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When Jack Carr was tucked away inside a rental in Coronado, California, typing up what would be the first of five novels centered on a Navy SEAL commander named James Reese, he zeroed in on a short list of dream collaborators if the book was ever adapted.
After all, the plot seemed prime for adaptation as the first entry, The Terminal List, tracks Reece after his entire platoon was ambushed during a high-stakes covert mission. As new evidence comes to light, Reece discovers dark forces working against him, endangering not only his life, but the lives of those he loves.
“Before I had a book deal or anything, I thought, ‘who would be the perfect person to bring James Reese to life?’ Chris Pratt. Then I thought, ‘who would be the perfect person to direct it?’ Antoine Fuqua. I picked them before they even knew who I was,” Carr told The Hollywood Reporter recently at the L.A. premiere. “They were my dream. I’ve always been such a fan of Antoine’s work and with Chris, I saw him in Parks and Recreation and then watched his transformation into playing a SEAL operator in Zero Darky Thirty. As I was typing away, he made this rise to A-list prominence.”
Through a fortunate set of circumstances — Carr’s friend Jared Shaw (a former SEAL who stars in and co-produces The Terminal List) got the book to Pratt before it was published in 2017 while another buddy delivered it to Fuqua — his dream became reality in less than five years time thanks to Amazon Studios, Civic Center Media and MRC Television (a corporate sibling of THR).
“I think it actually set a land speed record of page to screen,” joked showrunner and executive producer Dave DiGilio of how quickly it all came together from publication to series debut. “But when you work with people like Chris Pratt, Antoine Fuqua, this incredible cast, incredible [executive producers] like Jon Schumacher, Daniel Shattuck, and incredible military veterans on both sides of the camera, somehow life gets a little easier and you can streamline the process.”
DiGilio saved special praise for his star, Pratt. “This should be the show that really introduces Chris Pratt as storyteller to the world. We know all of these things about him — how incredible, charismatic, humble, hardworking and how much he cares about the military community. What we don’t know is that Chris is on a different level when it comes to his instincts about storytelling,” he explained, adding that it was his push to keep the audience on their toes from start to finish.
Carr had equally nice things to say. “This project really fell on Chris’s shoulders for each and every episode,” he said of the star who also served as executive producer alongside his Indivisible Prods. partner Schumacher. “He put in a ton of work and he’s just such a visceral actor. People don’t realize that, but now they will and after seeing this, they’ll see him in a new light.”
In addition to Pratt, the series stars Constance Wu, Taylor Kitsch, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Riley Keough, Arlo Mertz, Jai Courtney, JD Pardo, Patrick Schwarzenegger, LaMonica Garrett, Stephen Bishop, Sean Gunn, Tyner Rushing, Jared Shaw, Christina Vidal, Nick Chinlund, Matthew Rauch, Warren Kole, Alexis Louder, Arturo Castro and Marco Rodríguez, among others.
The eight-episode series debuts July 1 and Kitsch said he relished the opportunity to do a long-form project. “Obviously, I grew up watching and loving movies and doing a lot of them but I also love the slower burn of [a series], especially for this kind of show where you can lead and mislead the viewers throughout. It’s a slower rollout and I love that as an actor. You have more time to breathe.”
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