SWAT

I can understand when studios pull hit TV shows from the past out of the vault when looking for a safe project to develop into a feature film. There is name recognition in “Charlie’s Angels” and “Miami Vice” and “The Addams Family”. But “SWAT”? I’m old enough to have seen the show first run on ABC in 1975. It wasn’t that big a hit and was pulled after only 34 episodes. However, thanks to the ever expanding world of non-network television, the show has managed to regain enough name recognition that Fast and the Furious producer Neil Moritz is pulling the squad out of mothballs and getting them ready for next summer.

In the original show, Steve Forrest starred as Lt. Dan “Hondo” Harrelson, the leader of the Los Angeles Special Weapons and Tactics unit, who led his crack team (including Robert Urich as Officer Jim Street) to defend the city against the scum who would harm us. This time out, Samuel L. Jackson plays Hondo and Colin Farrell steps into Urich’s shoes as Street. Michelle Rodriguez joins the squad as new to the franchise character Denise Sanchez.

In the new film, Street is allowed to return to his unit, two years after breaking his arm in a brawl with a disgraced colleague. After completing training with squad members TJ, Deke, Sanchez and Boxer, Street’s first major assignment is to transfer drug kingpin Alex DeLeon to a secure prison facility. Little does the SWAT team know that (start spoiler)there is $100 million waiting for the criminal bold enough to set Alex free, and Street’s old partner Poker is bold enough to take a shot (end spoiler).

The characters:

Alex DeLeon: 30 to 50, an international drug kingpin, multi-lingual in English and Turkish, an expert martial artist, who worked his way up the bloody ladder of success in the world of drug distribution. Very wealthy and clearly very shrewd. A smooth European criminal, he is a chameleon, and an oddly charismatic man with a strong streak of sadism to him. Based in Budapest, Alex learns that one of his underlings in L.A is skimming from the take, and he heads to California to “kill the cancer.” Arrested on a casual traffic stop, Alex has no intention of going to prison, and (start spolier) he offers $100 million (spare change to him) to anyone who will set him free. Alex soon finds multiple groups of villains vying for the opportunity to set him free

Poker Martin: 25 to 30, an ambitious SWAT team officer from the South, with a chip on his shoulder, Poker is partnered with Jim Street. During a dangerous mission to rescue hostages in a jewelry store robbery, Poker exceeds his orders, leaving behind two dead crooks. Busted from SWAT for his “insubordination,” Poker regards himself as a hero who’s been disrespected, and quits the LAPD, after breaking Street’s arm in a quarrel. Poker uses his tremendous skills at shooting and movement to assist criminals. Having been seduced by the dark side, Poker soon finds himself ostracized from society, living in squalor in the desert with a gang of meth lab bikers. When Alex issues his offer of a $100 million, Poker is the first to take up the challenge, and mounts a complex operation to set Alex free. Tough, ruthless, and willing to kill, Poker winds up in a face-off with his old buddy, Jim Street.

Deacon “Deke” Kay: 25 to 30, a powerfully built African-American man, an LAPD officer who works a patrol car in Watts. The son of a man who runs a BBQ stand on Crenshaw, Deke is happily married to Jasmine, an LAPD officer herself. A strong runner who is ice cool under pressure, Deke is impressed when Street outruns him during a street chase. Recruited by Hondo to join the SWAT squad, Deke grins like it’s Christmas morning. Eager to join the elite squad, despite the fact that the work is hard and the hours suck, he is intent on helping forge the squad into a team, and proves to be a rock-solid member of the unit. During their mission to transport Alex safely to a Marine base, Deke is blasted with bullets by Poker, but his body armor stops the lead. Badly injured when his flashbang grenades go off, Deke urges Street and Hondo to continue the fight without him

TJ: 25 to 30, a young, proven SWAT officer, the fourth member of Hondo’s SWAT squad; a high achieving perfectionist, young and arrogant with pristine hair and teeth, a bachelor who spends his spare time hand-waxing his truck. Initially disrespectful towards Street, whom he regards as a trigger-happy has-been, TJ doesn’t try to hide his distrust, and treats Street coldly at first. Amazed when Street beats his time on the obstacle course, TJ comes to respect Street and regard him as a comrade in arms. During the dangerous attempt to recapture escaped Alex De Leon, TJ is shot in the leg and dragged to safety by Street

Boxer Age 25 to 30, a young, proven SWAT officer, Boxer is the fifth member of Hondo’s SWAT squad. Boxer is a little overweight, with a five o’clock shadow; a low-key, go-with-the-flow kind of guy. Unhappy in his marriage at home, Boxer enjoys getting out and getting into action, rather than working on the plumbing and being nagged by his wife. A quiet man who doesn’t always reveal what he’s thinking, Boxer is the only member of the squad to respond to Alex’s $100 million reward offer. He becomes a turncoat in the middle of the squad’s biggest mission, assisting Alex to freedom

Former “Homicide” star Clark Johnson makes his feature directorial debut, from David Ayer’s screenplay. Shooting begins in Los Angeles on October 7.

If you feel you are rightly suitable for one of these roles, please feel free to have your agent contact either the production company or the casting directors.

The Scorecard
Director: Clark Johnson
Producers: Neal Moritz, Oliver Stone, Chris Lee, Dan Halsted
Writers: David Ayer
Casting Director: Randi Hiller, Sarah Finn
Distributor: Sony

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