Published on July 23rd, 2020 | by Neil Jordan0
Talking The Outpost With Actor Scott Alda Coffey
Recently I spoke with Scott Alda Coffey about his new film “The Outpost”. (Photos by The Riker Brothers)
What was it about ‘The Outpost’ that you found intriguing that led you to accept the role in the film?
After I finished the script, my first thought was “how have I never heard of this battle before,” it’s considered the deadliest American engagement in the 19 year conflict, and yet I had never heard of it. That showed to me how disengaged we as Americans have become with the war in Afghanistan. I knew that if I hadn’t heard of this story, there are a lot of people who also hadn’t heard of it. I felt that I really wanted to be a part of telling this important story about these heroic men.
What were your thoughts when you learned of the chain of events surrounding The Battle of Kamdesh and Combat Outpost Keating?
I was honestly flabbergasted that something like this occurred. I could not believe that these soldiers were put in this dangerous situation, placed in an outpost surrounded by three mountains. They were so vulnerable, it honestly made me angry.
In preparing for the role, did you and your fellow actors undergo any sort of military-style training?
Yes! We had 8 days of Basic Training. Obviously it wasn’t the level of training that soldiers go through. But the idea was to learn how to handle guns so we looked like real soldiers, and to be sure we were safe while we were filming the battle scenes. It was easily the hardest week of my life, but I am so grateful to have had that opportunity, I learned so much about the military and it really prepared me for filming those scenes.
Were there any significant differences between the film and the book that got your attention and perhaps should’ve been included in the film?
There were definitely a number of differences from the book because we had to tell this story in a 2 hour time frame. However, I really think Rod Lurie (the director) and the writers did an outstanding job of telling this story within those constraints. Of course, it would have been nice to include the other Bravo troops that served at COP Keating or really explore who each person is even more, but I am very happy with how the film turned out.
Was there anyone that you worked with in this film that struck you as someone you would like to work with again on a future project based upon their performance and dedication to their role?
We really had an amazing cast in this film. Everyone was so nice and a lot of fun to work with. It was a wonderful ensemble, and I felt like we really came together and formed a bond. So, I would love to work with any of them again, however, I do think Caleb Landry Jones really excels in this movie, and I would love the opportunity to work with him again. He is just an exceptional actor in everything he does.
Having pursued acting for several years now on stage and screen in both television and film, which do you prefer?
I grew up doing a lot of theater, so that will always have a special place in my heart. However, I have really fallen in love with television and film. I love the intimacy of it. I love how the camera can be right up in my face and I can’t hide anything. The camera will catch every nose twitch, every blink. I think it’s so cool that we now have mediums that can get inside our heads and see what we’re thinking.
Does possessing the experience of a producer provide any sort of advantage in acting roles?
I think it’s always important as an actor to fully understand what goes on behind the scenes. There are so many people who are involved in each project, I think it’s always good to really understand the amount of work that goes into creating a movie or tv show. I think that can really inform the actor.
Based upon this role and the praise you’ve received in the media thus far, would you ever choose to participate in another war/drama film or is this the kind of role you might shy away from because of the content?
If the opportunity arose, I’d definitely do another war film. It takes a lot of work but I have grown to really enjoy the genre. I watched a lot of war films in preparation for The Outpost, so I would definitely be happy to do another one. Especially WWII. I am very fascinated by that era.
Having a lot of inspiration to draw upon, was there a particular production, film, or television episode featuring your grandfather that stood out amongst the others that you ‘go back to’?
I really love so much of his work, but I think a performance that has always hit me every time I see it is his performance in The Aviator. It’s such a different role than we normally see him play, and he’s just so good in it. I get chills sometimes when I watch it.
If the opportunity presented itself, would you ever choose to direct?
Absolutely! I think that at some point in my career I would love to dabble with directing. I do think that’s really far down the road because I’m enjoying my journey as an actor, but definitely at some point.
In your mind, can film/television/stage productions continue despite the current ‘pleasantness’ ?
I think that entertainment is going to continue to evolve. We have seen a lot of people come up with creative ways of doing theater during this quarantine. I saw a couple of zoom plays, which I thought were so clever! I also thought Parks and Rec did a really good job with their entire virtual reunion special. I think we are going to continue to see a lot of creativity from artists. Artists love to create. I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.
What does the immediate future hold for you?
Continuing to try and stay healthy and quarantining. I am also using this time to educate myself on social justice issues and learning how to be a better ally to the BIPOC community.