Amazon’s thrilling action series The Terminal List arrives on Prime Video on July 1. ComingSoon spoke to stars Chris Pratt and Taylor Kitsch about the series’ brutal action sequences, the high quality, and why it benefits from being a series rather than a film.
“It follows James Reece after his entire platoon of Navy SEALs is ambushed during a high-stakes covert mission,” reads the synopsis. “Reece returns home to his family with conflicting memories of the event and questions about his culpability. However, as new evidence comes to light, Reece discovers dark forces working against him, endangering not only his life but the lives of those he loves.”
Tyler Treese: Chris, there are a lot of great gunfights throughout this series, but I also love the hand-to-hand combat. You have a wrestling background, and you’ve trained with some MMA royalty, like the Nogueira brothers and Randy Couture. How satisfying was it getting to do these grounded, more realistic fight scenes?
Chris Pratt: Thank you, very satisfying! That was a huge note I had coming into it that I know our Navy SEAL advisors agreed with, which was cut out the Hollywood hot sauce. This is a guy who’s fighting for his life. I wanted it to be dirty. I didn’t want it to be a boxing match. For example, the fight sequence that happens at the end of the pilot, I was like, “I’m going to fight this guy to the death. I’m going to punch him in the balls. I’m going rip out his eyes,” you know? “I’m going to do everything I can to be lethal in a fight. I’m not trying to score points here. I’m trying to kill him.”
So that kind of stuff was really exciting for me because I see so often in films or in television where [it’s] high stakes and these guys start boxing and they’re like, “BA BA BA BA, BA, BA, BA BA.” And it’s like, no, fights never go that way. This is not a kickboxing match. It goes immediately to the ground and whoever is the dirtiest fighter’s typically going to win. So that sequence got real gnarly, real quick, and I liked that. That was important to me. It looks different when men are authentically fighting to the death.
Taylor, you’ve done some great work in both film and TV and the production value on this show blew me away. It’s like one giant film, which is so perfect for binge-watching. Can you speak to the high level of this production?
Taylor Kitsch: It’s also the company you keep. That was a big reason why I signed on. Obviously with Chris and Antoine Fuqua and Amazon allowing us to do what we do best, but also just giving us that platform. From our cinematography to the Navy SEALs that were on set with us to make sure we were authentic. It is a very high grade of all that stuff. And I think that’s why the show works as well as it does.
RELATED: The Terminal List Trailer: Chris Pratt Investigates a Conspiracy in Amazon Series
Chris, the show has high-intensity action scenes, but what really drew me in was the human emotion, the drama. The show does such a great job of showing the realities of war and balancing these traumatic flashbacks and the suffering of a soldier with this intriguing conspiracy. Can you speak to that balance? Because I think that’s really what makes this special.
Pratt: Thank you so very much. I mean, the source material, The Terminal List book, was obviously the touchstone, and I think the format … being able to tell this story over the course of eight hours allows for that type of emotional throughline to really actually resonate and grow at the slow growth rate required to hit in a way that’s going to be authentic to what this type of experience would be like for a person. Despite the fact that it’s a fictionalized sort of sensationalized conspiracy, it should be grounded in reality, and in the brotherhood, the depth of pain of losing your troop, of losing people that are close to you — all of that should be felt. If you have to take this eight hours and pare it down to an hour and a half with all the story, each of the ancillary characters would be cut down to basically nothing but people who are showing up to puppeteer exposition.
That’s sort of the fault of the format of the film. At an hour and a half, maybe two, two and a half hours at its longest, you can’t quite tell the same story in the same way with the same depth of emotion and development of character. So yeah, I really love this. I love the emerging medium of long-form episodic format, but with the production value of a film. Yeah, I think we really hit a special note here. I expect a lot of people will be doing something similar moving forward, because we have the time, space, and place for it. People can sit down at their homes and watch, essentially, an eight-hour movie. It’s kind of cool.