Semper Fi

CS Interview: Jai Courtney on Semper Fi, Plus Exclusive Clip

Semper Fi trailer starring Jai Courtney released

Lionsgate provided with the chance to speak 1:1 with star Jai Courtney (Divergent, Terminator Genisys, The Suicide Squad) for his new thriller Semper Fi, as well as providing us with an exclusive clip which you can check out below!

RELATED: Exclusive: Jai Courtney Talks Returning to The Suicide Squad!

Cal (Jai Courtney) is a by-the-book police officer who, along with his close-knit group of childhood friends, makes ends meet as a Marine Corps reservist. When Cal’s reckless younger half-brother, Oyster, is arrested after a bar fight and given an unfair prison sentence, Cal — driven by his loyalty to family and fierce code of honor — fights for Oyster (Nat Wolff) in this gripping tale of brotherhood and sacrifice.

Semper Fi also stars Nat Wolff (Death Note), Emmy nominee Finn Wittrock (American Crime Story), Beau Knapp (Seven Seconds), Arturo Castro (Broad City), and Leighton Meester (Single Parents). The movie was directed by Oscar nominee Henry-Alex Rubin (Murderball), who co-wrote the screenplay with Sean Mullin (Amira & Sam).

Semper Fi will arrive in theaters, on Digital and On Demand on October 4.

RELATED: Semper Fi Trailer Starring Jai Courtney Released It’s so interesting to see you in this movie because you played a lot of cops and you played a lot of soldiers, but in this movie you’re both. So what was that like? Best of both worlds.

Jai Courtney: What was it like? I mean, it’s kind of interesting. I definitely, yeah, it’s no secret. I’ve put uniforms on a few times, but I did find this intriguing, a different kind of balance of that and a different balance of roles. And yeah, it was kind of an interesting one to prepare for in that sense. I guess it’s funny because the film’s title is “Semper Fi”, which is the motto of the Marine Corps, but it’s not just about that at all. The central theme is love and loyalty and what we remain faithful to. In that sense it wasn’t so much about going, “Okay, I’m going to go play a Marine,” even though we need to always honor those sort of experiences and portray that as accurately and respectfully as we can, there was something kind of different about it. It was cool, man. It was cool to prep. Rudy Reyes was our spiritual leader in the sense of our combat prep and anything to kind of do with the Marines. He’s a veteran of Force Recon. He’s done some amazing work. So to have him as a consultant and kind of a brother to sort of help us and lead us through was amazing. As far as the cop stuff went, I got to do some ridealongs in preparation for it with a detective here of the Sherriff’s Department Franklin Parish in Louisiana, which was awesome. Those guys are really great and generous with their time. It gave me a bit of an experience with sort of that small town cop mentality that I hadn’t really explored before. In that sense it was a totally fresh experience to any other.

CS: Guys like Nat Wolff and Finn Wittrock and Beau Knapp are some of the most stellar actors of their generation and you all worked really well together. What do you think it is about those guys that make them top caliber dudes?

Courtney: I think they are top caliber dudes. I don’t know what it is exactly. I think there’s a sort of illness that they all bring, the great actors, and we all had a responsibility to pull that out in one another. And they’re all like, no bullshit guys as well, you know? Every one of the guys is there for the work, there to put the best work onscreen. There’s no nonsense and no ego. Everyone was there for each other and to boost each other up. There’s that real team mentality that sort of permeates through the scenes of the movie and that has to be present in the cast for it to work. This isn’t a movie about any one individual, really. That brotherhood and loyalty is an unparalleled experience. It’s certainly my experience with veterans I know, guys that have come through the armed services in any branch can speak to that. It’s a team mentality, and we needed to assemble a bunch of guys who possessed that in not only the way they approach their work, but how they’re there for someone else. They’re all really generous actors, and I think that’s why we all pulled out the great work in each other. We made each other better.

CS: And you think your camaraderie on set mirrors the camaraderie in the film?

Courtney: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it really did. We built a really genuine kind of like trust and brotherly love between us. We had virtually no time to establish that, just because of the nature of scheduling and it wasn’t a big budget movie, as you know. So we didn’t have a month to go on boot camp together. But in a really short period of time, we were able to break the ice. Finn and I worked together on “Unbroken” a few years ago and had stayed really friendly.  I believe Beau and Arturo had done a movie as well. So there was a little bit of a head start there. But as far as getting the guys together and finding that love, I mean, it has to happen or we don’t buy what’s at stake in the film. And we were really lucky enough there. It was just a great group of guys who I’m still very close with and still lucky to be able to share that experience with.

CS: I saw you, or at least I saw your head, in “Alita” earlier this year. They’re clearly setting you up as a major character for a sequel. Are you hopeful that that could still come around the pike?

Courtney: I don’t know. Yeah, I mean, it’s funny you say that. It wasn’t necessarily so clear that that was the case. I had had some conversations with Robert Rodriguez and we were trying to figure out a way. I wanted to be part of the film, and he’d gone a different direction with another character that was maybe a conversation at one point. He just called me up and said, you know, there’s a part. Do you want to come down? There was an intention behind that, that if it went on again, then that character always fleshes out and he needed someone that would work for that. Obviously, there wasn’t a lot to do this time around. I just respect him so much as a filmmaker. And obviously, having Jim Cameron involved and those guys and what that film did visually was amazing. It was a space that I really hadn’t played in at all before, so I was just curious and kind of keen to just go and do it, man. So your guess is as good as mine. We’ll see if that builds towards something else, if they feel like tackling that again. And if I get the call, then great, but that’s about all I can kind of really speak to that.

CS: I talked to you years ago for “Felony” and at that time you’d just finished “Terminator” and “Insurgent”. And you said to me, “it’ll be a long time before I sign on for another franchise.” And then a few months later, you were on “Suicide Squad”. So what changed for you there?

Courtney: (laughs) Oh I don’t know. Who knows? I change my mind every day. I can commit to something today and be tired of it by tomorrow, so I’m not surprised by that. But it’s kind of funny. Look, “Squad” was one of those things that came along. David Ayer was really the reason I wanted to get involved with that. I’m not the hugest comic book guy. It wasn’t a property that I was just so hungry to be a part of. But it’s been amazing and a real gift, and I’ve had the chance to work with some amazing people and build some friendships with some of the other cast members from “Squad”, that’s for sure. I’m grateful for that. I should probably stop making broad, sweeping statements like, it’ll be a long time before anything happens, because this industry, things can turn on a dime. I mean, sometimes we do a movie and you get to the end and all you want to do is shake that off completely. And then the right person calls, the right script pops up, and hell, you turn around and I’ve played men in uniform a bunch of times, and sometimes I feel like maybe that’s something I don’t want to do anymore. I can’t really commit to that. If a story’s worth it and there’s intrigue in the character and there’s a challenge there that you want to tackle, then sometimes things can feel like they repeat themselves. And it’s for the best.


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