Interview: Bow Wow Talks 'Allegiance,' Written by: Karen Benardello
Showcasing the emotions and true motivating factors that inspire soldiers to make the difficult choices needed in order to survive the challenging demands of their jobs is rarely included in military films. But in the new thriller 'Allegiance,' which marks the feature film writing and directorial debut of Michael Connors, an American veteran, bravely focused on the inspirations driving the lead characters, and how they deal with their personal guilt. The soldiers in the film, which is now available on VOD and currently has a limited theatrical engagement in New York, and will expand to theaters in LA and Austin this week, strive to do what's best for their country, while also contending with feelings of doubt of what they're doing is morally right.
'Allegiance' follows the effect the increasing violence the Iraq War is having on thousands of American National Guard soldiers, who have been called to active service with orders to deploy during the fall of 2004. Lieutenant Danny Sefton (played by Seth Gabel), a Wall Street trader, works part-time as an Army officer in the New York National Guard. When his unit is organized to report to duty to one of the most dangerous cities in Iraq, Sefton uses his father's influence to receive a questionable transfer that will keep him safely stationed at home. He voluntarily stays on the base to help his unit get ready for their deployment, bearing the brunt of their resentment for not deploying with them in the process.
Specialist Reyes (portrayed by Bow Wow), meanwhile, who is the unit's best medic, is denied a compassionate reassignment to stay home with his wife and their terminally ill son. He asks Sefton, the unit's executive officer, to find a way to help him stay home as well. Feeling the guilt of not deploying with his unit, Sefton puts his own future at risk by coming up with a plan to help Reyes escape the base and reunite with his son. In the process, Sefton must make the difficult decision between his loyalties to Reyes, his unit and his fiancée, Leela (played by Reshma Shetty), as he ends up entangled in the dangerous last minute escape attempt, in defiance of Lieutenant Colonel Owens (portrayed by Aidan Quinn).
Bow Wow generously took the time to discuss 'Allegiance' over the phone from New York City recently, and what attracted him to the role of Specialist Chris Reyes in the military thriller. Among other things, the actor also spoke about what it was like collaborating with Connors and the many producers on the set of the film who are military veterans; how having a small budget on the thriller helped create a military atmosphere; and what it was like co-starring with Quinn in several challenging scenes.
Question (Q): You play Specialist Chris Reyes in the new thriller 'Allegiance.' What was it about the script and the character that convinced you to take on the role?
Bow Wow (BW): Just the fact that he was different. I've never played a character like him before in a film. I knew it was going to be a challenge. It was different-a lot of my movies are usually very light, funny and entertaining. This one was entertaining, but it was a drama. I've never done anything like this before. As soon as I read the script, I knew this was the role for me.
Q: How did you hear about the film and the role of Chris, and what was the casting process like before you officially accepted the role?
BW: It was actually quite simple. Michael Connors, the director, called my people and sent them a copy of the script. They wanted me to give them an answer, and I gave them an answer. Then I was in New York City filming. That's how the whole process went. I want to say they looked at some people, but once they found me, I came in and did what I had to do.
Q: What was the preparation process like, in order to get into the mindset of Chris, before you began shooting? Did you do any research for the role?
BW: No, no research was needed, because a lot of the extras and everyone who was a part of this film had experience in the military, so that made it easy for us. We had, I wouldn't call it a boot camp, but they taught us how to march and move. So when people watch the movie, it's very authentic, and they won't be saying that was right and that was wrong. We didn't have to prepare that much, because we had a lot of people with experience around us.
To continue reading this interview, please visit Yahoo! Voices.