Portraying the rest of the patrol

Last Update: 03 August 1998

English actor Steve Nicolson, who plays the role of Dinger, agrees that because Sean Bean - as the lead - is such an ordinary person, it was easy to follow and work as a team and this contributed largely to the success of portraying the eight-man SAS patrol.

Working with a director like Tom Clegg has added to this. "He is a director who demands the truth," says Nicolson. "He works out what he is going to film, and more or less has the edit worked out in his head. That is why he works so fast and can film a scene quickly. He films what he wants to see on the screen. Because he works so hard, it demands a lot of you."

Nicolson has always been attracted to gangster movies, and looks for roles of the Film Noir genre. For him it does not get better than playing a non-fictional character, especially Dinger, whom he feels shares certain of his characteristics.

"Dinger is a dream to play because he looks as though he might let you down, but never will. He has a certain irreverance to him and will come out with things at precisely the wrong moment. He won't tow the line and is definitely not a 'yes' man. He may be a bit bolshy at times, but in a crisis he is there, solid and unflappable. He is not an easy character to play. There is a huge confidence to him, but no arrogance."

Nicolson felt that it was like fighting a war to make this film and that the challenges were to be expected to make it real. "On the first day the weapons were so heavy we could hardly lift them. We had to work with them throughout filming so we got used to them and eventually they became extensions of us. We had a few hitches on this shoot, technical and otherwise, which in a way helped. The analogy of Apocalypse Now came to mind for so many of us individually. It all made sense. It became a bit spooky, but it felt right. It felt as if it should be a struggle, because it was, for them. To be in a foreign country with a different culture is always a bit difficult to get used to, but it makes sense. The SAS patrol was a long way from home, behind enemy lines. Analogies like that do matter."

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