Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY MOVIES

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Actor and former Army Ranger Tim Abell brings a unique approach to his profession where he has worked with some of Hollywood’s finest producers and directors. Abell joined the Army on the Delayed Entry Program while still attending high school. After graduating Abell served 4 years active duty from December 1976 through December 1980 with the elite units of the 2/75th Ranger Bn (now the 75th Ranger Reg) and the 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard) Caissons. He additionally served 3 years in the reserves while attending the University of Maryland College Park.He became skilled as a horseman through his duty with, “The Old Guard” where he portrayed General Robert E. Lee and President and former Major General Andrew Jackson in dramatic reenactments such as “History of the United States Torch Light Tattoo” and a longer version titlted “The Spirit of America.” He has since acted in films such as “We Were Soldiers”, “Substitute 2: Failure is Not an Option”, and on TV shows including Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Soldier of Fortune”, “JAG”, “Criminal Minds”, “CSI:Miami”, “CSI:NY”, and “Sons of Anarchy.” He continues his work in the industry as an actor, producer and providing voice over work as well. 

  1. Can you share about your family and your life growing up?

At the age of 8 his parents divorced. Tim, his sister Debbie and brother Jay chose to stay with their father. Tim’s sister soon married and moved away, and Tim and his brother Jay grew up as “Latch Key kids.” Their Dad worked long hours at the Cadillac dealership while Jay and Tim were given the responsibility of making their own meals, vacuuming, and dusting the house, washing their clothes, and all of the years’ work too. They spent most weekends with their grandparents Pappy & Granny Abell where they learned to cook. Pap Abell , a WWI veteran, also taught them how to catch herring with a bamboo rod and a treble hook, how to pitch good motor parts at the junk yard, how to find and pick wild Blackberries quickly and efficiently so Granny could make us Blackberry pie and how to truly laugh and have a good time!

Abell says he wouldn’t change a thing growing up but, believes kids should have both a Mom and Dad in the  growing up if possible… he often wonders what his childhood would’ve been like had his parents stayed together.

Abell became self-sufficient at an early age. While growing up he reluctantly helped his Dad and brother work on cars over the weekend which his Dad called “Shade Tree” work to make extra money. His brother Jay loved helping his Dad work on cars, but Abell’s real passions lie elsewhere. His mind was on building large battlefields with his plastic army men or cleaning his old shotgun and hunting with his buddies in the nearby woods. 

Abell does come from a family rich in military service where his grandfather served in World War I and his great, great grandfather was a blacksmith for the 49th Virginia Infantry on the Confederate side in the Civil War. He found even more history on his grandfather’s mother’s side where his great, great grandfather named Jerome Laurence fought for the 65th Volunteers from Pennsylvania, which was a part of the 5th Regiment on the Union side in the Civil War. He has relatives that served even in the Spanish-American War and the Revolutionary War, which Abell describes as “cool.” Surprisingly, his brother tried to talk Abell out of going into the military even with such a rich military history in the family. 

Abell’s brother Jay, whom he always idolized, became an outstanding carpenter and gifted woodworker. Abell recalls his father being an awesome father and role model, who taught him responsibility, integrity and respect for his elders.

Abell played trombone and trumpet in elementary school but never really put the time and effort required to learn because he was so much more interested in hunting, shooting, and fishing with his pals and with his hunting mentor his “Uncle Bruce” a former Marine during the Korean War.

In junior high school Abell faced a new reality…. he faced adversity stemming from the racial tensions on the time exacerbated by school bussing. Abell’s hatred of bullies came from that troubled time…. seeing 12-year-old  kids beaten, robbed and humiliated and enduring some of the same himself just because of the color of one’s skin made Abell grow up in a different way. It made him learn to fight back and not be a victim, especially when his father told him to deal with it himself. So many life lessons learned from that era… “…you just go screw it I am taking this shit anymore. I am not letting myself get beat up without taking a couple of guys down with me. You know, pay the price….it’s wasn’t just about black and white it’s also about bullies in general. People that are unsavory people that can pick on the weak. I learned that across the board. I took that same experience into the Army.”

He remembers a fellow private in the Army at boot camp that would get picked on because he was, “easy prey.” While at boot camp the private would get bullied and beat up all the time. Abell did not like this kind of behavior. He came across the private being beaten up while in the bathroom at the rifle range complex. He confronted the attackers and told them to stop. He sent the private out of the bathroom and broke up the fight. Later that night the assailants from the bathroom confronted Abell outside of the barracks while he was walking with his fellow soldiers back from the Post Exchange. A fight ensued that was eventually broken up by the drill sergeants. It came to light what was happening among the platoon where the drill sergeants put a stop to it. Abell recalls the volatility of the situations he was in and how racial tensions flared going through entry-level indoctrination in the Army. As new soldiers all the men were still learning their new Army identity and to work as a team regardless of skin color or ethnicity. 

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Abell during his time in the Army. Photo courtesy of Tim Abell. 

  1. What made you want to become a Ranger and what was your experience like?

Abell attributes his desire to become a Ranger from his avid reading habit and loving military biographies where he read a book in his junior year of high school named “The Green Berets” by Robin Moore. The movie starring John Wayne titled “The Green Berets” is based on Moore’s book where Abell loves the film as well. He initially wanted to be a Green Beret where told the Army recruiter the same thing. He wanted to the join the Army to do something he could only do in the Army, “…like be a Special Forces guy.” The recruiter could get him a slot as a Ranger, but not as a Green Beret, so he went with going in the Army to be a Ranger. Abell wanted to be tested as a man and see if could he handle that stress. He says, “…I loved being in the Ranger Battalion.” He describes it as a “wonderful experience” in his life with “camaraderie” and enjoyed the “people he met” where he was “pushed to be his best.” 

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Robin Moore’s book “The Green Berets.” Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com.

He still remains close with his pals from that time period and he felt invincible as a young Ranger. Abell believes life is about testing yourself and finding out about what you are made of. He remains grateful of his success and his place in life the older he gets. Words of wisdom he lives by are, “How you perceive a situation influences how you respond to it.” He remains grateful in situations, even those that may seem arduous, which allows him to keep a level head. He goes by a phrase, “…embracing the suck,” when it comes to facing tough times on set or in life. 

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Abell center of picture (to the left of the African American Ranger in the center) with his Ranger class RC 5-78. Photo courtesy of Tim Abell.

And Abell still embraces the Ranger Creed which he had to learn by heart as a Ranger.

The Ranger Creed

Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of the Rangers.

Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move further, faster and fight harder than any other soldier.

Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one hundred percent and then some.

Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow.

Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.

Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor.

Rangers Lead The Way!!!

  1. What are you most proud of from your service in the Army?

What I’m most proud of stems from Gen Abrams and the Abrams Charter. The Abrams Charter stated that the obligation for Rangers is to “Lead the Way” for the entire Army. In the Ranger Bn., the more senior Rangers set the example for the younger Rangers who had just graduated  from RIP (Ranger Indoctrination Program) to follow. Always leading by example. The new Rangers learned very quickly what was expected of the in order to be a part of this elite group of Soldiers. To live up to the high standards and esprit de corps was not always an easy task. But more importantly the Abrams Charter spoke to those 75th Rangers who would set the example for the soldiers in the big Army after they left the Rangers.

So, when Abell was assigned to the 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard) Caissons, he knew that he could be an asset as well as a role model to his fellow Old Guard soldiers. He was able to share his Ranger training and experience while being the NCOIC of the Expert Infantry Badge (EIB) Movement Under Direct Fire course at Ft. AP Hill. Abell’s station was a highlight of the EIB training due to the  rigorous and realistic training Abell put the Old Guard soldiers through.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Abell (center) in “Sniper: Special Ops.” Photo courtesy of IMDB.com.

  1. What values have you carried over from the Army into Hollywood? 

Abell is grateful for his life experiences…especially in the Army. He brought discipline over to his Hollywood career. W/O discipline he has seen people fall off into the abyss of drinking, drugs, partying and sex…. some with fatal consequences.

He believes good judgement is vital. Character integrity and leadership are important as well. Abell says as a civilian he always refers to the Ranger Creed in tough times, which helps carry him forward and stay on track.

Abell hosted the “Grateful Nation” tv series on the Outdoor Channel for 10 seasons where he helped tell the story of our returning war veterans…. many of whom needed to find a new Mission & Purpose in life after the military in order to find happiness… if not then it was a slippery slope for many veterans who find it too easy to just take their meds, drink a fifth of booze, play video games and start thinking stupid thoughts…. but Abell found that many veterans who found that new mission and purpose saved their own lives as well as inspiring other veterans to do the same.

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Abell (right) while serving with “The Old Guard.” Photo courtesy of Tim Abell.

  1. What project did you most enjoy doing while working in Hollywood?

Abell most enjoyed playing USMC Scout/Sniper SSG Benny Ray Riddle in Jerry Bruckheimer’s syndicated tv series “Soldier of Fortune inc.” It was a role where Abell could utilize all of his military and even use some of his old Ranger gear to bring and authenticity to Benny Ray whom was an amalgamation of more than a a few of the hardcore leaders he was led by as a young Ranger.

Abell also loved playing SFC Vic Mosby in the action film “Sniper Special Ops” starring Steven Seagal and Dale Dye, directed and written by his pal and  Navy Veteran Fred Olen Ray. This was a role the director had written specifically for Abell who was quite honored by his friends’ trust to carry his film in a starring role.

“ Circus Kane ” was Abells first foray into a feature length horror film directed by Navy Veteran Christopher Ray. Abell underwent 5 plus hours of prosthetics makeup to create Balthazar Kane. Abell felt like he was channeling Rob Zombie in a Circus of Horrors as the Ringmaster!  The director allowed Abell to use all of his creative abilities to bring Kane to life on the screen. 

And Soldier of God is still one of Abell’s favorite projects that he starred in and helped produce. He plays Rene’ a Knights Templar who is separated from his men after the Battle at The Horne\s of Hattin… Rene becomes a warrior

in search of a war… a warrior questioning his faith. It’s a film with so much beauty  yet so much darkness.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Abell in “Soldier of God.” Photo courtesy of IMDB.com.  

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Abell as “Balthazar Kane” in “Circus Kane.” Photo courtesy of IMDB.com. 

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Abell (far left) for MOH Dinner and Gala, with Special Agent Tim Clemente, MOH Col. Bruce Crandall, USA and with Matthew Mardsen. Photo courtesy of IMDB.com.

  1. What was it like working on such projects as We Were Soldiers, Soldiers of Fortune, JAG, NCIS, CSI:NY, CSI: Miami, Criminal Minds and the like? 

As Benny Ray Riddle in “Soldier of Fortune, Inc.” Abell played a USMC Scout/Sniper. Abell did extensive research for his character who was the quintessential sniper and Marine. A stoic man who loved his job and was the best at what he did . Navy SEAL Harry Humphries who was the Technical Advisor for SOF series linked Abell up with SEAL Steve Bailey at NSW Coronado for some training. Abell’s SF buddy, Matt Anderson, created Benny Ray’s Sniper Range book that Abell used on the show. It all came down to attention to detail in creating Benny Ray so that if military types watched the series Benny Ray would be believable and authentic to them. Abell recently did a short film called “Father and Sons” with pal Michael Broderick, Vernon Mortenson and Ryan Curtis. All veterans. The film was based on characters from author and Navy SEAL Jack Carr’s books. Abell says, “what is cool is Jack sent me a few of his books and sent a note saying he was a fan of the “Soldier of Fortune, Inc” series especially Benny Ray Riddle who was also a sniper like him! Jack said he and his pals would watch the show to get fired up!” That was a great compliment to hear from a SEAL sniper and operator like Jack Carr…. Abell’s preparation was not in vain.

Tim has played a member of every armed forces branch in film and tv …. he even played a Coast Guard pilot in a commercial. He finds a lot of similarities among military roles and in the research he has done. It is in the little differences between each branch he finds diversity. He supports veterans as a member of VME to help those new to the acting biz.

Abell loved working on “We Were Soldiers.” It was his first big studio film and working with Mel Gibson and Sam Elliott was a dream come true.

Working on JAG was an outstanding experience! Abell loved working with Jon Jackson and Catherine Bell!

Abell said, “Mark Harmon was a real pleasure to watch work and work with…. I’ve learned so much from working with and observing great actors like Joe Mantegna on “Criminal Minds” and Gary Sinise.”

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Abell as “Benny Ray Riddle” in Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Soldier of Fortune, Inc” TV show.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Abell in “Angels and Fire.” Photo courtesy of IMDB.com.

  1. What leadership lessons in life and from the Army have helped you most in your career?

Abell has also brought a perspective of maturity over from the Rangers. If he auditions for a part and doesn’t get it, he moves on. He focuses on the positive, processes what he needs to, and refuses to let a rejection be a devastating blow to his career. When in acting classes, he takes notes from the acting teacher, integrates them as needed and moves forward. He won’t argue with the acting teacher over opinions or comments, he takes the note and stays professional. Same as would be done in training where constructive criticism is taken in stride and you improve your performance the next time around. He appreciates honesty and directness in his professional work. While studying acting at the Studio Theater in DC, he most appreciated the feedback from Joy Zinoman, who was one of the professors at the theater. He shies away from talking about his abilities on or off set, where he prefers to assess the situation and quietly lead by example where it counts. He sets a standard like how he did as an NCO in the Rangers in his work in Hollywood. 

He overlooks negative reviews where some of the critics have bad things to say about the projects he works on. He keeps complaints to himself and tries to find ways to fix challenges that are ahead. Abell wants to accomplish the mission on set. He still uses his military discipline in preparing for roles and in his work as an actor. He likes to ask the question to young actors on set, “What have you done today to be a better actor?” Where many times the young actors don’t have a coherent or logical reply to the question. Preparation is key to Abell’s success and stems from his upbringing and time in the service. Abell said, “…I take all those things I learned being in the military and being a Ranger. It’s like being prepared, not being a whiner, taking responsibility for myself, having a mission and purpose everyday when I wake up in the morning.”

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Abell (center, left) with his fellow castmates on “Soldier of Fortune, Inc.” Photo courtesy of Tim Abell.

  1. As a service, how do we get more veteran stories told in the Hollywood arena?

Abell believes having more writers with military experience are needed to get veteran stories told more in the industry. He relies on his belief that a person may be a veteran, but that does not preclude them to only writing stories on the military. They are an individual with military experience that can write anything they want to write. Writers with military experience have a vast life experience from which to draw upon, some of which may come from having served. Abell references fellow veteran and Army Ranger Brian Hanson’s film “The Black String” which is a horror film without any ties to the military. The film was produced by Grindstone and has been released on VOD and DVD starring Frankie Muniz from “Malcolm in the Middle” fame. Just because a writer is a veteran does not mean they are not capable of writing a story completely independent of the military.  

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Abell (second from the left) and his squad mates training while serving with the 2nd Ranger Battalion on an artic field operation near the Canadian border. Photo courtesy of Tim Abell. 

  1. What would you like to do next in your career?

Abell says, “I would love to be on a network or HBO or Showtime series and get to play a character again for three, four or five years where you just get to develop that character over the long haul.” He wants to delve in and build a character with depth. He also looks forward to working on a series again with great people where they make a show that moves people. 

He recalls fan mail from across the world for his role on “Soldier of Fortune” where the show affected people’s lives. Abell has received fan mail that would be up to five pages long about how people were inspired by his character to become a sniper in the military in their country. People created a life based on a character Abell portrayed, which surprised him. Playing evil or hard characters are what most actors are remembered for where it is difficult to develop such characters and find redeeming traits to portray on screen in them. 

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Abell with MOH recipient SFC Leroy Petry, USA.

  1. What are you most proud of in life and your career?

Abell is proud of service to the United States to serve as a Ranger and serve with “The Old Guard.” He is proud of his children and their successes in life as well. He is grateful for having made men out of his boys and for the example they set today. He is proud of being an American as well. Abell says, “…I have been all over the world and this is the greatest country in the world…that we have so many young men and women that are willing to join the military and sign that blank check for their life… I applaud them all.”

MIGHTY MOVIES

Montel Williams seeks veterans for home makeovers

Saying thank you for your service is not enough, according to veteran and talk show icon Montel Williams. But he does have a few ideas on other ways to show gratitude for military service.

He’s teamed up with WWE to find the next veteran for a home makeover that will be featured on Lifetime TV’s “Military Makeover with Montel.”


“We take these veterans and we literally make their home over from top to bottom,” Williams said during a phone interview. “We do, not just a facelift, but everything, from the floors, the ceilings to you name it, to make sure the veteran has what we call a forever home once we get done.”

Since 2015 the show has worked with one veteran family per quarter to makeover their home within 10 days, with 20 homes completed to date. Most episodes, Williams said, have featured families who have been in the midst of transitioning from military to civilian life. A few have featured veterans who have already left the military, but Williams adds any deserving veteran family will be considered as long as they own their own home.

He’s personally been involved in making over six homes, having taken over the show after the death of Military Makeover’s previous host Lee Ermey.

Williams said the reactions on the show have been great, not just from the service members, but from everyone in the community. The show uses volunteers and donations from local vendors to renovate the homes.

“Everybody is uplifted,” Williams said.

Hosting a home makeover show is also a good way to show appreciation for a group Williams describes as underappreciated.

“I think it’s a really good way to do more than say ‘thank you for your service,'” Williams said.

Williams is a 22-year veteran who served in the Marine Corps and Navy before starting his television career. Like many veterans, he’s come to see the phrase ‘thank you for your service’ as hollow and meaningless.

“I’ve been saying this for over a year. When people say ‘thank you for your service’ it’s lip service or a passing phrase, like you say ‘good morning’ to people when you walk by and don’t even wait for a person’s response,” he said.

In addition to his own service, Williams is a longtime veterans’ advocate. He serves on the board of directors for the Fisher House — a charity providing lodging near DOD and VA facilities for the families of those receiving care. He also works with an organization that help veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury and has an upcoming project designed for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Williams launched a new national campaign to makeover the home of a veteran. (Photo courtesy of Military Families Magazine.)

Williams said he believes the current coronavirus pandemic has put showing genuine gratitude to veterans even further from the forefront of people’s minds.

“Right now, while we’re suffering through this COVID-19 pandemic, every day of the week people applaud our first responders. When they think about people on the frontline, they think about doctors, nurses and first responders to this virus here on U.S. soil,” Williams said. “We have ships and submarines and aircraft carriers and airplanes and deployed forward bases where people don’t have the same luxury of being able to social distance. These guys are out there every single day putting their lives on the line for us.”

While not everyone has the resources of a television legend, Williams insists there are things average people can do to show their appreciation to veterans.

“You don’t have to makeover a veteran’s home to contribute to a veteran’s life,” Williams said. He said providing meals, volunteering to babysit or mowing an injured veteran’s lawn are great ways for people to show their appreciation.

“Why not go out and do a gesture, not just of being a good neighbor, but deliberately doing something to help out our veterans?” Williams asked. “Remember that there’s a military family on every block in every community across this country. Reach out and do a little bit more than just say ‘thank you for your service.'”

Another way people can show appreciation is by going to Tag A Hero and nominating a veteran for a home makeover before May 31.

Williams has joined forces with WWE star Lacey Evans, a Marine veteran, to gain awareness for the new national campaign, but they are in need of more nominations.

“Lacey Evans, who is one of their stars, has become one of our team members on Military Makeover. She convinced [WWE] to reach out to their viewers to nominate veterans in their community,” Williams said.

The application submission deadline for the latest campaign is May 31st. On July 13, Montel Williams and WWE Superstar Lacey Evans will appear on Facebook and Instagram announcing the home makeover recipient.

This article originally appeared on Military Families Magazine. Follow @MilFamiliesMag on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Move over Keanu, this ‘Wonder Woman’ hero shows mad skillz as a tactical gunslinger

He’s the new Capt. Kirk and won the affection of Diana Prince as the World War I airman and superspy Maj. Steve Trevor in the latest “Wonder Woman” blockbuster. He’s pretty funny and the ladies sure dig him.


And turns out he’s also a hell of a shot.

Chris Pine is the child of a Hollywood family of actors and filmmakers who really broke out onto the silver screen as the young James T. Kirk in 2009’s “Star Trek” prequel. His career has gone ballistic since then, with two more Star Trek movies and a stint as the Tom Clancy hero Jack Ryan.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure
Chris Pine prepares to wow the crowd with his shooting acumen. (YouTube screen grab from Taran Tactical)

But in what looks like a part of his preparation for “Wonder Woman,” Pine spent some time on the range with legendary 3-gun competitor and tactical trainer to the stars Taran Butler, plinking steel and punching paper like he’d just come off the stealth helo from Abbottabad.

With some ninja help from “Warrior” champ Jessie Graff, Pine double taps his race Glock like he was born to it. We’re particularly impressed with his prowess on the dueling tree with his AR — not an easy feat when you’re calculating sight over bore under time.

We all loved Keanu Reeves’ gunslinging for “John Wick,” and likewise here we’re prepared to dole out some respect to Capt. Kirk for his display of ballistic badassery.

MIGHTY MOVIES

The Mandalorian is back! Season 2 Episode 1 recap

Our Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and the Yoda Baby (aka “The Child”) are back! Mando (I still hate that name) Din Djarin picks up where he left off at the end of season one: with a mission to find the ancient race of warriors who can move things with their minds in order to return the Yoda Baby to them.

If you need a recap of season one, check out the video below.
And remember, there are spoilers ahead through The Mandalorian, season two episode one.

Season two opens with our Mandalorian and the Yoda Baby entering a fighting pit, where the Twi’lek (isn’t it fun when the mere presence of an OC trilogy species serves as an easter egg?) bouncer doesn’t even blink at bringing a baby into the bar.

Hint: He does not die well. The Mandalorian | Disney+

A cyclops alien promptly betrays Djarin and launches his ambush with the intent of stealing the fancy Beskar steel armor. (For a touch of humor, pay attention to the Gamorrean fighter in the background.) Naturally, the attackers are no match for our hero. His whistling birds take out the opposition en force, leaving Djarin to chase down the cyclops and demand the information he wanted: there is another Mandalorian on Tatooine.

RIP. The Mandalorian | Disney+

The first question in everyone’s mind at this point is and should be: “We talkin’ Boba Fett?” After a cutesy reunion with Amy Sedaris’ Peli Motto, we head to an old mining community called Mos Pelgo where we meet “The Marshal” — a man wearing the armor of Boba Fett. When he removes his helmet, the jig is up for Djarin; the man is no Mandalorian. It’s also up for us — that pretty face ain’t Fett (who, habeas corpus, could still be running around out there…).

Thus far, The Mandalorian continues to fail the Bechdel Test. But shout-out to Amy Sedaris. The Mandalorian | Disney+

The Marshal, we learn, is Cobb Vanth, played by Timothy Olyphant (who I 100% thought was Josh Duhamel — guys I literally cannot tell the difference between these two men; all I know is I’m a fan of both). 

Tell me I’m wrong…

Vanth has served as the protector of Mos Pelgo since the destruction of the Death Star when they were invaded by the Mining Collective. He fled their attack, managing to take a camtono (ie: fancy bucket) of silicax crystals.

Near-death in the Dune Sea, Vanth was rescued by Jawas, who (quite honorably, might I say) traded him Boba Fett’s armor and some water for them. With the armor, Vanth was able to defeat the invaders and maintain the peace in Mos Pelgo.

Let’s settle this like adults. Both of you take your armor off and come with me… The Mandalorian | Disney+

Except for the krayt dragon (and shame on writer/director Jon Favreau for using the peaceful-minding-its-own-business Bantha as the butt of a joke when its eaten by the dragon). Djarin and Vanth strike a deal: if Djarin helps kill the krayt dragon, Vanth will give up the armor. Djarin negotiates an uneasy peace with local Tusken Raiders and the people of Mos Pelgo and they lay their plan: bury explosives in the ground and lure the krayt dragon over the explosives to destroy it at its vulnerable belly.

After a lot of collateral damage, some Mandalorian jetpack action, and a lot of krayt venom vomit, Djarin managed to deliver the killing blow by strapping explosives on another poor Bantha (not cool, Favreau, especially after you took the time to show the Tusken Raiders brushing the gentle beast’s teeth — kill characters, not creatures) and decemating the dragon from within. 

And with that, Vanth surrendered the armor, leaving Djarin to consider his next move. The final scene of the episode introduced a mysterious character who just might be the Fett we’ve been waiting for.

IMDb has already listed the character as Boba Fett, played by Temuera Morrison. In the expanded universe, Boba Fett survived his tumble into the sarlacc pit (aka the Pit of Carkoon); now it seems clear that we will be seeing more of the legendary bounty hunter. 

Another expanded universe fun fact: Cobb Vanth had a run-in with a baby Hutt. Sounds like you missed an opportunity, Hasbro!

TWEET OF THE WEEK:

MIGHTY MOVIES

How you can be cast in Tom Hanks’ new film as a Navy Crewman

To be a great actor, one must be able to pull from their real-life experiences. Moments they’ve lived become the actor’s mask. When it comes to military films, there is nobody better suited to play a troop than a veteran. This is that opportunity. The new film, Greyhound, is looking for extras to play Navy crewmen.


Greyhound is an adaptation of the C. S. Forester novel, The Good Shepherd. The screenplay is written by and will star the legendary Tom Hanks. Aaron Schneider, director of Get Low and the Academy Award-winning short Two Soldiers, will be directing. Gary Goetzman, a five-time Emmy winner for works like The Pacific and Band of Brothers, will produce the film.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure
That pedigree and care for WWII stories will now tell the Navy’s tale in the Atlantic. (Image via Wikicommons)

The novel follows the fictional Commander Krause as he assumes command of the escort protecting the Atlantic force in the Battle of the Atlantic as America enters the Second World War. Krause is a career Navy officer who must hide his fears, self-doubt, and fatigue to prove he belongs and can inspire his men as the war begins.

The story also happens to spotlight the hell of the Naval battles in the Atlantic, the cruelties of the sea, and the exhaustion of remaining at constant alert for an ever-lurking enemy.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure
The Battle of the Atlantic would end up being the longest continuous military campaign of WWII. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

The studio prefers people with military experience. Male actors from ages 19 to 49 who are clean-shaven and have a 1940’s Navy style crewman haircut (or willing to be styled this way) are needed to play background extras. They would be needed throughout principal photography, from mid-February to early April, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

You need to apply through Backstage, found here. The role is paid and available to non-Screen Actors Guild actors.

Act fast! The deadline to apply is Feb. 18.

MIGHTY MOVIES

5 reasons why Hawkeye is the most effective Avenger

Look, I don’t like him either. You think I wanted Black Widow to be the one who couldn’t be revived in Avengers: Endgame? If anything I wish Hawkeye could have died twice – or better yet, a million times while trying to cut a bargain with Dormammu. Unlike Dormammu, I would never get tired of that. Unfortunately, if we were all caught with Hawkeye somehow being away from the Avengers for all eternity, they would cease to be an effective fighting force.


I won’t even get into how one man took down cartels, terrorists, and gangsters worldwide.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Hawkward.

1. The Avengers are 7-0 with Hawkeye

This is probably the most important reason. As one aptly-named Redditor pointed out, while some of you might believe this is coincidence or luck, they are also 0-4 in battle without Hawkeye. Why did Thanos win in Infinity War? I’m not saying it wasn’t because Hawkeye wasn’t there but I’m also not ruling it out.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Black Panther is wearing a Vibranium suit and Hawkeye is fighting him with a stick while wearing a t-shirt.

2. Hawkeye is fundamentally better than every other Avenger

Is Hawkeye a demi-god? No. Does he have billions of dollars? No. Sorcery? Super Serum? A metal body? No, no, no. Hawkeye is a guy, just some dude, who sees really, really well. Let’s see if skinny Steve Rogers can get punched in the face by Thanos all day. We’ve already seen what happens when Tony Stark is wearing Tom Ford and not Iron Man. Even though he basically just wears clothes and shoots a bow and arrow (albeit with some trick arrows), he’s still flying around in space, fighting aliens, and taking on killer robots.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

At least you know one of them can help with the mortgage.

3. Hawkeye is the glue that keeps the Avengers together

Where did the Avengers go when their chips were down? Hawkeye’s house. Where even his wife had to point out what a freaking mess they all were. He recruited Black Widow and turned arguably the most powerful Avenger – Scarlet Witch – into a real sorcerer just by pointing out that he was fighting an army of robots with a bow and arrow because that is his job.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Hawkeye: 1, Avengers: 0

4. The Avengers are lost without Hawkeye

Literally. The one time Hawkeye was actually playing for the other team, he just completely kicked the crap out of them. Agent Coulson got killed and two of the more powerful Avengers were spread into the wind. He’s lucky Natasha hit him in the head with a railing because there’s no way they’d have beaten Loki – or even come together as a team – without Hawkeye. Hawkeye became the Avengers command and control center, turning a bunch of riff-raff into a coordinated fighting force.

Even when pitting Hawkeye against Wave II Avengers, there’s still no comparison. He tases Scarlet Witch and gets the upper hand against Quicksilver.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

“You exist because I let you.”

5. At least two of the Avengers are alive because Hawkeye let them live

One of the first clues we get to Black Widow and Hawkeye’s shared past is that Hawkeye was supposed to kill her and decided to recruit her for S.H.I.E.L.D instead. When Thor was powerless in New Mexico, Agent Coulson decided to send another agent in to stop the God of Thunder, who was just mowing down his S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Hawkeye, instead of ending Thor, Hawkeye let him live.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Bonus: Hawkeye does sh*t other Avengers barely pull off, if at all

In Endgame, Spider-Man in a powered suit is overcome by Thanos’ forces. Captain Marvel in all her glory eventually gets taken down. Meanwhile, Hawkeye is running through tunnels and rubble away from crawling doom carrying the Infinity Gauntlet, simply handing it off to the Black Panther.

For the record, he’s also the only Avenger to hold an Infinity Stone and not whine about it endlessly. After seeing Hawkeye throw Cap’s shield, I’m pretty sure he was also pretending he couldn’t pick up Thor’s hammer.

Humor

4 hilarious tips for pulling the ‘veteran card’ in school

Going to college is a huge step in every veteran’s life after they get out of the military. You just finished serving your country, now you can go to school full time and get it completely paid for – and get paid while you’re doing it.


We earned a pretty epic deal.

But the benefits of being a veteran don’t have to stop there. If you play your cards right, you can flex your “veteran” title and receive some less-than-official bonuses.

Related: Here’s the best time and place to pull the ‘veteran card’

Check out these insightful ways to pull the veteran card in your school – but please use these tips for good and not evil.

1. Getting accepted

Colleges around the country tend to have a strict application process which weed out many student hopefuls. Having the government willing to pay your full tuition is a huge benefit in the school’s eyes — everyone likes to get paid.

It’s a fact.

It’s important that you fill out all the necessary paperwork in a timely order or risk sitting at home for a whole semester.

Please stop clapping like that — its only community college. (Image via Giphy)

2. Receiving extra time for homework and other projects

The majority of colleges have procedures in place for veterans who have “focus issues,” which is great. As long as you let your teachers and the school’s administration know you may have this issue because of your deployments, the more lee way you’re bound to get.

We know you do! (Image via Giphy)

3. Booking classes

Sometimes classes just fill up too quickly, and a veteran can’t register for one of the spots in time — we know it sucks.

Here’s what you do — tell whoever is in charge of booking the classes that you won’t get your monthly VA benefits unless you can get in, followed by the sweetest smile you can muster.

It so freakin’ worked. (Images via Giphy)

Also Read: 7 phrases old school veterans can’t stop saying

4. Missing classes

Sometimes you don’t want to go to school on certain days — you’re just not feeling it.

Here’s what you do if you’re willing to put in a little leg work. After you get in good with the teachers, email them saying you’re stuck at the VA waiting for your appointment.

If they ask for a doctor’s note, you need to show some proof like a dated appointment card for another day. Schools tend to work around the veteran’s schedule because we’ve earned it.

Don’t abuse this perk because if they lose faith in your integrity, you could screw other vets over.

That’s what you get. (Images via Giphy)Can you think of any others? Comment below.

MIGHTY MOVIES

9 ‘Game of Thrones’ weapons and their real-life analogs

When building a fantasy world, you draw inspiration from the real world for some of the practical details. In “Game of Thrones” (or “A Song of Ice and Fire” to my fellow book readers), almost every tool of death is based off of an actual weapon.


Excluding mythical things, like the Night King’s ice spear or Daenerys’ dragons (which are totally A-10s), you can usually point to a real weapon that bares a striking resemblance to the one in the series.

Jon Snow’s sword isn’t unique… at all.

 

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Of course, Non-Valerian steel swords like Jon Snow’s exist, and having animal designs on the pommel are nothing new, but the devil is in the details of pinpointing specifically where they originate.

Everyone from the Vikings to Filipino warriors to the Romans made cool designs on the pommel. Those are cool and all, but do they open their eyes? Probably not. And neither did Jon’s.

The Mountain’s sword is an Irish Long Sword

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

 

The Mountain, being the strongest man in Westeros and the strongest man on Earth, would need an equally powerful weapon. What stands out about Gregor Clegane’s weapon is the pommel. It’s a symbol common among Irish long swords. It’s also featured prominently in the show as well in Sansa’s necklace as well as Cersei. Just throwing that out there…

Arya’s weapon is a French Rapier

 

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Jon had a tiny sword made for Arya long before she turned into a faceless assassin who knew how to use it. Her blade doesn’t have an edge and is best “sticking them with the pointy end.”

It’s a lot like an actual rapier used as a Main-gauche, or parrying dagger used with the off hand.

Dothraki Arakh is the Egyptian Khopesh

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

The weapon of choice for the Dothraki and Daario come from the Egyptian sickle-sword. The advantage of using a khopesh is that it serves several purposes. It’s great as a sword, good as an ax, and excellent as a hook.

Wildfire is Greek Fire

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

The Wildfire used by the Lannisters is devastating. It won the Battle of Blackwater Bay and blew up the Septum. An extremely early version of a napalm thrower was used by the Byzantines for naval combat as early as 672.

Lannister’s Scorpion is the Roman Scorpion

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

 

Give it up for my boy Bronn. Sure, there may be heroic battles and perilous combat throughout the series. But to stare down a dragon with an untested weapon after it wrecked havoc on all of your fellow soldiers… Balls of Valerian f*cking Steel.

In real life, Greeks and eventually Romans used a smaller version that was perfect for long range combat.

Benjen Stark (Cold Hands)’s weapon is a burning version of a Japanese Chain Weapon

 

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Most depictions of flails in popular culture are actually debatable for being historically accurate. If they had a chain, it was short for close combat. If it was longer, it’d be two handed and used on horseback (like Benjen).

The closest to reality that Benjen uses is perhaps a variation of the kusarigama, a weapon synonymous with another historically debatable group: ninjas.

Tormund’s Ax is a Mesoamerican Macuahuitl

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

This one blows my mind for not just its similarly primitive design, but also how it was made. It’s never outright stated in the show, but it looks as if his ax is made of Dragonglass — something we know can kill White Walkers and Wights. Dragonglass is also known as obsidian in the show and lore.

In early Mesoamerica, warriors would use chipped obsidian on sticks to create a devastating sword/ax that could cut through their foes.

Beric’s flaming sword is a circus performer’s sword… and, uh, this guy’s sword

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Beric has these guys beat by using magic to light their swords on fire, but it’s been a common tactic used in lighting arrows on fire. A burning sword is cool, but impractical for actual fighting because it would need a constant supply of fuel.

This is why it’s just used by circus performers.

But then again. A fan recreated the Shishkebab from Fallout 4, giving it a constant source of fire. So this guy beat him to it.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

 

For more insight into the practicality of the “Game of Thrones” weapons, check out the link below:

MIGHTY MOVIES

Iron Man’s ‘Endgame’ death could have looked a lot more grisly

If you were taken aback by Tony Stark’s face during his final moments in “Avengers: Endgame,” it could have looked a lot more grisly.

“We gave the filmmakers a full range [of looks] to choose from and one of those was where the energy from the stones had acted right up into his face and popped one of his eyeballs out and it was hanging out on his cheek,” Weta digital VFX supervisor Matt Aitken told Insider of one of the most gruesome designs they did for Iron Man’s death.

“They didn’t go for that one,” Aitken chuckled.


The “Endgame” visual effects team, consisting of Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), Marvel, and Weta Digital, put together a full range of looks for Marvel Studios and directors Anthony and Joe Russo to look over.

The team needed to strike the perfect balance between a look that was believable enough that Tony could die, but that wasn’t too scary for kids and families to watch together.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

This was one of many designs made for Tony’s death scene.

(Marvel Studios)

“With any development item, you want to be able to give the filmmakers a full gamut, from sort of a light touch all the way to horror, and this will never be in it,” said Marvel VFX producer Jen Underdahl. “But by doing that exercise and by letting them see sort of every stage, they can kind of pinpoint and circle the drain on where they think the look is going to settle.”

“We did go several rounds on that guy from grisly to not so grisly to more light of a touch, back to OK this is the spot where we think the audience is not going to get too freaked out, but also really understand that Tony has reached the point of no return,” Underdahl added.

The film helped lay out viewer’s expectations for Tony’s impending death by physically showing the damage the stones did to two other larger, powerful characters. The idea was that, hopefully, by the time Tony snapped and used the gauntlet viewers would be able to see the consequences of him wielding the stones.

“We had seeded in the film this notion of Thanos having damage. There are consequences to him snapping and pursuing this ideology. You see the damage in his face and what that did to him, and he’s built for this,” said Underdahl. “Then [you] see the consequences to Smart Hulk, who was made of gamma radiation and the damage that it did there.”

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

If this is what the stones did to Hulk, then you had to know it wasn’t going to go well for Tony.

(Marvel Studios, composite by Kirsten Acuna)

“You knew somewhere in the math that Tony himself, even though he’s got this suit and it’s going to fight for him, ultimately what’s going to result would be something he couldn’t recover from,” she added.

Atkins, Underdahl, and Marvel visual effects supervisor Swen Gillberg said they pushed the design past where they wanted to go so that they ultimately fell somewhere right in the middle of two extremes.

Another one of those extreme looks involved a nod to one of Batman’s most famous villains.

“We did do a Two-Face version where you got inside and you saw the sinews and you saw them in the teeth and that,” said Underdahl of another one of the more grisly Tony Stark designs.

In “The Dark Knight,” the Batman villain, Harvey Dent, is severely burned after half of his face is lit on fire.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

For reference, here’s how Dent/Two-Face looks. I think it’s safe to say no one would have wanted to see this version of Tony.

(Warner Bros.)

“It takes you away from this really powerful moment,” said Underdahl of why that wouldn’t have been the right move for that moment. “You don’t want to be focusing on that or grossed out.”

“When he’s collapsing against the tree stump, you’ve got to know that he’s in a really bad predicament, that he has made this terrible sacrifice,” Atkins added. “But then you also didn’t want it to distract from his performance. And it’s a really subtle performance that he has in those intimate moments with Spidey and then with Pepper. So yeah we definitely worked quite hard on achieving that one, but we got there.”

“Avengers: Endgame” is one of 10 films on the shortlist for the visual effects category at the 92nd Academy Awards. The five final Oscar nominees will be announced Monday morning.

This article originally appeared on Insider. Follow @thisisinsider on Twitter.

Read more:

MIGHTY MOVIES

This is why there’s no excuse for Hollywood to screw up military uniforms

Every time a new Hollywood blockbuster comes out about the military, veterans and active duty service members get defensive — and for good reason.


The military is very detail-oriented and the veteran community can spot every mistake in technique, procedure, or uniform wear. It pains us watching films that can’t even get the amount of flags on our uniform correct.

Related: 62 glaring technical errors in ‘The Hurt Locker’

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

 

As much of a master craftsman as Stanley Kubrick was when creating films, he’s not without his flaws. For instance, that scene in Full Metal Jacket when Joker is doing pull-ups and then Private Pyle gets hell for not being able to do one.

But Gunny Hartman should have been on Joker’s ass just as much since none of his should have counted (although it could be argued that it was a character choice by late, great R. Lee Ermey, a former Marine Corps Drill Instructor and Hollywood’s truest bad ass, just so he could f*ck with Pyle sooner.)

The film doesn’t exactly shine the best light on the reality of the Vietnam War, but at least in Full Metal Jacket, the uniforms are on point. According to the original Title 10, Chapter 45 section 772 line (f), actors may wear armed forces uniforms as long as it does not intend to discredit that armed force, and in 1970 that condition was removed altogether.

Back in 1967, Daniel Jay Schacht put on a theatrical street performance in protest of the Vietnam War. He and two other actors put on a skit where he “shot” the others with squirt-guns filled with red liquid. It was highly disrespectful but he did manage to get the uniform correct. After being sentenced with a $250 fine and six months in prison, he brought it up to the Court of Appeals and eventually to the Supreme Court.

It was ruled that, as distasteful as it was, his performance was protected under the First Amendment. The Vietnam War protester inadvertently helped troops by taking away any excuse to not get our uniforms right in film, television, and theatrical performances. Now there is no gray area. Hollywood has no excuse to not get the uniforms right.

 

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

So what gives? There are far more films that try to portray troops as righteous as Superman, but have them pop their collar.

The reason films like Full Metal Jacket, Forrest Gump, American Sniper, and Thank You For Your Service get it right is because they handle the military with respect. The producers, director, and costume designers listen when the military advisor speaks. They hire costume designers like Keith Denny who have handled military films before to do it right.

Military advisors have been gaining more and more respect in the industry. Because without them, well, the film turns into a drinking game for troops and vets — and they do not hold back their vitriol.

MIGHTY MOVIES

From gangs to the Navy and then to acting, James Tolkan has seen it all

Veteran actor of stage, screen and TV and former US Navy sailor James Tolkan has spent a career playing the hard man. He is known to audiences around the world for his performances in Back to the Future, Top Gun and Problem Child 2, and many more films and TV shows for playing his no-nonsense style of characters, who seem to come from an organic place in his soul. The characters are tough but fair, and have a sense of dignity in them. Tolkan spent a lot of his time on stage in NYC before moving to Hollywood. Most recently, Tolkan worked on the Discovery Channel show Expedition Back to the Future. WATM sat down with Tolkan to learn more about his life, his time in service and what made him become an actor. 

Tolkan’s youth was “very difficult” with his father having spent a lot of time in jail. Tolkan lived in Michigan before his family moved to Chicago. After his parents split when he was 14-years-old, Tolkan lived alone in a basement. “I got up at 5 in the morning to clean a restaurant,” he shared. “I was very unhappy. I was running with a gang and quit school at 15. I lied about my age and got a job with the Chicago Northwestern Railroad with a pick and shovel, which I hated.” His family moved to Tucson the next year and his whole life changed for the better. 

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Tolkan as “Mr. Strickland” with Michael J. Fox and Claudia Wells in Back to the Future. Photo courtesy of necomicons.com.

Tolkan was on a football scholarship at Eastern Arizona College and he got to play a lot of football. He put his name on a list to join the Navy – it was during the Korean War – and Tolkan was competing as an undefeated boxer in the Golden Gloves when he got the call. Tolkan completed boot camp in San Diego. He recalled, “When I went into the Navy, I was in better shape going into boot camp than at the end.” He volunteered for boxing while in the Navy and after his fellow sailors saw him in the ring, he never stood a “midwatch” (midnight to 4am shift) again. Tolkan explained with a laugh, “I was treated royally.”

Tolkan signed up for four years in the Navy and he ran a chow line in San Diego for troops in training and then was set to sail with the USS Sandoval APA-194.  He was sent to Oakland to prepare for ship duty. Tolkan came down with a severe and unknown illness and was sent to the Oakland Naval Hospital. The Navy found an issue with his heart and within a year he was discharged from the service for medical reasons. He shared, “I could have seen the Navy as a career until I got sick….anyway it all worked out.”

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Tolkan (center) with Anthony Edwards (left) and Tom Cruise (right) in Top Gun. Photo courtesy of necomiccons.com.

Tolkan holds onto his experiences in the Navy and he felt like a “very special individual” just having gone to boot camp. He is proud of his service overall. 

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Tolkan as “Stinger” in Top Gun. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.

After his time in the Navy, Tolkan said he floundered around. He did reconnect with his father, having not seen him in seven years. Tolkan spent time in Iowa driving a cattle truck and moving cows all over the country. He shared, “I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was very lost.” He went back to school on the GI Bill at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA. At Coe, he majored in art and minored in music which is when he got interested in acting. He spent two years at Coe and then transferred to the University of Iowa for their large theater department. Tolkan was the big man in the theater department there. 

After six years in college, Tolkan got on a Greyhound bus with $75 in his pocket to go to NYC to be an actor. He said, “I was scared to death and didn’t know what I was getting into, but I did it. It was really terrific. You have to learn to just really go for it.” 

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Tolkan in Sidney Lumet’s Prince of the City. Photo courtesy of TJ Breaton.

Tolkan shared, “I am most happy working in the theater. That is where I am most comfortable. The last play I did on Broadway was David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross.” The first play he did on Broadway was a play titled Wait Until Dark. Tolkan played a psychotic killer in the play across from actress Lee Remick and the play ran for two years.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Tolkan with Val Avery in The Amityville Horror. Photo courtesy of IMDB.com.

“As a New York actor I said, ‘I am never going to Hollywood til they send for me.’ And when Robert Zemeckis called me to do Back to the Future I said, ‘Ok, this is my chance to go out there and see what’s going on.’ So, I went out and did Back to the Future and Top Gun and I stayed out there for 10 years.” 

He didn’t like working in the movies “by and large.” He shared about his highlights in film, “…with Back to the Future, it was a very small movie — nobody knew it was going to be an enormous thing, but with Top Gun we all knew it was going to be big all the way through. So, I was very confident in Top Gun where Back to the Future was a huge surprise.” He shared about movies, “My favorites are with Sidney Lumet. The great director Sidney Lumet. I did three movies with him, Serpico, Prince of the City and Family Business.” Tolkan recalled his work with Lumet and reflected on the leadership shown by the award-winning director. “I think of Sidney Lumet, he was so disciplined, so brilliant…you would want to emulate him…to work with him was a privilege, he made it a pleasure.”

He describes his experience with director Tony Scott on Top Gun as loose when compared to working with Lumet. Scott would have them do improv scenes, not on the board for the day. He enjoyed working with Scott, it was just different than what Tolkan had experience with. He said, “Tom Cruise was most impressive. I knew he was going to be great right from the beginning.” Tolkan talks of his time on Back to the Future — “Michael J. Fox is the easiest actor I have ever worked with. He is so talented and loose. That movie is still going strong (and that) was 35 years ago.” He enjoyed his experience on WarGames and he joked, “…that was very early in my career…I wasn’t even paid very much, but things changed a little later.” 

Tolkan’s filmography is impressive and his prowess has made him a household name. But when asked what he’s most proud of, his answer is fairly simple: “The fact that I made it through. That I am here living the good life and I survived. That is what I am most proud of. It is not easy…I give thanks every day.”

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Tolkan in Woody Allen’s Love and Death as Napoleon Bonaparte. Photo courtesy of IMDB.com.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Tolkan with Dolph Lundgren (right) and Chelsea Field (left) in Masters of the Universe. Photo courtesy of IMDB.com.

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

Tolkan with Diane Keaton in Love and Death. Photo courtesy of IMDB.com.

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Tolkan with Crispin Glover in Back to the Future. Photo courtesy of IMD

MIGHTY MOVIES

New ‘Bill and Ted 3’ movie casts wounded warriors as extras

Whoa! Wounded warriors have been cast as extras for the new “Bill and Ted 3” movie. The excellent news was first tweeted by CNN news anchor Jake Tapper on Aug. 13, 2019.

Tapper, a longtime Homes for our Troops’ supporter and mission ambassador, enlisted the help of friends, namely movie stars and entertainment icons, to arrange an extensive assortment of auction items to benefit the organization back in November 2018. One of the auction items was a tour of the “Bill and Ted 3” movie set.

But screen writer Ed Solomon wanted to do more for veterans than just a tour. He also cast several wounded veterans in the film, and Tapper thanked him on social media for the righteous move.


It’s still unknown what part these veterans will play in the upcoming film starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, but judging by the smiles on their faces the Hollywood experience has been epic.

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

The new LEGO Star Destroyer is the same size the ‘real’ one

The first spaceship ever on-screen in a Star Wars movie was Princess Leia’s little Rebel blockade runner, the Tantive IV. But, the first spaceship everyone remembers on-screen in Star Wars is the giant Imperial Star Destroyer that was chasing Leia’s ship. In the world of Star Wars, an Imperial Star Destroyer is about 5,200 ft long, but a new LEGO version of the dreaded starship consists of 4,784 pieces and is 43 inches long. Basically, at 3.5 feet-long, this Star Destroyer is bigger than your average toddler.


Interestingly, though the new LEGO Star Destroyer doesn’t come close to the fictional length of a Star Destroyer in Star Wars (that’s like four Empire State Buildings) this new toy is almost exactly the same size of the very first Star Destroyer used during the filming of Star Wars in 1976. The shooting-model of the first Star Destroyer was about 48 inches, or 4 feet long, and this new LEGO Star Destroyer is also 43 inches and 3.5 feet long. So, this Star Destroyer is almost exactly as big as the first real Star Destroyer IRL!

So, saying this LEGO set is big is kind of an understatement. But now, if you decide to buy it (fork over 9.00!) you can tell your kid that it’s pretty much to scale of what you see in a real Star Wars movie. And yes, the new Star Destroyer comes with a Blockade Runner, too!

Tim Abell — From US Army Ranger to acting in Hollywood, this vet has lived a life of adventure

LEGO version of Rebel Blockade Runner.

Maybe it’s time to make some home movies?

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

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