‘SEAL Team’ Star AJ Buckley Reveals How He’s Similar to Sonny

by Allison Hambrick

“Seal Team” actor AJ Buckley discussed the similarities between himself and Sonny Quinn in a video shared on the show’s’ Instagram.

“Sonny is just so handsome,” the actor joked. “I’ve grown to love how handsome I am. I’m a pretty lighthearted guy, and I’m always cracking jokes, which is [what] the guy my character is based on would do all the time. He’s constantly breaking balls.”

Understanding Sonny ‘As a Man’

Additionally, Buckley enjoys playing a character with depth. Quinn’s fatherhood arc has allowed him to dig into what truly motivates the character.

“I think this is the first time he’s ever really had to look at himself and understand who he is as a man,” explained Buckley. “The woman that he loves is Davis, and the stars just won’t align. And now he’s got an opportunity in front of him and he sort of realizes that he wants to be here for his daughter and see these moments. So he questions his mortality. It changes everything as far as, like, how he charges into battle… I love playing Sonny Quinn.”

For Buckley, playing an action role was a lifelong aspiration. The SEAL Team actor grew up idolizing John McClane.

“That’s the character I’ve always wanted to play – the sort of everyman that can do the impossible,” said Buckley. “There was a time that had come along shortly after CSI  had ended and my dad had just passed away so I had put on a lot of weight and I wasn’t as focused. A really big opportunity came up for a big franchise film and I auditioned – I got down to the wire. They had said, ‘Look he’s the best actor for the part but physically we’re not going to have enough time to get him ready.’ That crushed me inside.”

SEAL Team Star Honors Veterans

As a result, Buckley got to work and became action-hero ready. The actor now plays a “dream” role, where he gets to honor the sacrifices of our military members. He holds a deep respect for them. And he enjoys working with the many staff members on the show who are former SEAL Team operatives. SEAL Team hires them as producers, writers, and even camera operators. Having actual veterans on set creates a camaraderie on the set that allows for a more honest portrayal.

“The show itself follows the tier-one operators, these elite group of Navy SEALS that exist over here,” said Buckley. “They are the best of the best. What I loved about the show when I first read the pilot is that there’s this real human element to these guys that have to go do this as a job. What they choose to go and do and sacrifice.”

Buckley also said that playing Quinn gave him a newfound understanding of strength. For him, SEAL Team has been “a life-changing experience,” beyond just playing the hero.

“It’s not about the physical strength, it’s about your mental toughness – how strong the mind is and the ability to overcome any obstacle,” said Buckley. “You kind of start applying that into your daily life. The work ethic, the ability to push through, to get up and go on, in a sense the metaphor ‘no man left behind.’ The loyalty that these guys have for each other makes you start implementing that into your daily life. “