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Philip Winchester discusses the intensity of shooting “Strike Back” series

Philip Winchester shares details on starring in the second season of the Cinemax action drama “Strike Back.”
BY MELISSA HAYER Published: August 13, 2012

In the action drama “Strike Back,” which centers on British top-secret counterterrorism intelligence unit Section 20, the most important characteristic of its members is the ability to think fast in potentially deadly situations and to come up with alternative solutions to get out of them.

This is also a quality that comes in handy during the production of the show, according to star Philip Winchester, who plays Sgt. Michael Stonebridge in the Cinemax series.

The second season of “Strike Back,” filmed in South Africa, premieres with back-to-back episodes at 9 p.m. Friday. It also stars Sullivan Stapleton, Rhashan Stone and Michelle Lukes, and features new cast member Rhona Mitra.

A Montana native, Winchester, 31, whose uncle is retiring Garfield County Sheriff Bill Winchester of Enid, spoke to The Oklahoman during a recent phone interview to discuss working on the show's second season, including how the shooting location of the first two episodes had to be changed at the last minute.

“We lost this main location right off the bat,” Winchester said. “We were supposed to film the first two episodes in Mozambique ... and there was a massive freedom fighter rally about a week before we were supposed to get there.

“And production sat down with all the people who deal with traveling safely and things like that, and they just said there's no way that we could take a production team and a bunch of guys with fake AK-47s where there's a 100,000 guys with real AK-47s and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) and stuff, walking around the streets of Mozambique commemorating battles that they've had.”

But, of course, in the world of entertainment, the show must go on.

“They pulled the plug on Mozambique ... Some of us, we chartered a plane and went there for a couple of days and did some interior stuff, and then did some rooftop shots, but we never got to hold a weapon in Mozambique. And then the way to fix it was they made it all night. So they changed the script to night time, and we shot it back in Cape Town.

“So, that first block was just brutal, because we went from a month in Mozambique, which was going to be absolutely beautiful, to a month of night shoots in Cape Town in some of the roughest neighborhoods and townships.”

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