IAR: In the research that you did for the role, did you find that dilemma to be common for many soldiers? Not necessarily the AWOL aspect, but the idea of choosing between home and family, and their own unit?
Gabel: Yeah! It was tough because I think a lot of the guys in the National Guard when they were called up were able to make the choice, and a lot of the guys weren’t able to make the choice whether or not they were going to go. So it’s really difficult because you’re so close to the other soldiers in your unit and it really becomes a question of loyalty, not just to your country, but also to your friends that you’ve been training with for so long and perhaps fighting with. So that dilemma is an extremely difficult one and I think that’s what’s so profoundly impactful about this story. It captures a very simple and honest relationship between people that you don’t really see in war films and usually address the vulnerable feelings that soldiers have.
AX: There are a lot of different sides to Danny’s character. When we meet him, he’s doing a wheeler-dealer thing …
Gabel: Yeah, the big thing was that Sefton was incredibly resourceful and knew how to be strategic with people. I think he would see himself as someone who didn’t manipulate people, but he allowed himself to be strategic with people. What’s fun about that scene where you see him acquire Gore-Tex for the unit, perhaps in a way that’s not completely honest, was my good friend Jason Lew, who’s a brilliant writer and actor, got to play the part of Sergeant Kraft, and we had so much history together and went to college together. So when we shot that scene, we had a lot of fun.
Allegiance is a thriller on many levels, but where it triumphs most is by presenting how one arrives at the harshest of decisions. As teased in the Allegiance trailer, Bow Wow is astonishingly sincere as the soldier seeking to reunite with his son. It is through his performance that the audience has a vicious internal struggle as to what should happen in this situation."
When the rapper and “106 & Park” host was asked if the movie changed his views on our troops, Bow Wow replied, “Oh, man, they get my respect, my hat goes off to them. It’s a huge commitment and it’s crazy what they and their families have to endure while constantly putting their lives on the line.”
1. One man’s decision causes trouble for the whole squad.
"As much as the film deals with a specific situation, on a larger scale, “Allegiance” has a lot to do with the repercussions others must face when we make a decision for ourselves. “Bow Wow’s character, Reyes, goes AWOL and SFC Hart is technically responsible for one of his men going AWOL. Bow Wow is the center of the film and he must make the hard decision between family and country. Everyone else must deal with the consequences once he chooses family over the military.” Malik explained.
Karen Benardello interviews with Bow Wow, Aidan Quinn, and Director Michael Connors for YAHOO! VOICES.
Q: What was your working relationship together like while you were filming 'Allegiance?' How closely did you collaborate during the shoot?
Aidan: It became very work-oriented, because we worked right through the script. (laughs) We did four scenes in one day. We started with a big monologue of mine, so we got right to work. We did a lot of movements at a lot of locations. We wouldn't have been able to pull off what we did in one day of shooting on any other film.
Michael: I guess one of the benefits of having a lot of military people on your set is that things get done.
Q: Michael Connors, the writer and director of the film, was also a soldier before he became a filmmaker. Did you speak with him at all while you were shooting the movie about his experiences in the Army?
Bow Wow: Yeah, Michael definitely talked to us and told us stories. I remember going to the fire department and learning how to stick a needle in somebody's arm and things like that. It was crazy. I played a medic, so I also rolled with medics and different things like that.
But Michael was always walking around set, telling us how it was when he was in the military. We were asking questions here and there. He would share stories, and stuff like that. It was really fun; I had a lot of fun shooting this film.
MSN:Working that closely with the other guys in this film must have been a very bonding experience.
Bow Wow: It felt like we were really in the army! We spent a lot of time together in one room, there was no favoritism of any kind for any of the actors. We thought, okay, let’s do this for real and get down to the nitty-gritty. It was all very intense and had such a camaraderie that there were times where we didn't even feel like we were acting. It was all part of our lives at that point and I think that comes across on the screen.
"The search for non-existent WMDs hit a fever pitch in 2004, leading to the largest deployment of National Guardsmen since World War II by George W. Bush. In "Allegiance", director Michael Conners makes his big screen debut and keeps an entertaining movie surprisingly in step…"