History's 'Six' Creators Discuss Recasting Lead Role: "We Tore Everything Up"

Six S01E01 Still - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of HISTORY

Recastings are a semi-regular occurrence on TV, particularly in the era of Peak TV.

But when History's upcoming military drama Six had to recast its lead role, the switch raised a few eyebrows, if only because of the seeming lack of similarities between the original actor cast, Joe Manganiello, and the actor who replaced him, Walton Goggins.

"It was a different style of actor, so we were able to adjust and take the series in some different places that we might have with Joe," writer and exec producer William Broyles told reporters Friday at Television Critics Association winter press tour. "We're very happy with it."

After receiving a straight-to-series order in January, production was put on hold when Manganiello suddenly exited the series due to a "serious illness," according to Broyles. Goggins signed on just four days later.

Broyles Jr., along with his son and exec producer David, admitted the dramatic shift required some last-minute changes before production began.

"Walton brought an electricity to the role that was unexpected. We had certain plans in place and what we thought about the season and the shape of things. And when Walton came on board we kind of … he is so different, we kind of tore everything up and took another look at what we could do and how we could do it. We're really proud of the result," David said.

"Now that we've seen it with Walton … he really became Rip in a way that we didn't expect. We're very happy with him."

The Weinstein-produced series follows the members of Navy SEAL Team Six who must band together despite their differences to locate and rescue their troop leader, Rip (Goggins), after he is captured in Afghanistan by terrorists. To ensure an authentic portrayal, the members of the core cast went through the same physical and mental challenges that the real Navy SEAL members go through.

"The guys we're portraying and others in the military have been at war for 15 years and that exact price – I was in Iraq myself, I was in Afghanistan. I've seen firsthand the red-hot fulfillment of combat and also the terror of it," said David, a military special operations veteran.

"These guys are often portrayed as superheroes, as bulletproof, as infallible. What I found was they're not. They're actually real people that have fears and make mistakes, and yet they do this incredible job under the most challenging circumstances."

Members of the cast joked that they, too, almost backed out of the project once their intensive training began. "I tried to quit twice, they wouldn’t let me," joked Barry Sloane. "We owed it to veterans to get our ass kicked for a week and we really f—ing did."

Added Edwin Hodges: "It tested our limits. We had fears tested that I don't even think we knew we had."

Six premieres Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 10 p.m. on History.