By Ryan Rigley
There have been a number of films based in or around Afghanistan in recent years, but none comes remotely close to the cold, hard realism that is “Special Forces.” Starring Djimon Hounsou as Kovax, the leader of an elite team, and Diane Kruger as Elsa, a French journalist that gets kidnapped by the Taliban, “Special Forces” cuts straight to the core of terrorism and its effects on other countries.
“It was probably one of the toughest films, for me, that I’ve ever made,” Djimon Hounsou said during a recent interview with MTV News. “I have yet to come across anything that would surpass this.” Click past the jump for more from our interview with Djimon Hounsou!
“We had to stay in groups,” Hounsou recalled on his time shooting “Special Forces.” “I never adventured off of the set. The set was pretty much home.” With most of the film taking place on the border of Afghanistan and Tajikistan, both the cast and crew had to be very cautious of their surroundings at all times, but the Taliban wasn’t the only thing that they had to look out for.
“This was probably one of the most treacherous terrains I have ever taken,” Hounsou said about the journey to set. “If you make one false move and one of your wheels gets off the line, you’ll find yourself a mile to two miles deep down the cliff. And that was a 19-hour drive.” One can only imagine what it must have been like to shoot a movie under such stressful conditions.
“I had to take two weeks of training,” Hounsou said about his preparation for the role. “How to take on a mission, how to break into a place, how to travel at night, how to take a hostage in the heat of the moment and, when you’re surrounded, how to cocoon yourself in order to defend yourself.” All of which comes pretty standard for the Green Berets, the armed forces that helped train Hounsou and his fellow cast members.
“We were literally wearing military outfits the whole time. Day-in and day-out,” continued Hounsou. “I’d go to bed with it, you know. Almost like a soldier. And you start to think almost like that. You find that you enter rooms in a different fashion. You look at things differently. You approach people differently.” This mindset is certainly apparent when watching Hounsou’s character, Kovax, on screen; effortlessly commanding leadership and acting as the glue that holds his team together.
In the end, all of that hard work and training definitely paid off. Djimon Hounsou and his co-stars flawlessly embody the Special Forces team for which the film is named, drawing raw emotion and energy from a thoroughly interesting story. “Yes, it was pretty intense,” Hounsou said. “Thank god I had a great background in martial arts and boxing for many years before I started this career.”
“Special Forces” opens in limited release October 12.