How playing the role of a SEAL Team 6 operator changed this actor's life
When actor Kyle Schmid landed a role playing one of America’s most elite commandos in the new HISTORY drama “SIX,” he knew critics would be looking for every flaw in his portrayal — no matter how small.
Seriously? It was the elite operators from SEAL Team 6 that executed the daring raid that killed terror mastermind Osama bin Laden. And a Canadian-born actor who’d never played a role like this was supposed to pull off a convincing performance of one of the world’s best warriors?
It was a daunting task, but one Schmid took very seriously.
“The entire reason we did this show, and why we all wanted to do it so badly, is we wanted to do something that had integrity at the end of the day,” Schmid said in an exclusive interview with We Are The Mighty. “It’s incredibly important to get all those little things right.”
“We’ll be under the microscope of anyone that’s been in the military who served and is going to pick out the little things that we do wrong — that’s just going to happen,” he added. “But we tried our damnedest to do everything right as we possibly could; we spent a lot of time and energy doing that.”
“SIX” is a new drama series produced by the HISTORY cable channel that takes a deep look into what it’s like to be a member of one of the world’s most elite military units. The show goes well beyond a shoot-em-up (though there’s plenty of door kicking and explosive entries to satisfy any action junky) and explores the toll the high OPTEMPO job of a DevGru operator takes on personal relationships.
What’s more, “SIX” tackles some of the ethical issues these commandos face on each and every mission, and explores how the elite team members deal with lapses of judgement and tactics among themselves.
Schmid plays SEAL Team 6 operator Alex Caulder, a seemingly free-spirit sailor who’d rather be chasing skirts and riding tubes than jumping out of airplanes and shooting bad guys. But under the hedonistic exterior, the unit’s “point man” is warrior philosopher, acting as his team’s conscience when ops go bad.
“I’ve always been a morally driven and ethical person as a human being,” Schmid said, adding he used the help of military consultants and his own personality to “get in Caulder’s head.”
“It’s all about the choices you make in your life and whether you’re able to stand behind them with the integrity that you want to,” Schmid said.
“There’s a joke the guys were saying on set: ‘You’re too Caulder for Caulder,’ ” Schmid added.
But Caulder is more than a thinker — he’s one of the SEAL team’s best assaulters, flowing through rooms and popping up on tangos like he was born to it. And it’s no accident that the action looks so good on the screen.
Working with tactical trainer and former SEAL Mitch Hall of Trident Focus, the actors on “SIX” spent two weeks learning how to shoot and move like real-world operators.
Schmid recalled that in one of the fight scenes in the first episode, “as point man, I’m pieing these corners and I’ve got my feet wrong and I’m still trying to gauge the depth with my MP7 around the corner so I’m not sticking my head out and getting it blown off and I asked Mitch, ‘let’s do it again to get it right.’ ”
It was an intensive course that Schmid took seriously, even taking days off to work at the range and practice his tactics. And when the filming was done for HISTORY’s “SIX,” the actor emerged a changed man.
“This [role] really allowed me to look at life from a different perspective. I learned to turn down my dial — to realize what was important and what was worth worrying about,” Schmid says. “On the other side … I’m much more aware of my surroundings, constantly living in the ‘yellow’ — and I gotta tell you, it’s a pretty good way to be living.”
HISTORY’s “SIX” runs for eight episodes and airs on Thursdays at 10pm Eastern.