Interview with Barry Sloane

I am excited to share with y’all our interview of current SIX star Barry Sloane. I’ve been a fan since his day’s on Revenge so this was such an honor. I have to say I was tickled pink when we received his answers in audio form, it’s certainly no hardship listening to that British accent when transcribing his answers.  SIX on History is a truly incredible show, as a military wife, I’m particularly drawn to the fact that it explores the toll that life takes on the family, not just on blowing stuff up (although I’m all about the explosions too lol)! We do get our fair share of high paced action as well, and Barry Sloane is always on point whether it’s a physical or emotional scene. I hope you enjoy the interview!

     We’re so thrilled that SIX got picked up for a second season by the History Channel and can’t wait for the first episode. There have been a couple of other special forces tv series to come out this past season, but SIX felt like a totally different animal. It really plays more like a mini-movie, the action was so well done and realistic. What really made this script stand out to you and got you excited about the character of Joe “Bear” Graves?

Yeah, since we made SIX, since we aired, there has been a ton of other shows of the same genre, shall we say, come up on tv. You know, I guess we all took it as a compliment really, with the success of SIX and the numbers that we got on the network. I think that made people’s mind up for the network shows, things like SEAL Team is on a major network and is in a different kind of place to our show. I think that we can go down roads that they can’t follow us down, and I think they can blow more things up that we can, I think they have 19x the budget.

I think it’s great that a light has been shone on the military and the cost to both the country and the human being who is involved in doing it, and the family. The more shows that highlight that community the better, as far as I’m concerned.

(I know this is a long-winded first answer, don’t worry they won’t all be like this.) At this point I may have giggled a little transcribing this, even his asides are charming.
When I initially read the pilot script, Joe was just a character that I just felt I could step inside of very easily. The weight on his shoulders, the struggle to take care of his brothers, his country, his wife, his God, was something that excited me. Stepping into the shoes of a different type of life, I mean a Navy SEAL, couldn’t be farther from me, from where I grew up in Liverpool, England and the life I’ve lead for myself. So it’s an honor to be able to experience what these guys do from a very safe distance. We’re very thankful that we were received so well.

I know that you spent some time with real SEAL team members when preparing for season 1. Did you have that opportunity again heading into this season and what was that experience like?

Yeah, we have a fantastic team of ex-members of DEVGRU or SEAL Team 6 as it’s known publicly, and it’s well documented what we did in preparation for season 1. In season 2 we filled a very large bag full of camping goods and hiking goods and were given a food allowance to decide on what we deemed necessary. We were taken out in a van early one morning and we started walking. We didn’t stop walking for 4 days. Within that time we learned how to survive in sub-zero conditions, how to sleep in the snow, how to navigate our way without use of conventional navigation, how to use very high-tech navigation and again, you know, we were pushed to a level we didn’t know when we summited Black Tusk, a mountain up there in Garibaldi Park in British Columbia. We were taken a for a walk and by the end of that day, we had climbed a mountain. Incredible. It was incredible getting to spend time with those guys, we spent a few days out in a cabin in the woods, in the middle of nowhere. We sat around a fire and they told us stories from their time in service. We sat and we listened, that stuff is like gold so we were very fortunate to get that.

In order to look the part, you guys obviously trained a ton. What was that process like?

The training for the show is continual, really, we do our work prior to shooting each season. I give myself like a 12-week program, building up, I’ve got a couple options for season 3 as soon as we get the green light. For season 2, I was training up in Santa Fe, NM while I was shooting Longmire, so I was training and running at altitude, so that really helped me kinda get there, for the all hiking that the SEALs put us through once we went through boot camp.

But then once we’re into the show it’s just about maintaining. So we’ll have a few pull up bars and things on set. We’ll do some bodyweight stuff in the gear, just you know, in between setups and things like that. We try to eat well; the caterers look after us pretty well while we’re filming. Try to keep away the doughnuts, unless you know, we ask them personally. But yeah, we all enjoy going to the gym, we all enjoy training together so it’s a lot of fun.

     We left off last season with the gut-wrenching shooting of Rip, which was made even worse by your team having spent all season trying to rescue him. Do we pick up directly after the shooting for season 2 or is there a time lapse?

I mean, the cliffhanger at the end of season 1 was amazing, Walton is an incredible actor and he’s a great man as well. He was such a pleasure to work with and have around and I’m very pleased to call him a friend of mine. And we…without giving too much away…we don’t lose too much time from where we left off. We’re going to be right into the story as much as possible, and the ramifications of that are going to be huge. Each person on the team is affected differently by what happens, and you know, it also affects their home life, their families. If someone can be shot on American soil it changes the ball game entirely.

How does that shooting affect your team going forward?

You’ll see growth in Juan Pablo’s character Ortiz, it’s a very interesting season for him. He’s done some fantastic work, I’m very excited for people to see what he has done with his character this year. Likewise, with Kyle, Caulder has an amazing storyline this year. And once again Kyle has smashed it out of the park, he’s a very dynamic actor, very brave in his choices and I love watching what he does, I love working with him. Again, you’re going to enjoy seeing that. Everyone’s character has had a growth session this year, Edwin Hodge with Chase, we see him fall down the rabbit hole. He’s going to some dark places, Edwin is a real powerhouse, he’s got such an intensity and he’s very exciting to watch. Jaylen smashed it this year, his storyline, we get to really know who Fishbait is this year, which is fantastic because it was just the surface last year. We get to take him into our heart this year and see what it means to be an Afghan American, a Muslim Seal. What an incredible opportunity we have to tell that story and we’re proud that we’ve done so.
We’ll have a fantastic addition to the SEAL team in Eric Ladin who plays Trevor. Trevor is a character that a lot of people are going to enjoy. He adds a different energy and a different color to the palette than we had last year. People are going to be loving that character from the get-go, so we’re very excited.

Which are more taxing to shoot for you – the action-heavy scenes, or the more emotional ones?  

The joy of this show is that we get to play both the action stuff, which is very taxing physically, you know, we wear full body armor, the helmets, the guns, it all weighs. We wear that for 12-16 hours a day in the battle sequence days, in heat and cold. It’s very easy compared to what the real deal have to do, we’re not even getting shot at. We get it done. It’s physically taxing, but then we also get to explore these guys inner workings. This season especially, I feel like I’ve been saying in interviews a lot, where the scenes left off last year, if you follow those characters around a corner and observe them a little more, privately, that’s kind of where we are with this season. So getting to, they’re both taxing in different ways, it certainly requires different tools in your toolset, but that’s why we’re all so thrilled to be a part of this show. We get to have an opportunity to do both and not just to be one trick ponies.

     You’ve been all over the place in your career, from Broadway to the romantic bad buy Aiden on Revenge and now to SIX. How does shooting such an action-focused show differ from what you’ve done in the past? Do you have any plans to return to the stage either in New York or back in London?

I’ll always have a fondness for theatre, theatre is what brought me to the United States and what gave myself and my family the opportunity for the life we have now. If I hadn’t been a part of a particular play, you know, I like to think I would have been here eventually, I’m a very driven actor and human being. But, it afforded us the opportunity to have the life we have now. Across the board, I’ve had very varied jobs throughout my career, I’ve been very fortunate in that, from Jerusalem to Revenge to Longmire, to Six. Saints & Strangers as well, we got to do the pilgrim stuff, that was a lot of fun.

Anything that’s away from who you are, any opportunity to work in this industry, I’m very fortunate to be in the 1% of actors that does work. I don’t take that for granted for a second and I’m very thankful for every job that I get to do. Of course, I’ll be back on stage at some point in my career, I don’t know exactly when that will be. All being well, SIX is going to go for another few years so I’ll be busy. But when that finishes, who knows, who knows where we’ll end up, that’s the joy of this career and that’s the joy of life.

     You’ve tweeted some before that you feel like it can be difficult to make an acting career work in the UK if you haven’t gone to all the “right” schools in the “right” places. Can you tell us a little bit about that struggle and how you’ve fought it? 

I grew up in Liverpool, England, which is a very working class part of the UK and it’s a struggle to make it I think coming from those backgrounds in the acting industry. A lot of the breakouts that come from the UK are from usually 2, 3 or 4 schools in the entire country. That’s not to say that they aren’t incredibly talented actors, because they all are, I wouldn’t for one second suggest that they don’t deserve the jobs that they have, because they do. I can only speak from my experience, and I know that it wasn’t an option for me to wait on the right job that might give me the kudos to have a quicker ascent. I had to gig, I had to go from job to job when it presented itself because I needed the money. That was my main source of income, I had no fallback plan. I wouldn’t ask my parents for money, it was work. When work came, I took it. Perhaps this year is breaking the trend. I’ve seen BAFTA nominations came out and perhaps 3 of the 4 major dramas than have been celebrated are working class stories. Like I say, I can only ever speak from my experience and I know it was particularly tough to break down certain doors. That playing field opens up when you come to the United States and I can see why that happens a lot, why people would be drawn here under those circumstances.

Thank you again for your time, is there anything else you’d like your fans to know?

Again, very thankful to be here and I look forward to doing many more jobs here in the United States. All the best.

***because this was an audio interview, answers have been very lightly edited for clarity and syntax.***

Season 2 of SIX premieres May 28th at 10/9c on History channel. You can follow Barry on Twitter at  @BarrySloane and on Instagram  @BarryPaulSloane

Also, make sure you’re following us on @tvserieshub to live tweet the show, or hit me up on  @nolenag03 anytime to chat about SIX.