Sweater by G-Star Raw
DA MAN: Speaking of “The Player,” how would you describe the series?
Philip Winchester: It was a thrill ride both on and off the floor. We were shooting 80-hour weeks and pulling off things in eight days that most shows couldn’t do in ten. It was a survival of the fittest project with a brutal learning curve, and I was very pleased to be a part of it.
DA MAN: Thriller/drama shows featuring ex-intelligence men and mysterious behind-the-scenes billionaires aren’t exactly rare. What is it that sets “The Player” apart from similar series?
Philip Winchester: The mythology being the house and the “game” is very complex and well thought out. Our show runner and creator John Rogers made sure of that. It’s clever stuff.
DA MAN: What was the most enjoyable part of filming this particular TV show?
Philip Winchester: For me it always comes down to the relationships that I develop on set. We had a great cast and a strong and talented crew. I enjoy showing up to work and getting things done with friends.
DA MAN: Earlier this year, you appeared in the fifth and final season—which would be the fourth for you, right?—of “Strike Back,” and the preceding seasons are now airing in asia. In hindsight, is there anything you miss from being on the series?
Philip Winchester: I miss “Strike Back” every day. It became this incredible family. We faced so many challenges together and overcame so many problems, that to not be able to continue all that with the same group and story felt really uncomfortable. We became very accustomed to how we all worked together and how we all thought through things. It became a brilliant story delivery device.
DA MAN: Through the years, “Strike Back” has amassed quite a following. What, in your opinion, are the main reasons behind the show’s continued success?
Philip Winchester: It sounds very obvious but any great story needs even better characters. You can watch “Strike Back” and think about the relationship between everyone involved. There was Richmond, Sinclair, Kate, Baxter, Colonel Grant, Martinez, Dalton, Locke and, of course, Scott and Mikey. One of the smartest things the show did and continued to do was hire incredible guest roles. Our baddies were fantastic at making us look good because they were so brilliant at what they did.
“If I can look at my wife and daughter and know I did things the right way, I can go to bed happy”
DA MAN: There’s been a lot of coverage about the military training you guys had to go through in preparation for “Strike Back,” especially on how hard it was. Do you think it was all worth it? Both for the series and on a more personal level.
Philip Winchester: It was 100 percent worth it. I can’t think of a better way to prepare for a role than diving in like we did on “Strike Back.” The privilege of being taken in by the men and women who actually did what we were only pretending to do was huge. I remember thinking very early on in training that if we could get that stuff right, we may have a good show on our hands.
DA MAN: Can you tell us a bit about your time at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA)?
Philip Winchester: Drama school was a mixed bag for me. For starters, I was a bit of a loose cannon and I didn’t adhere to the training very well. Mind you, our whole class had that attitude. We certainly had our own way of working. For us, it was obvious, but, for others, it was outside the box. There were a handful of teachers at LAMDA who saw what we were like and saw the potential. We were fortunate enough to get smart people who knew how to tap into our anti-establishment energy and use it to tell stories. It was that, plus Guinness. An awful lot of Guinness. [Laughs]