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October 18, 2013 10:50PM EST

Q&A with Philip Winchester

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  • Q

    What was your favourite Strike Back scene to film and why?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    PW: One of my favorites from this season is the terrorist compound scene from episode 29 (season 3, episode 9). After we shot the firefight scenes in the hallway with the night vision goggles on, we got into that small room and realized we had to re-block what was in the script. It was a really small room and we had to blow the safe too. On the fly, we changed our movements to fit the space, rehearsed the blocking and camera movement for about 2 hours and then shot it really fast. It was very creative and collaborative with everyone – the actors, crew, stunt team and explosives experts. And a lot of fun to do.

  • Q

    Favorite action or fight scene in any season?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    One of my favorite fight scenes was in this season is in episode 29 (season 3, episode 9) in the amusement park where the hostiles come at Stonebridge with a knife. In between takes a couple days prior to shooting, Paul (Hornsby, military advisor) and I just started blocking some general moves. The next day we blocked it with the fighters, who were not stunt guys but real military guys. We went through all the moves blow by blow and it was very challenging because these guys are real operatives and were really coming at me. I had to up my game.

  • Q

    Name 3 dangerous stunt scenes in which you've had to participate. Which one has been the riskiest to date?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    In this year’s finale, I had to do a jump from a moving van to a moving car on a live freeway. It was particularly challenging because we were going about 45 km per hour and any slight misstep would have meant really bad news. There was no way for a safety line to be attached so I just kept focused and relied on my prep. I don’t always get butterflies in my stomach before a big stunt but this time I really did. I hope fans really like the scene, it was pretty fun to do.

  • Q

    Do you prepare yourself for the outrageous and dangerous stunts? If so, how?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    We do a lot of prep and training so that our bodies can take the blows and handle the physical demands. We do a lot of conditioning and endurance workouts as well.

  • Q

    If the series continues, what would you like to do with your character that you haven't done in the previous seasons?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    I would love to see Stonebridge have a deep meaningful relationship. Having something more in his life would give him a good balance. But he’s the kind that has to fight for that too, that’s just his personality. He would want the relationship to be as important to him as being a soldier.

  • Q

    Do you know that you have fans in Brazil, right? Have you ever came here?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    Awesome! We are thrilled that Brazil likes the show, we have the greatest fans in world and we REALLY appreciate them. One day I want to come to Brazil, it looks so wonderful and vibrant. I would love, love, love to go to the World Cup next summer. Rio baby!!!

  • Q

    Do you think that Stonebridge has finally recovered from his wife death and is ready to love again?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    In the timeline of the show, it’s only been about a year so it’s still fresh for Stonebridge. The work keeps him occupied so he doesn’t have to face things he doesn’t want to.

  • Q

    DO you find yourself using the training you received for the show in everyday life and or in other roles that you play? Best show on TV!!

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    More for situational awareness – where I am and what is happening – I apply that to my every day life. Yeah, and sometimes I’ll make sure I know where exits are in restaurants and stuff.

  • Q

    Are you and Stonebridge lot a like?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    Well I’m not a soldier, but I’m in such awe of what they do so I’ve worked hard to be accurate in all depths of the role – both physical and mental. I’m proud that we can represent their complicated lives with realness and respect. Like the real people who do this work, I share their dedication and work ethic, I like to prepare and train. I like to bulldog in and go for it.

  • Q

    What is a little known and interesting fact about yourself?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    It’s kind of funny -- I can’t grow a beard. (Laughs) Stonebridge is always clean- shaven for that reason. It fits in great with the character. As much as I’d like to be scruffy and ragged sometimes, my beard doesn’t grow.

  • Q

    How do you feel about having a romantic element for Michael now? What are your thoughts on Michael's hesitance despite his attraction?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    Stonebridge is still hurting, it is too soon for him, as he lost both women he loved recently. It’s not easy for him to go there, he doesn’t know what to do with those emotions. Stonebridge is aware of how easy it is for Scott, and maybe Stonebridge will ask for some advice.

  • Q

    Fans know a bit on Michael's formative years but have you come up with a back story of your own to address his tendency to repress emotion?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    Stonebridge lost his mother when he was young, so he is used to burying his emotions since an early age. He was raised by his grandma and knew that her time was more finite. Death has been a big part of his life, so maybe it’s a bit matter of fact for him. Because he buries emotions away, it takes much longer for him to deal with things.

  • Q

    If you could give Stonebridge one piece of advice, what would it be?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    Chill out! Go with the flow a bit more dude!

  • Q

    Stonebridge has had some really awesome fight scenes. Did you have to do a lot of self-defense training? Was it quite intimidating with fighting with knives?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    I have done a lot of training because it’s necessary for it all to look real on screen but also for our protection so we don’t get hurt. Some of my favorites are MMA (mixed martial arts), muay thai and an Israeli style of training that came from street fighting called Krav Maga. I like Systema (Russian martial arts) because it taught me a lot of good knife fighting techniques.

  • Q

    What was the best practical joke you have played on set? What was the best played on you?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    Sometimes we haze the newbies a little. When new actors come on set sometimes we tell them that the explosions are tough to take or the squibs hurt. They are challenging but the stunt and safety teams take all the precautions. So after the newbies shoot their first explosion scene, they are like, “That wasn’t so bad.” We have a little laugh about it.

  • Q

    At the end of the series, if Stonebridge and Scott make it out of alive, how do you see them? Lifelong mercs or family men? Still friends?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    Oh definitely not mercenaries – they’ve had those opportunities presented to them many times and turned them down. They seem to keep an eye on each other, especially when one is going through dark stuff that could lead them that way. Even though sometimes they grate on each other, they still need each other, which is the making of good friendships.

  • Q

    What's your most memorable moment from the set of Strike Back?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    It was pretty rough in episode 29 (season 3, episode 9) where I’m hanging off the train and the car explodes. The explosion was in front of us so after it went off, fire and glass went all over us. The fireball knocked over a stunt guy and a cameraman. We were all fine, but it was definitely something none of us will forget because, oh shit, it was close.

  • Q

    What was episode was the most fun to film this year and what one was the hardest for you, either physically or emotionally?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    Eps 21 and 22 (season 3 episodes 1-2) were really hard because I was very sick and Bassett (co-executive producer, writer, director Michael J. Bassett) doesn’t hold back. The water made a bunch of us sick and I wasn’t spared – I had no energy. So I had all these crazy stunts to do in the water, fighting, swimming, gunning and I had to dig down really deep from my bootstraps to make it happen. Both were really physical episodes. Hopefully it looks great and no one can tell how much we were all hurting.

  • Q

    What is the best thing about working on a show like Strike Back?

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    A
    Philip Winchester says:

    We have a lot of artistic freedom in the show to develop the character. Also the producers and directors trust us to use the military training we’ve learned to block firefights and combat scenes. It can be really satisfying for me especially because I really enjoy that. Traveling all over the world to amazing locations has been really amazing. We’ve been all over South Africa and Hungary and seen some of the most beautiful places in the world.