“Taken” has turned into a TV show!
The stars of Taken on NBC Gaius Charles, Clive Standen, and Brooklyn Sudano were at NBC’s Press Day in New York, and we were there to catch up with the stars and talk about the upcoming show.
Taken follows Bryan Mills, whose played by Liam Neeson in the movies, during his early life. Clive Standen is excited to take on the role and doesn’t feel the pressure to fill Neeson’s shoes. Standen spoke about the role and what says, “ They’re big feet [to fill]. In all seriousness it was really daunting when I took on the role, but I realize now I’m not making the same Bryan Mills as he played…That’s a different Bryan Mills. I’m playing a Bryan Mills whose 35 years old.”
Gaius Charles has yet another TV debut and this time he plays “John,” a leader of the black ops team. John helps train Bryan Mills in the show to get him to the green berets and CIA.”We kind of get to see him get Bryan into the team,” Charles says. “And integrate but also watch Bryan deal with some of the challenges he has dealing with Callie’s death and dealing with the trauma that he has.”
Gaius let us know that Taken has been filming for over a year now, among other things.
The character of Asha is played by Brooklyn Sudano. “Asha is an environmental lawyer, so she doesn’t really see as much action as the rest of the team, however you know there’s definitely was stunts and fight scene that I did get to see and eventually be apart.”
Taken is an action packed one hour show and airs Mondays 10/9 on NBC.
Check out our interview below:
You’re going to be the face of this massively successful franchise. Do you feel the pressure is on you to kind of fill the shoes of Liam Neeson?
Clive Standen: They’re big feet. In all seriousness it was really daunting when I took on the role but I realize now I’m not making the same Bryan Mills as he played. He played Bryan Mills in his early 60s, a grizzly veteran of the CIA. Not only that but he’s moved to Los Angeles to be closer to his daughter. That’s a different Bryan Mills. I’m playing a Bryan Mills whose 35 years old. He definitely has some skills. He’s ex green beret, but not particularly yet, he’s not comfortable in his own skin. This is a character who is going to trip, stumble, fall down, and we’re going to have to sometimes drag him back on his feet, push him through that door because … he’s got forward momentum that’s his skill. He has an ability to think outside of the box and keep going forward. Has he got plans formulated in his head, no. But that’s what makes it exciting to watch. I think on the TV show that’s the only way for all this. I think we want to see him learn from his mistakes. We want to be there with him and see how far he travels in this season. If he’s got all the answers straight off the bat then it gets boring very quickly.
This is obviously very action orientated. I mean Charles, your colleague says that he sees it as a one hour action movie. So I was wondering, did you have to prepare for this in any way? Did you train with ex green berets, black ops, you know all those fun buzzwords?
Clive Standen: Yeah, so there were two special forces guys and it took two weeks from waking up at five in the morning working right until we separate at night, just getting me to reload mags into guns intensively until it becomes second nature … But then I bring a lot of experience with the martial arts from before. I used to be a mai-tai boxer, 30-80 … so I may not have done much weaponry work but I’ve been tumbling and I know how to fall and things, so I’ve been trying to do that myself because I think in a TV show when it’s not got the budget of a $100 millions pound action movie … what I can add to the genre is to continue the story being told for 47 minutes. And you want to see those actors faces in those action moments, otherwise it just becomes car chases and explosions. You need to keep driving this character and this story onwards. And if the director can put the camera on my face when I’m getting hit by car, and when I get back up and you see Bryan’s frustration. You know it’s blood, sweat and tears, and you start being in the action with him, that’s always the strength of the film.
You’re from Holywood. Now you’re in “Hollywood.” Did you ever think one day I’ll be in Hollywood? I’ll add the extra ‘L’.
Clive Standen: Yeah, well the Holywood in Northern Ireland, I grew up on an army base. It’s pretty much just an army base. It’s funny you said that because Roy McEvoy the golfer comes up from Northern Ireland and so does Jamie Dornan, so they’re totally getting it, it’s this tiny little town.
Do you get a lot of ‘hey, there’s that local hero!’
Clive Standen: Like I said, it’s an army base, so you pretty much go back to where you were born and kind of get people putting rifles on your face saying “do you have a pass to get on the premises?”
So “Taken” man!
Gaius Charles: “Taken” man! [Laughs] We did the pilot about a year ago so I’ve been waiting almost a year so I’m excited to see it and have it air.
So what got you into the project? I know you’ve had already a huge success on TV already, but what got you interested in this project?
Gaius Charles: Really you know, when I saw that they were making this, my first reaction was “okay, they’re making a show, alright, let’s check it out.” But after I met Alex Cary, who’s our showrunner, Alex Graves, so many folks involved and just saw what they wanted to do, so passionate about it, and it’s such a blessing to be apart of the show.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your character and his relationship with Bryan?
Gaius Charles: So I know from the pilot people are always like, is John a good guy, is John a bad guy? No exactly. In the conventional sense John is a good guy but he’s not afraid to be a little rough when the job calls for it, so we get to kind of see his character develop in the next episode we get to seem him take Bryan through the Black Ops training, so John is basically the leader of the black ops team, the covert action team. And we kind of get to see him get Bryan into the team and integrate but also watch Bryan deal with some of the challenges he has dealing with Callie’s death and dealing with the trauma that he has.
You’re trying to kick off to that scene.
Gaius Charles: Yeah, we actually shot that scene last actually, so it’s kind of cool to see how it all came together and you know how they just put it together so beautifully.
I heard you say earlier that this is almost like one hour action movie.
Gaius Charles: Totally, yeah yeah.
So did you prepare for this role in some way.
Gaius Charles: You know I hit the gym you know [trying to bulk up] but also kind of cool because they brought in this guy who’s a special ops guy to help us get the feel, the mentality for what those guys go through and I thought that was really helpful.
You seem to have a really recurring career now on TV, but I was wondering, do you see yourself transitioning more and more into film now that you know, you’re name is really getting out there.
Gaius Charles: Well it’s been a blessing and I would certainly like to do that. When you get opportunities to do great things, you want to make the most of them so that would certainly be great.
I read that you got into all these Ivy Leagues when you were a kid and then you ended up choosing Vanderbilt, then dropped out?
Brooklyn Sudano: You know I was a little bit of a book worm in high school and I did, I applied to the Browns and Dukes, and Georgetown’s of the world. I ended up going to Vanderbilt because it was close to my home in Nashville. My sister was a year younger than me so I wanted to stay close to home, but I think I ultimately decided, I know how to get an A on a paper and it wasn’t really giving me what I needed at that moment and I just was like I’m going to take a break. You know, let’s take a break and live a little bit of life and see what I really want to put all my energy and passion towards. And you know, I went and studied at Lee Strasberg theatre Institute through the NYU program, for a little while and then I was like I think I’m just going to jump and do this. So you know yeah, I think at a certain point you just have to make calculated risks, but at some point you just gotta jump.
Absolutely. You know this a very action orientated TV show, I was wondering, how did you prepare for that role?
Brooklyn Sudano: So my character Asha is an environmental lawyer, so she doesn’t really see as much action as the rest of the team, however you know there’s definitely was stunts and fight scene that I did get to see and eventually be apart of so I think it’s just one of those things where you just have to like keep stamina, and get sleep, and take care of yourself. We were shooting in Toronto so I didn’t have a car and so I walked everywhere and you’d be amazed at how fit walking gets you, so you don’t have to train for hours in a gym, you can just walk. So yeah I just try to be smart about it.
So are there any kind of take aways from your character that you’d want audiences to know before the series kicks off.
Brooklyn Sudano: Yeah you know, I think Asha is a strong, driven, young woman who is a truth seeker. And I think in her linking up with the Bryan Mills character and finding him, you know she’s really dealing with some really tough things and grief and you know, I don’t think on television people really discusses or flush that out. It was really interesting to me to play a character that had just experienced this tragedy and how you deal with that and how you find connection with somebody else that is also going through that. So hopefully that can help somebody or be interesting to somebody.