Talking With: Alexander Angelikis from Amazon’s Prime Video Action Series ‘The Terminal List’
Interview with Alexander Angelikis, a former real-life Marine now finding action and brotherhood on-screen as he hunts down his military brother, Chris Pratt.
This edition of Talking With focuses on Alexander Angelikis, who portrays Cody ‘Smitty’ Smith, a member of the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team (HRT), tasked with chasing after his former Navy SEAL platoon brother in Amazon’s newest hit Prime Video action series, “The Terminal List.”
Based on former Navy SEAL Jack Carr’s best-selling books, the series follows Navy SEAL Lt. Commander James Reece in the aftermath of a secret mission gone awry. Reece faces accusations of culpability, while uncovering a deep-rooted plot against him. Loyalties are tested, as he seeks the truth and ultimately vengeance for those responsible. Alexander joins the storyline as ‘Smitty’, part of the team tasked with capturing Reece after he goes rogue and denotates bombs on the streets of San Francisco.
Prior to this series, Alexander notably recurred as Amos the Junkie in the Tubi Network drama series Sangre Negra, about a multi-generational Latino crime family. A Marine Corps veteran himself, Alexander worked on former Green Beret and NFL Player Nate Boyer’s documentary movie, MVP, which highlights efforts to help veterans. Alexander is currently prepping to shoot a film project from director Scott Slone and is also developing his own feature film project.
A Los Angeles native, Alexander didn’t walk a straight path on his way to an acting career. In fact, it feels more like a circle – from troubled teen he discovers acting, then from the military and feeling a bit lost afterwards, he finds his way back to acting.
To learn more, we are Talking With Alexander Angelikis.
Why did you want to be a part of “The Terminal List”?
Alexander Angelikis: Well, during 2020 when Los Angeles completely shut down, I went to Utah to stay with one of my brothers from the Marine Corps and his family for a bit. I heard Jack Carr speaking on a podcast and he was talking about this book series he had written and that Amazon had ‘green lit’ the show to be made. So, I started listening to the first book, “The Terminal List,” which the show is based on and I instantly fell in love with it. Things had been pretty tough for me in the industry so far, lots of ‘no's’ and all that, and I figured man, if ever I was to get a ‘yes’, I hope it's for this show. A few auditions later, I was on set working on the show.
What can you tell us about your Character?
AA: Cody is an interesting character. He is the youngest member of the FBI HRT Task Force assigned to hunting down Chris Pratt's character, James Reece. Cody is also the only former SEAL on the HRT team and served with Reece in the Teams, so he is thrust into a pretty complex situation once HRT's target is revealed to them.
How do you think your military background helped bring Smitty to life?
AA: I come from an Infantry background, so being the main combat force in the Corps the amount of time training behind the gun we get is ridiculous, to say the least (haha). I mean hundreds of thousands of rounds and hundreds of thousands of hours of practice, so from a tactical standpoint that was kinda just muscle memory for me to apply to Smitty. Also, portraying him and being immersed back into this military world really brought back that sense of Brotherhood, not to mention everyone on the HRT team is a Veteran. Two of them I knew personally before we began shooting, and now the team has literally become family. I mean, we all still talk regularly now which is pretty cool and I think that sense of unity really translated well on screen.
Was there anything else you did specifically to prepare for the role?
AA: Again, I’m a huge fan of the books. I have all of them and all signed by Jack, so I’m totally a dork for this kind of stuff. I would say that having the knowledge from the books before heading into the show, definitely helped. Also, when I initially read for Smitty, he was written very well, but he was written as kinda the young loud mouth on the team -- you know, the belligerent type. But I didn't see him that way. I saw Smitty as a dude who not only served with James Reece, so there is already that brotherhood there, but he genuinely cares for him.
In the military, the words ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ truly have special meaning, because we all see one another as truly family. So, when Smitty finds out that Reece is the one that he and the team have to hunt down, it doesn't sit right with him. He feels like he is betraying his family. Also, because he knows Reece so well, he realizes that while what he has been doing is wrong, he knows the kind of character Reece is made of, so if he is doing what he is doing, then there has to be a good reason for it. Smitty is actually a pretty complex character thrown into an even more complex situation. On one hand, he is kinda silently rooting for Reece, but on the other, he still very much has a job to do and has to honor that commitment regardless of who the target is.
You worked with other Veterans on the project what was that like?
AA: Honestly, it was so incredible. I mean, working with everyone on this show was amazing because we all really pulled together to create something truly special and authentic. We all wanted to honor Jack Carr's incredible material as much as humanly possible, so it was just great working with everyone overall. But working with other Veterans, specifically and especially the ones I already knew, just added a whole other level of authenticity that I think everyone will really feel when they see the show. Also, it made us all super comfortable immediately. You know, it’s interesting, you can walk into a room full of people, not know anyone there, but as soon as you find out there is another Vet in the vicinity, there’s an instant connection. It’s actually pretty cool and it’s something I feel is just very unique to the warrior tribe.
Do you have a favorite moment from working on the show?
AA: Yeah, absolutely. I think some of my favorite moments were the times I was invited by my friend Jared Shaw, a former SEAL who plays Boozer and is also one of the producers on the show, to sit with him in the video village and watch so many different scenes get shot between Chris Pratt, Constance Wu, Jean Tripplehorn and JD Pardo. It was just an incredible learning experience being able to see what Jared and my friends David Digilio (showrunner), Max Adams (Army Ranger/producer/writer), Jon Schumacher (producer), and Sylvain White (director) were looking for in each scene. Being able to pick their brains about things behind the camera was so great, but also getting to learn by watching what all these incredible actors were doing in front of the camera. So, I feel like the more aspects of this industry I’m able to learn, or at least have a basic understanding of, will continue to help me grow as not just an actor, but also as an artist.
Why do you think fans will enjoy it?
AA: I think fans will enjoy this adventure of revenge and uncovering truth because it's very true to the original book series, which is what I think fans always love. Also, the level of authenticity from a military standpoint is something I think they will really appreciate, especially those in the Veteran community. Also, I think this will be the first-time fans will get a chance to see a whole different side of Chris Pratt, and they’ll enjoy this level of versatility and authenticity from him. Also, it’s just a crazy, wild and rowdy ride (haha), plus it’s dark and gritty and all that fun stuff, so it's definitely gonna be a fun time.
Tell us about your journey from being in the US Marine Corps to becoming and Actor?
AA: Well, I actually started acting in the early days of High School. Never did it professionally back then, but I went to school for it because I was always getting into trouble and my Mom was trying to find a creative outlet for me to put all that energy into, instead of getting in trouble all the time (haha). I could always remember lines, even when I was really little, and I was always performing for my family, but again never thought about doing it as a profession. My Mom couldn't really afford to send me to Drama school anymore, and after 9/11 happened, I got tired of seeing kids on the news, not much older than me at the time, out there doing their thing, and I felt wrong that I wasn't out there with them, so I decided after I finished High School I would join -- and the Marines got me (haha). I left to go serve, and during those 8 years, even when I was in Iraq, I always had acting on my mind. But, before I got out, I started apprenticing at a tattoo shop because I was always able to draw, too. I started looking to that as my career after the service, but call it fate or the universe, acting came once again calling when “Modern Family” shot an episode in the shop. I got asked to be an extra, don’t think I actually showed up in the episode, but it clearly struck something in me because all my mentors at the shop could see it. Later, when they told me, I said ‘ok, this I the path I’m supposed to be on. My purpose in life is to be an actor.’ I left the shop and went back to the same drama school I attended as a kid, The Lee Strasberg Theater And Film Institute, and have been on that path ever since.
What inspires you the most creatively?
AA: Ever since I was a kid, I've just been such a huge fan of this artform. I’m inspired by every aspect of it, but as an actor, the stories that inspire me the most are ones that are meaningful and impactful. The types of stories that all of us as humans can relate to. I love fantasy and comedy just as much as the next person, but films like “On The Waterfront,” “The Elephant Man,” or “Good Will Hunting,” just to name a few, are the kinds of stories that impact and inspire me the most.
Finally, is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
AA: I think that about covers everything the only thing I think I have left to share with y’all is the show (haha). Excited for you to watch it and I appreciate so very much you taking the time to reach out and ask me some questions -- it means more than you know. Lots of love and respect.
Follow on Instagram: @AlexAngelikis
About the Creator
I write about entertainment and the inspiring people who create it. Interviews with actors and filmmakers revealing their latest projects and what influences them creatively.
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