when he came to pick up Chandler. He brought his team with him. They’d been on security missions throughout Asia. He’d been back to Australia, though, looking into his family, although that might be addressed in later episodes or later seasons.”

So that hug with Val. It was an actual kiss, then? I ask Bren to confirm whether the “kiss” that had been seen in long shot was a kiss or just a friendly hug. “Yes, it was an actual kiss,” he chuckles.

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I couldn’t help it. I gushed about THE fight scene in “Shanzhai”, episode three. The scene has been described as “the best hand to hand combat scene ever filmed for TV”. Having a martial arts background myself, I was more than a little interested in this scrap. “The fight was choreographed to an extent,” says Bren, sounding as though he’s loving talking about the scene. “I was fortunate enough that the guy I was working with was talented, so he was able to move convincingly within the fight. It takes a level of skill to get to where you can really deliver the techniques, throw the punches and kicks, and you know the other guy is good enough to react accordingly. There was a little bit improv in there, I’m not gonna lie. We were really going at it, and there’s a level of aggression in that fight where we’re really throwing stuff, and if the other guy mistimes it, just by an inch, he’s going to take the hit. Fortunately, it went very well, nobody got hurt, and we gave it our all. I think it turned out really well!”

It turns out that Bren is a dab hand with fight choreography, too. “Pretty much all of the moves that I do, I come up with. We’ve got a great stunt coordinator named Keith Woollard, and he’ll tell us where the fight needs to go. I know my ability better than anyone else, and I’ll work out which moves I want to go where. The other guy, like Steve Oyoung [Tiger] – he’s a good stunt guy – says what moves he’d like to do, and where. I like to choreograph myself, and put in my moves which I think will best be suited there.” The fight in question, though, was so fluid that it would be hard to tell which moves were choreographed. “If three moves in that fight were choreographed, a fourth and a fifth were just thrown in there. If he throws a punch, and I throw an elbow, if he feels like he’s going to throw a left hook, then he’s going to throw that left hook, and I’ve gotta react to it.” It must be hard avoiding injury in a situation like that. “We didn’t miss a beat. Nobody got caught with anything, and everything worked out really well.”

Most people who have watched the fight scene are still reeling from it now. It looked so effortless, it’s hard to believe that it was completed over the span of several hours. “It was a good workout,” laughs Bren. “We have some great wardrobe guys! I was literally changing my shirt every half an hour! Once I start moving, I start sweating a lot. We did master shots of the whole fight from beginning to end, which was great cardio. We were really gassed by the end! Then we were breaking it up into beats of four or five moves, and that allows us to do those moves with great intensity and speed, and really go for it. The whole fight had about six beats to it, and they really worked us. It was a super workout, lots of takes, and, while I’d like to think it went for two hours, in all honesty, it probably went for about three and a half!”


Given the obvious friendships between the cast, I ask about some of the videos we see of the messing about on set. Is Bren the biggest clown? “There’s a lot of clowning around, and Jocko [Sims] and Kevin [Michael Martin] are the two who are always up to mischief. There’s never really a dull moment. I remember sitting in a golf cart, and suddenly Kevin and Jocko jump in, and they drove it off with me in it. It was the Assistant Director’s golf cart, and the AD came out and wondered where it was going! I was guilty by association, because they decided to ditch the golf cart, and I was just sitting in it! They’re the biggest pranksters, but I can get a little influenced and give it back as much as they give it to me. I’m not going to incriminate myself, though, I’m just going to leave them as the guilty parties! Travis is pretty good too, and, between the four of us, it gets a little bit funny and weird sometimes. With us four, there’s never a dull moment.”


Messages from the Bridge – Steven Kane talks “The Last Ship” season 3, the show’s origins, & some upcoming surprises for fans

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Like many fans, I often find myself wondering where things all started, and Steven is more than happy to talk about it. “It partly stemmed from my own fears. When the book was first presented to us, it was a story of Cold War nuclear holocaust, set in the 1980s, but with a really cool concept of this ship being a Noah’s Ark in this terrible situation,” he explains. “Firstly, it was without much hope, because the world was destroyed, and secondly, it was a little dated in that it was set in the Cold War. So I thought about what really scares me these days, and it’s epidemics and pandemics. The more research I did, the more scary it became. I thought it’s scary to do apocalyptic shows, but even more so to do a show about something that could actually happen.”

He goes on to comment about the deeper reasons for exploring such a concept. “It gives you the chance to explore human nature, and how they would react. Some people would act with great bravery and heroism, others with cowardice and fear, and others with greed or selfishness. I thought that was a great palette to draw from to tell some good stories, and merging that with high adventure on the high seas, instead of the thriller aspect, was something I couldn’t resist.”


It’s hardly a surprise that the show is effectively a blockbuster movie on a weekly basis, given the backdrop it’s set against, and there were many challenges in bringing it to the screen. “The minute you hear that the show is executive produced by Michael Bay [of Transformers fame], you have a certain expectation of scale and quality of action and special effects. When you tune into The Last Ship, you don’t want to see a pale imitation of what you see at the movies. If you’re looking for a good summer blockbuster, and you can’t get a babysitter on a Sunday night, you can watch The Last Ship to get that itch scratched. You’re making a feature film, on a TV budget, every week. We had the idea of telling big stories every week, on a budget, but grounding it with characters you could relate to. Also, because we deal with the US Navy, we’re showing you a world that most people have no familiarity with.”

Steven’s tone becomes a little more thoughtful. “The Navy are really America’s ‘away team’: they spend most of their time away from home, out at sea, and are our ambassadors to the world. They’re doing stuff that a lot of us don’t understand or know about.” It is obvious that he holds the Navy in very high esteem. “We wanted to set the story in a world that was authentic, that shows what the Navy does, but also feels real. It was an opportunity to set it in a world that nobody else was doing right now. In that world, the biggest challenge was to get it right – all the technical stuff, and to make sure it felt like these were really US sailors. We also wanted to make sure that a worldwide audience would appreciate it, and not feel that it was just an American-centric show, because it really is about humanity.”


Pretty incredible stuff, as far as I’m concerned. Thing is, it’s not just the sets and technical accuracy that keep people watching the show. The writing is universally praised for its emotional intelligence and depth. I ask how the writing team manage to deliver such quality on a weekly basis. “Aside from hiring really good writers, we try to think of it in terms of whether the story would stand up if you took away the explosions, the bells and whistles, and the military hardware. We try to look at it in terms of the characters, and we try to ask big questions. The hard part is that you’ve got a bunch of people all wearing identical uniforms, and you might not know what the stuff on their collar means. They’re all speaking this certain language, and it’s hard to distinguish them. Our challenge was to humanise them. Over the course of the three seasons, we’ve tried to show that you may be a captain, but you’re also a husband, a father, a friend. You’ve lost everything: how are you going to hold onto things in a world gone crazy? Also, we have certain restrictions on how we can write. In drama, we like to have conflict. However, in the navy, there are things you can’t say to your officer, or even your colleague. Even though you might want to say ‘go to hell’, you can’t say that. So if someone says ‘roger that’, or ‘yes sir’, and they say it with a certain tone of voice, you know what they really feel. It would have been really easy to cheat, and have them do whatever we wanted them to do, but giving them actual protocol, and making them live within that protocol gives things a lot of depth, too. Our challenge is to find the emotional intelligence and depth, and still keep these characters consistent.”

Steven pauses for a moment. “You know, the average age of a crew member on a guided missile destroyer in the US is 20-21 years old. These are young kids, some of them never went to college, and this is their first time away from home. Even in a non-apocalyptic situation, it’s a huge responsibility. Now they’re thrust into this situation where they are the hope of humanity, they’re not being paid any more, and there might not even be a navy. There’s no chance of promotion, this is it. You have this job for the foreseeable future. Suddenly, you’re not obeying orders because you’re afraid of getting in trouble, but because the only way the crew can stay alive is if they stick to their core values and military discipline. They’ll either live together, or die separately. It was a great challenge for us, and makes for some exciting storytelling.”


steve-directing-helo-bay“Truthfully, a lot of what happens is just me deciding where I want the ship to go this year! As we were coming to the end of filming season two, I thought Asia would be fun. We hadn’t been to Asia. There’s a whole bunch of water there! There’s lots of islands, lots of languages, it might be interesting. As the idea developed, we figured out who would be alive, who would bounce back the most quickly, and who has resources. We figured that China was the strongest nation in the region, along with Japan. What we ask in season three is in a world where most of the population has been killed off, is how do you organise society? Is there room for democracy? Is there room for representative government? If you’re living in a sparsely populated area, if you want things like running water, TV, wifi, you’re going to have to move to a place with more people, or you’re going to have to chip in. You might be a journalist, but you’re going to have to spend three hours a day working at the local power plant. If that’s the way it’s going to work, you’re going to have to have some sort of central command. People are going to say ‘well, that’s what Stalin was doing. That’s not what we do in a free, liberal society.’ We have a look at what role government plays, and we play that out a lot in season three with the St Louis story, where the president is trying to put a broken country back together, and we’ll see how other countries react, too.”

President Peng being a case in point? “In the case of China, a strong man came to the fore, and he has his own idea of how things should be run. We just thought it would be fun to explore that reason. We also have a new character, Sasha, a woman who speaks five or six different Asian languages in the first episode alone, and we thought all of this would give the audience a different ‘look’. It just so happens that, like with the virus, we touched on things that were happening in real world politics. China are building islands, and reefs, and putting air bases, weapons and forward looking radar there, their neighbours being uncomfortable… we didn’t do that on purpose. It just happens that, once again, real life mirrored what we were doing.”

There’s one thing, though, that the fans have been screaming about since the first 30 seconds of the season, so I decide, in the words of Captain Chandler himself, to ‘poke the elephant’ in the room. Rachel Scott is dead, so how has that changed the dynamic? Steven doesn’t really seem surprised at the question, and has probably been asked something along the same lines a hundred times or more. “On a show level, we deliberately called episode one of season three ‘The Scott Effect’. This is on two levels – firstly, it’s the name given to the formula that determines how many people need to catch the contagious cure for it to be effective. On a fundamental level, the effect of her death casts a pall over the whole season. Without her presence, the idea that the virus may have mutated becomes an issue, because there’s nobody of her calibre around to address the problem. Not having her puts us in a weaker situation. On an emotional level, Chandler had an opportunity to invite her into his room, to show her a little bit more about how he felt about her, and he just wasn’t emotionally available. He was mourning the loss of his wife, and was also trying to figure out how to stay the moral centre for the ship. It’s a big responsibility. Anyway, he closed the door to any further romance at that time, but he left the door open by telling her to call him when she got back. You get the sense that, maybe, there would be a future for them. And then she got killed.”

He says this in such a matter of fact way that I’m almost amused. “That weighs heavily on Chandler. He wasn’t there for her, he mourns her, and she’s one more casualty to add to his wife and everything else he’s lost. It’s an emotional thing for him and for Tex. On a personal level, it was the hardest thing for us. We love Rhona, we love working with her, and she was part of the family since the beginning of the show. Sometimes, even your biggest stars can die off. Part of that is that you’re telling a novelised story, and the audience has to believe there’s real risk. You have to be willing to put anyone’s life on the line. We don’t do it in a craven way, but we let the audience know that it isn’t just Ensign #3 who might get killed. It could be someone you really care about. When that happens, people can get really angry and upset, because it’s a character they love. It makes people have some skin in the game, because they believe it could happen to anybody. It’s hard for me, because I’m actually the one who makes the phone call! I’m the one who tells them ‘this is the episode where things don’t work out for you’. I used to cry every phone call! Every actor takes it so graciously. It’s not done vindictively or to fire them, it’s because that’s where the story wants to go. We do our part to make their deaths as meaningful as possible. It’s hard to let go, but it also helps the show to grow. You take a lot of hits, battle wounds, but you get a stronger audience member, and a stronger show as a result.”


Finally, August’s issue carried an interview with Jocko Sims, who plays Lt Carlton Burk.

Life Imitating Art – Jocko Sims talks about going from playing a DJ to being one, & everything in between

september-coverIn the first two seasons of the show, Carlton Burk has remained something of a mystery, with us finding out little about his background. However, season three finds us discovering that he not only has a big brother, Cameron – played by LaMonica Garrett – but Cameron is now on the USS Nathan James, and is just a little bit senior to Carlton. In our family, that would have created World War 3! I ask Jocko to tell us a little bit about that development, and what that means for Carlton.

“Yeah, so Carlton has this older brother,” chuckles Jocko, his voice clearly amused. “Cameron is also in the navy, and, after the Red Flu broke out, survived for four months with just his men, and was responsible for keeping them safe. He’s now on the ship, and we get to see how the brothers interact. Despite them being the same rank, Cameron is slightly more senior, and we definitely get to see some sibling rivalry there!”

Sibling rivalry aside, I wonder what else we’re going to see by way of discovering more about the Burk brothers’ upbringing. “Oh, they’re close,” Jocko assures me. “They’ve probably had something of a tough upbringing, so they’ve had to learn to rely on one another to an extent. Sure, we’re gonna see the usual brotherly fights and jealousies between them, but they’re close.” This is one of the things we love about The Last Ship: the fact that the writers strive to make things as close to real life as possible, and that includes genuine points of friction between the characters. It’s one of the things that makes the ensemble cast work so well when the storyline is transposed to our screens.


In the first two seasons of the show, we’ve seen Carlton Burk as something of a rock: safe and steady, although not averse to getting stuck into the action. However, the season premiere showed us a different side to Carlton, with an epic hand to hand fight that ended with more than a few shades of Indiana Jones. It’s a scene that went down particularly well with the fans, and made me chuckle. “I’m glad you enjoyed the fight,” Jocko says, and I ask him to explain a little more of the background behind it, and how it worked to film it.

“It was great fun, you know? We have some fantastic fight choreographers, and they make it as easy as possible to make things look real.” Surely it must have taken days of rehearsal? “Well, I got called in to learn the fight, and I had maybe thirty minutes to learn all the moves!” Given that the scene in question is probably almost a minute long, this is impressive stuff. “The guy I was fighting was really huge, but he was a great fighter. It was his job to respond to my moves, and my job to react properly to his.” Jocko then throws me a curveball, asking me how long I thought the fight took to film. Three hours, I guess. “More like four and a half,” he exclaims. “The window was just one take, though. We had just one shot at putting me through the glass, but the rest took a while.” The end result was worth it, though, with the fight a fast moving brawl through a warehouse, ultimately ending in an Indiana Jones style moment. Well worth watching the season three premiere for.

I ask Jocko what attracted him to the role of Burk, who, at least on the face of it, might seem like a very straightforward character. “You know, that’s a good question,” he muses, but only for a second. “I’m often cast in quite cerebral roles – lawyers, detectives, that sort of thing. “I went for Carlton because he was something a bit different, not what I’d usually play.” It’s true, too: a quick look at Jocko’s IMDb listing shows you roles as a Department of Justice investigator (Castle), a civil rights worker (Masters of Sex) and a lawyer (Franklin & Bash). Also listed are roles as a US Marine in Jarhead and a Private First Class in Covert Affairs. However, even including his role as Carlton Burk, the military portrayals are definitely in the minority. Despite the departure from his usual “type”, the role feels like it was made for Jocko. “You know, I was completely surprised when I got the call telling me I had the role!”

It wasn’t the first time that Jocko has appeared with Eric Dane either, albeit in a somewhat roundabout way. Jocko appeared in a season six episode of Grey’s Anatomy, in which Eric played one of the leads, Dr Mark Sloan, better known as ‘McSteamy’. “I didn’t actually get to shoot any scenes with Eric back then,” admits Jocko. “There was a bit of foreshadowing, though. When my name came up on the credits, it was right across Eric’s face! I had a bit of a joke with him when we started working together on The Last Ship, and I told him it was a sign of things to come!”

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It’s not just for his stellar performance as Carlton Burk that Jocko’s made a name for himself on the show. I mention that a little birdie named Bren Foster told me that he and Kevin Michael Martin, who plays Miller, are the two biggest jokers on set. He seems to find this funny, and I wonder whether my remark might have caught him out a little! “Kevin and I, we’re inseparable when the cameras stop rolling,” he laughs. “In my first episode, he was one of the people I was yelling at, really making him feel uncomfortable. I found that uncomfortable for myself, as a person. In the second episode, we had a nice scene where I’m a bit nicer to him, and give him a bag of chips!” It certainly seems that a bromance was born early on.

“We’re always messing around on set, always playing pranks on people, but nothing too much, nothing that will disrupt the show. The schedule on The Last Ship is too insane to do that! I mention that Bren told me about the golf cart liberation incident, and Jocko laughs again. “We really have a lot of fun together, we just clicked the moment we met. We just can’t help messing around sometimes!”

I wonder whether this mischievous side was something that evolved as he got to know Kevin, or whether he’s always been a prankster. Jocko admits to it being the latter when I ask him about the most outrageous prank he’s ever pulled. “I’ve always played these really elaborate pranks, and always loved playing practical jokes. I was about 11 when my cousin and I were home alone, and I pretended to hear something outside. He was terrified, and I said I’d go upstairs to call my mom. Instead of calling her, I snuck out the window, down onto the fence on the second level, and quietly slid the sliding door open. The curtain was slightly closed, so he didn’t see me, or hear the door open. I leapt out from behind the curtain, and I can still see the look on his face now – it was priceless! I think he may have actually messed his pants.” It definitely sounds as though you don’t want to be on the wrong side of Jocko in a prank war.


So there you have it – four great interviews with four “The Last Ship” favourites! For the full interviews, go to http://filmandtvmagazine.com where you can download the magazine via the app for FREE, on Android, Apple and Kindle Fire. The magazine is continuing coverage of the show in the hiatus, so download the app for free to be first to know what’s coming next!