‘SEAL Team’: Max Thieriot Approaches Directing Episodes Like a Bravo Team Operation

by Evan Reier
Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)

Max Thieriot is one talented guy. Besides portraying Clay Spenser on the hit show SEAL Team, he also directs episodes of the CBS/Paramount program.

It’s not an easy task for most. It’s one thing to sink your teeth into one character and deliver the best performance possible. But it’s a whole different monster to expand your focus and try directing.

But, interestingly enough, Max Thieriot doesn’t see it that way. In fact, he considers it to be something he just “gets.” Talking to Parade, the actor opened up on his process and it almost sounds like a Bravo Team mission on SEAL Team.

“I really get ahead,” Thieriot said. “So, when I show up on set, I know exactly what I’m shooting. It keeps it efficient, and that way I can execute my vision. Obviously, the only other thing is it’s TV. I shoot things a little more cinematically, generally, where they’re a little longer and a little more dramatic, and we had to compress a lot of that in the editing room, which is a little bit of a give and take, but it’s a part of the process and I understand it.”

Part of the reason Thieriot says that he is understanding of the process is his upbringing. The actor adds he grew up on sets, so working in entertainment in all forms is second-nature.

“I’m also one of those people that when it comes to directing, I understand it. It all really just makes sense to me. And so, it comes easier to me than acting.”

‘SEAL Team’ Star Max Thieriot Talks ‘Curveballs’

It’s not hard to imagine a future where Thieriot spurs acting completely. With the experience he has gained elsewhere and on SEAL Team, he’s on the fast track to directing his own project.

But before then, he is still honing his chops. Part of that is dealing with the tougher parts of creating a narrative and being ready to execute on set.

“The only thing that gets thrown are the curve balls of what the sets look like,” Thieriot explained. “And where I can and can’t shoot, because that’s obviously really the only limitation. I’ll literally sit in bed and think about how I want to shoot it and what it looks like. That’s really the only curveballs I’m thrown, or when I show up for scouting and go, ‘Okay, this barn opens the doors here and faces this one, which isn’t exactly what I expected, so, I’m going to have to change this around a little bit.’”

It’s clear that Thieriot is methodical when he gets behind the camera. Coordinating actors as an actor himself isn’t the hard part, so it seems to open up his focus for other details.