Action. Adventure. A key lime slice of humor. And a WWE superstar. These are the only ingredients needed to kick start a stalled franchise and build a successful string of home video titles that will not only piggyback on the triumph of their predecessors, but also become a flourishing series all on their own. That is 20th Century Fox's intent with their upcoming third installment of Behind Enemy Lines, entitled Colombia. The film will be the first of four direct-to-DVD titles to be co-produced by Fox Home Video and the World Wrestling Entertainment conglomeration, and it stars the amazing Mr. Kennedy (aka Ken Anderson), best known for his immaculate ringside SmackDowns. The plot follows a group of Navy Seals forced to fight their way out of Colombia after becoming trapped behind enemy lines. With a government blaming them for their predicament, and a number of their men killed in battle, the remaining Seals must fight to find the evidence needed to free themselves, restore their name, and fly home.
Back in March, we were invited to the Puerto Rican set of Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia, where we were not only allowed to watch Mr. Kennedy and actor-turned-director Tim Matheson (Otter!) at work, but were also asked to participate as extras in an exciting town market explosion scene. Arriving in this beautiful commonwealth, we were quickly whisked along a breathtaking island road that took us through a scenic tour of the jaw-dropping coastline. This eventually led us to a small street fair that looked quite authentic and served as a perfunctory means to kick-start this story of international espionage and intrigue. It certainly felt like Colombia, yet the lush landscape and festive backdrop were almost too inviting. It lulled my tiny group into a false sense of security. And we felt as though we were on some sort of grand vacation. But that feeling didn't last too long, as they soon hustled us into our spots. Before we knew it, we were participating as background actors in one of the most important scenes held within the framework of the script.
Yes, we had arrived for the opening prologue. It would set up the action that eventually finds lead character Alvaro Cardona on his personal redemption quest. The upcoming storefront explosion would also act as the motivating force and push behind what we will later see him accomplish in the film. Played by Yancey Arias, Cardona is a family man on vacation with his wife and child. While strolling through this all-encompassing street festival, they encounter a bit of Colombian terrorism, and Alvaro's spouse and son are killed in the mayhem. It is a tragic moment, one that will find Cardona teaming up with Mr. Kennedy and the rest of the Navy Seals later on in the film to exact his revenge. We were warned that we would be watching a loud fireball rip across the landscape, and that we would indeed need earplugs during the proceedings. But before we were allowed to experience the exhilarating impact of this war worthy detonation, we first had to intermingle with the street fair itself.
We were literally pushed into the eye of the storm. Asked to participate as Colombian locals and visiting islanders, we were allowed to fully immerse ourselves in this otherworldly adventure. There were no wardrobe changes necessary, as our civilian outfits properly expressed that we were spring breakers away from home, attempting to enjoy a self-paid excursion through this sometimes dangerous country. Next to a gigantic waterfall, the set designers had decorated the surrounding outdoor market with Colombian flags and vegetable vendors of every kind. The locals were pushing their carts across the paved road, attempting to hawk their customary dishes. Every type of bobble and loom was accounted for, and various live musicians had set up shop with their beggar hats out and hoping for a Colombian Peso or two.
We were asked to stand by a flower cart as Cardona and his family made their way through the street vendors and to the awaiting catastrophe. It was easy to enjoy the smell of the flowers, and wander about as if we were actually shopping. But our short square inch of moving space had us hitting just one mark. Take after take, we were asked to stand in the same place, and dole out the same enthusiasm, and smell the same stem of roses. We ended up playing our parts for a good two hours. We truly felt as though we'd merged with the background of this upcoming action thriller.
After a long day of sniffing daisies, we were allowed to sit down and have a local Puerto Rican buffet. As luck would have it, we were then treated to the exploding car as payment for our patience. Which was pretty cool. Seated in a tour bus in the foreground of the shot (Hi, Mom!), we were but a few yards from the blast. Even the most ardent film snob enjoys a good explosion on occasion, and to view one live and in person is even more exciting then you can imagine. One take was all they needed to get it right. The car lifted off the ground, a giant fireball plooming out from underneath its carriage. And then the shoe store beside the car went flying in a thousand different directions. It was like the best fireworks show, only shown in the daylight and far more dangerous. After we all recovered from the shock, we were invited to speak with the men responsible for this upcoming action extravaganza. That's right, we sat down for a set of exclusive interviews that included director Tim Matheson, Yancey Arias, Joe Manganiello, and Mr. Kennedy himself. To watch our cast interview featurette, you can click on the video player below:
Be sure to catch all of the excitement and adventure when Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia hits store shelves on January 6th, 2009. And be sure to look out for us extras. It was a grand time, and I'm sure you will enjoy this hardcore shoot-em-up as much as we enjoyed participating in its most important scene.