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We Were Soldiers


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On the set of SOF with Winter....
Montreal 1998

The fan's interview with Tim Abell / Benny Ray Riddle... 1998
























On the Set of Special Ops Force
in Montreal
with Winter

Montreal........Day 2
August 18, 1998

6:00 am - I'm up early so I can meet them by 8am over at the new location. I look out and it's a cold dreary day that looks like rain. I throw on a sweatshirt and my rain gear and I'm on the metro by 7am. It takes me longer to find the place than I had thought. By 8:30 I finally find the base camp. I don't see anyone around so I go up to one of the security people and I say I' m looking for Tim Abell. "Is he one of the extras?" "No, he's one of the main actors." I was surprised they didn't know. He takes me over to his boss and he says they haven't left yet, Tim was still in his trailer. I wait by his trailer and he comes out about 15 minutes later. He see me and smiles and says, "Lets go". He piles me in the van with Brad, Melinda, David and one of the makeup artists. Melinda smiles and says hi and we drive over to the set.

They are set up in a parking lot. They are filming a scene where BR was left off to watch from a higher vantage point while the rest of the team goes to meet the bad guys.

 Brad Johnson

The first part they film is Brad, Melinda and David in the van. I see David reading his script and I say "Going over your lines?" He smiles and says "Nah I don't have any". David goes over to the others and gets ready to shoot the scene.

Tim comes over and says I could sit in his director's chair if I want. These chairs are really cool! They say Soldier of Fortune Inc. on the back and then it has their names on the front. So I take him up on his offer and I have a seat. Tim goes over to talk with the others but comes back when they get ready to film since he isn't in the scene. He takes a seat and we start to talk. He asks if I'm warm enough because it's cold down by the water. I tell him I'm fine. I mentioned to him that I had copies of Surgical Strike and Scorned before any rewrites and that they were slightly different. He said he was sorry to see Duke and Jay go and was curious what was different. So I tell him what was different and that in Scorned there was no "Enjoy life, eat out more often". I told him it was one of my favorite quotes. He said he liked it too. We talk about the chat room and I mention that on Fridays it's quote night and that a lot of us have wavs of our favorite quotes. He says "Hey isn't there a website with all wavs on it?" I said "Yeah, that's The Meadow's site". We talk a little more and he excuses himself because he has to go back up to his trailer.

He comes back down about a 1/2 hr later and sits next to me and says. "Doesn't that guy look familiar?" He's pointing to Shaun Toub. I wasn't sure and Tim says he played the sub commander in Steel Sharks. I had mentioned earlier that I had seen it and he's right it is. Shaun comes over and Tim introduces us and then Tim said, "Weren't you the sub commander in Steel Sharks?" "Shaun said yeah." Apparently they never saw each other on that set. We sit and talk some more and I mention that the new stuff on the web was fanfiction about the show. They were both interested and I explained what that was and that he could find some on The Meadows webpage.

10:00 am - They are still shooting the "van" scene when Tim wanders off again. He comes back holding a script. He sits down and askes me why I thought BR was the most popular character. I had mentioned earlier that he was. I say it's because there isn't much known about him. He's a loner. I say the others are easy to figure out and that BR is mysterious. He looks thoughtful and says "It's because he's an enigma". I agree and he excuses himself and goes off again. He wanders over to where the others are. He is over there talking for awhile when the director says they are ready. Tim comes out of the shot and back over to me. He says, "Here, this is for you." He hands me a signed script of the episode that I'm watching them shoot. I was so shocked! I thank him and he smiles because he can see how excited I am. Finally they are ready for his shot. Jean Francois calls him over and they walk to this building that looks like a small lighthouse. I follow over and get some pictures as he's climbing up. After I'm finished I head back over to the others.

Next thing I know Tim is coming back. They weren't ready for him yet. He sits down and says he isn't looking forward to shooting in there. It's pretty run down. So we hang out some more and I ask about his skull ring and if it had any significance. He said no. I ask if it's his own ring and he says yes. He thought it was appropriate for BR since he's the sniper. He said we wouldn't see it in a few of the episodes for the next season because he broke his finger and couldn't get the ring on. 2 hrs later they are ready for him.

He heads back over and I see David running after the van. Brad had left him behind and David being the joker was running after the van. Well actually Brad was backing it up into position up the road and David was pretending he was pushing it.

Tim climbs back up to his sniper nest and they finish shooting the scene. When they're done it's time for lunch and since they were already in the van they drive off. So I go off and do some sightseeing.

3:00 pm - I wander back to base camp but everyone is still at lunch. I go and sit under a tree and read the script of the episode. I hang out for about an hour when one of the crew sees me. She calls me over and says I didn't have to sit over there. She introduces herself as Molly Rodriguez; she is one of the assistant directors. She said "I had no idea you were a fan of the show, I thought you were Tim's sister or something". She takes me over to her office and gives me all sorts of stuff and explains what she does. I hang out with her and she asks where I'm staying. I tell her over at the dorms. She says that's silly, that they rent her a big apartment and that I could stay with her. "Are you sure?" I say and she says, "Well you aren't a mass murderer are you?" I laugh and say, "I don't know what I do in my sleep". So we make plans for me to meet at her apartment in the morning. She is typing up the call sheets for Wednesday when Melinda wanders by in a red wig. It's for an upcoming episode. The directors want a blonde one but she thought they looked terrible.

 Tim Abell

Melinda goes back to the make-up area when David wanders over and starts to give Molly a hard time. He says hi to me and they keep talking. The 1st AD calls on the radio to let her know when they will need the first team, which is Brad, Tim, David and Melinda. Molly gets on the phone and calls Brad and Tim. They had gone into town to get a bike for Brad, his had been stolen. About a 1/2 hr passes and they aren't back yet. The AD calls again and says they are almost ready. Molly gets on the phone and says "Brad, please tell me your close." David takes the phone from her and gives Brad a hard time. David hangs up and he says we were to watch for a green garbage truck coming over the bridge because they were right behind it. As you can guess the base camp was right by the bridge. Anyway the AD radios again and says they are one shot away from needing the 1st team. Just then we see the garbage truck and right behind it is Brad's Red Durango. They pull up and step out and Molly tells them to go get changed ASAP. Tim sees me and he waves with this huge smile on his face. They get changed and we pile into the van again. Melinda gets in with a guy and Tim introduces me. It's Melinda's husband, he thinks it's nice that I came to watch.

7:00 pm - This is the last scene to be shot for the day. Brad and Melinda are in one car and Tim and David are in the van. It's a scene where they are exchanging Shaun to some FBI agents. It doesn't take them long to shoot the scene. When they are done we pile into the van again. One of the make-up artists gets in the far back seat. Melinda and her husband are in the next. David is right behind the driver's seat and I get in next to him and Tim gets in next to me. All of a sudden Melinda starts play-choking David over the seat. David plays it for all it's worth, kicking his feat on the ceiling and dangling his feet over the drivers seat so Brad can't get in. Brad finally grabs his left leg and Tim leans over me and grabs his right one and Melinda yells "make a wish" and we all laugh. Brad finally gets in and starts to drive only he pretends he can't. He heads straight for the other van and puts his hands in front of his eyes then turns at the last minute. It was great the fun they had with each other and I was thrilled that they felt comfortable with me there and let me see them having fun.

 Tim Abell

We get back to the trailers and its dark and Tim asks how I'm getting back. I said I was taking the metro. He said no I'll drive you back. He goes and gets changed and I talk with Melinda's husband. He is REALLY nice and funny. 8:30pm - So Tim is driving me back to the dorms and we are talking about what he's going to do for Labor Day weekend. He said he and Brad were going caribou hunting with Shane. We talked about the buffaloes that were killed in Yellowstone last year and all sorts of other stuff. Tim has never been over by the University of Montreal so I'm playing navigator, reading the map. I successively get us there and he drops me off. He smiles and says he will see me tomorrow.

 David Eigenberg

David Eigenberg... autographed picture for Laura

And so ends day 2.

 Day 1  Day 2  Day 3  Day 4  Day 5

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