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Shane Taylor rolls with punches of 'Strike Back'


October 13, 2012|By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol | RedEye

Those handcuffs, you know, I tried. There is no way. You can't do that. You can't do that. To back against the fence and do a couple of things and abracadabra, I'm free. [Laughs.] Yeah. That was pushing it.

Even taking out three guys with your hands cuffed behind your back.
[Laughs.] Yeah. That was very sort of “Matrix.” ... There are sort of super heroic elements to it.

And the people in the neighborhood, instead of running to find police, they're all standing there applauding Hanson, which I think is sort of a true situation in the neighborhood full of criminals that was supposed to be.
Absolutely right. You're spot on with that. ... That was the roughest neighborhood I had ever been to. It went on for blocks and blocks. It was incredible because you could tell at one point in time that it was an artist hub. The buildings were incredible. They were dilapidated when we were shooting but at one time it was kind of an artistic hub. It's got this very ugly beauty about it.

I think they were even using some locals for security because if you knew a few people around, you sort of could keep them at bay. We were in the heart of darkness really. It was just a very deadly situation. But then what do you do? You embrace it and you get the people involved. That's what happened on that day. They were the neighborhood locals. They got involved. They loved the day. It was something different from their day-to-day lives. Everybody had a great time.

That scene is kind of very macabre, very sort of a dark comic moment, I think.

You play it well too because you didn't wave or anything. It's just so Hanson because he doesn't really react. He just looks up at them.
Yeah. [Laughs.] Giving the Fonzie thumbs up, that would have blown it there. [Laughs.]

Exactly. Did you find being in South Africa was a perk of the job?
Very much so. Luckily they had that first season there, and because Michelle and Sully and Phil all knew the place, it was great to just tag along and get to know the areas through them. I got my girls out, flew them out toward the end of the Cape Town leg, before we went to Johannesburg. By that time I knew the areas myself. I got the car. I could take them all over the place. It's easily navigable, Cape Town. It's very easy. You've got to wise up. You've got to know where to go, and Jo’burg’s much worse in that regard.

You really cannot go out. I called it moon base one, but it was really just like a hotel within a shopping mall. It was huge. There wasn't actually any natural kind of area to go that was outside. You had to make special arrangements to go outside and be taken to certain areas because the pockets. There are some great pockets in Johannesburg. It is an exciting place, but it's peppered with these really bad areas that you just want to go into.

I thought Cape Town itself, and the surrounding area of Cape Town was absolutely beautiful. It was definitely one of the moments where you realize it's just an incredible job, to come here, to do this sort of thing in this kind of area.

How was working with Charles?
Charles, what can I say? He's probably the youngest-spirited one of us all. Yeah, great, great time with Charles. Two of his friends were in it as well, Pete Evans and Tim Pigott-Smith, in the opening episodes. I think Tim is the oldest swinger in town. He tops even Charles I think. Whenever we went out he was the last man standing. Even over Sully, which that's a feat to be able to do that. I mean he was just great. I think everybody that came in embraced it in the best possible way.

It wasn't just about them and us, cast separated from crew or anything like that. The crew was very integral in all of it. ... In terms of the experience and working on a show like that, I haven't had a better experience. It was a really fun thing to do and a fun place.

Phil told me a while ago that when you guys met you told him that you were up for his part as well, Stonebridge's part.
Can you believe it? Yeah, I mean they would have had to radically gone in a different way. ... Yeah, I was one of them. ... I went up for it. Met in London and LA, and then London again. Even though it got quite far, it never quite felt right. It didn't quite fit somehow. I put a lot on tape. I met a bunch of people. That's when I met Sully because he was London. He had just finished “Animal Kingdom.” He came over because I knew the director wanted to see Sully. We went out a few nights in London while he was doing that. He ended up getting the role. For me, it was just meeting all these people and knowing everybody.

Then when I met for the Hanson role, I was useless. ... I did a really rusty meet. It was purely down to the fact that I had put so much on tape previously. I met everybody in the States and this side to do with the show. It sort of swung it in my favor. That's when they came and said we've got this character and he's going to have this season-long arc, which was great, which was an amazing thing.

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