In a recent exclusive interview, co-star Kathleen Robertson talked about her role in the film and what drew her to be a part of such an epic story. Kathleen portrays CIA analyst Vivian Hollins, a fictional character created to shed light on how the CIA maneuvered to capture the most-wanted man on the planet: Osama Bin Laden.
So what drew you to SEAL TEAM SIX and the role of Vivian?
KATHLEEN: SEAL TEAM SIX is the first full-length feature film about the raid on Osama Bin Laden, and that in and of itself was obviously a huge draw for me. It was something I was really fascinated by — the script really detailed and gives you a very clear idea of how the events unfolded in a way that I personally wasn’t aware of. It’s a historic event that we all feel that we know a lot about, but we don’t really know much about the days, the hours, and the weeks leading up to it and the actual execution of the raid — how it actually happened. So, for me, that was really, really fascinating. My character in the film, Vivian Hollins, she’s with the CIA as a counter-intelligence analyst and she’s the only female in the film, so it was appealing and interesting to sort of be the voice of the female point of view in the film. It’s a great role. It has a very clear objective and a clear want, which as an actor is always nice.
What would you describe is the one thing that really drives Vivian?
KATHLEEN: In a movie like this, the movie explores the event and is not really about the backstories of the characters or how they got to be where they are. It is a much more fact-based exploration of the event. So, as an actor, you kind of have to get in there and do your own sort of detective work, in a way, to figure out why you think that person would be so driven to be committed to it. There was little I had to go off of in the actual script other than I knew that she had a college roommate who had lost a father and brother on 9/11; so that was an initial sort of trigger for her. But I think it’s the kind of thing where week-after-week and month-after-month, the more she got into it and the more she became immersed in that mission, it became her identity and her sole singular purpose in her life. I think that anyone who has that quality about them, it’s a very personal thing, and it puts a point on why certain people have that component to their personalities. So it’s complicated.
Do you know if Vivian was based on an actual person?
KATHLEEN: She was a composite of what they imagined a woman would be in that situation. We filmed SEAL TEAM SIX in February, which was before the book came out, and before we had a lot of the information that we have right now. So a lot of the characters in the film were composed of different elements of real people ’cause we still really don’t know who they were. We still don’t know who the actual Seals were. It’s still very much anyone’s guess. There’s a lot of speculation and a lot of people who have come forth, but we really don’t know. So at the time we worked on the movie, we didn’t actually have that information.
As an actor, what did you find interesting about portraying this role?
KATHLEEN: Just the idea of someone who has such a clear focus and drive to accomplish something. In most films, that is not necessarily achieved in the end. But in this film, she gets what she wants. It’s a great journey for her and a great materialization of something that she’s been working towards for a big part of her adult life. So it’s always great to play a character that gets what they want in the end.
This is a historical project and is quite momentous, particularly with the upcoming election. What was it like working on something of this magnitude?
KATHLEEN: Whenever you are a part of something is based on truth and based on real life — real people and real events — you do feel a certain sense of responsibility to the material to make sure its as accurate as possible and as sensitive as possible. The hope is that the killing of Osama Bin Laden hopefully brought some sense of closure to people who lost loved ones on 9/11. It’s a sensitive subject matter and it’s delicate and you don’t want it to feel exploitive, but at the same time you want it to be as truthful as possible. So it’s walking a fine line. Of course, as I’m sure you have seen, there’s sort of become a political conversation surrounding the film, but in reality all we were trying to do with the film is to celebrate the heroes — the CIA and intelligence community and the people who really did put it all on the line and risked their lives for something. We’re fortunate that it went the right way. It could have very easily gone horribly wrong and people would have felt very differently about it. It’s a sensitive subject matter and we tried to ensure it was executed in a delicate way.
Would you say there was any particular challenge to working on this project?
KATHLEEN: No. At the time we filmed it — we filmed it in Santa Fe, New Mexico — the script was really solid and a fair portrayal of what happened. As an actor, all you really can do is execute the character and bring life to that human being and make sure that they feel human and feel authentic to people watching. I’ve done films in the past that are based on real life events and it definitely feels different working on a movie like that — because you feel like you have to do your research and really have to know what your talking about. So I think that’s the biggest challenge, to make sure you’re so immersed in that world that when you walk onto that set and when you walking into that office that you don’t feel like you’re an actor in a movie. If you’ve done that, then hopefully you’ve done your job.
Then what was it like working with such an illustrious cast on SEAL TEAM SIX?
KATHLEEN: All of my scenes were with William Fichtner and Eddie Kay Thomas, so I didn’t actually have any scenes with the guys portraying the Seals. It was very separate. We shot all of our scenes at the beginning, and we finished and then they filmed the other material with the Seals — which is the way it would have been in real life. There wouldn’t have been a lot of interaction between them. So we had it a little easier. We didn’t have to do weeks and weeks of training. They definitely put the guys through ringer to make sure they were in top shape to do those scenes. We had it a little cushier in our CIA offices. [Laughs]
Finally, what would you hope viewers will appreciate about SEAL TEAM SIX?
KATHLEEN: I think it’s a really great film and I think being the first film to come out about this topic, people are really interested in it. I think it’s ultimately a movie about these heroes and it’s about acknowledging all of these people, for all Americans. It’s an important film and I hope people enjoy it.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL’S
SEAL TEAM SIX: THE RAID ON OSAMA BIN LADEN
BECOMES NETWORK’S TOP-RATED SHOW OF 2012;
SIXTH HIGHEST RATED SHOW IN NGC HISTORY
4.7 Million People Tune in to Part of NGC’s First Original Broadcast of a Feature Film Inspired by Real-Life Events
National Geographic Channel’s Sunday night premiere of the true-to-life full-length action thriller SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden became a must-see blockbuster hit, with stellar ratings that averaged a whopping 1.4 P25–54 on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The special now ranks as the network’s #1 show of 2012, and sixth highest rated broadcast of all time for NGC. It encores on Friday, November 9, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
(Information provided courtesy of National Geographic Channel.)