An actor doesn’t magically become a convincing Navy SEAL just because they’ve got their lines down. The cast of SEAL Team‘s preparation goes way beyond studying the pages of a script. Accurately portraying a SEAL isn’t just a full-time job. It’s a lifestyle.
The cast of SEAL Team puts itself through hell nearly every day of the week to maintain their active-duty SEAL appearance. That’s also one of the ways they maintain the proper mindset, but more on that later. For Jason Hayes actor David Boreanaz, portraying the leader of Bravo Team means a specifically tailored 6-day a week training program.
His personal trainer, Roy Paras, talked to Men’s Journal about putting together Boreanaz’s training regimen.
“These Navy SEAL guys are all true badasses, and there are no shortcuts to looking like a badass. You have to train that way,” said Paras.
Of course, Boreanaz isn’t an actual SEAL. And to make his training more complicated, he has sustained countless injuries throughout his four seasons on SEAL Team. He also has lingering issues from years of more reckless weight lifting and training. That history of bumps and bruises actually fits his character. Any real-life operator will have gone through much worse and have the scars to show for it.
Losing weight, gaining weight, and putting on muscle is often part of an actor’s job description. Movie stars go to great lengths to make their characters more believable. But when someone like Tom Hardy bulks up for a movie role, he only needs to maintain that look for as long as he works on the project. The cast of SEAL Team? Well, they’ve been keeping it up for years on end. And that’s arguably more impressive.
Preparation for ‘SEAL Team’ Goes Way Beyond Hitting the Gym
SEAL Team has been celebrated by active-duty personnel and veterans alike as one of the most realistic depictions on TV. The show’s producers, cast, and crew have gone to great lengths to ensure that impression.
One of the most critical aspects of an accurate portrayal is how the characters interact with one another. Executive producer Benjamin Cavell set SEAL Team apart by nailing the personality side of things.
“One thing that every other military show gets wrong is that it’s not funny enough,” said Cavell. “Their interactions and lives in the military can have funny moments, so we have tried to incorporate humor.”
The way he tells it, SEAL veterans describe the use of humor as a coping mechanism. It’s an invaluable tool when trying to divert one’s mind away from pain, whether it’s emotional trauma or physical. Both of which SEALs encounter regularly. This complexity has led some SEAL Team stars to feel that the emotional side of things can be harder to tackle than the physical training.