After an enduring 18 years in Hollywood, Jon Seda finally landed perhaps the most important role of his career.
The long-time thespian, who has played everything from Jennifer Lopez’s love interest in Selena to Detective Falsone on the TV series Homicide: Life on the Street, is now making his mark as a sharp-shooting sergeant in HBO’s $200-million, 10-part wartime mini-series, The Pacific.
“At first it seemed like something you want to be part of, because as an actor you’ve got (producers) Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg (and) you know what they did with Band of Brothers (which they produced in 2001 for HBO as well),” said Seda during a recent interview.
“But when you actually start diving into the research and start shooting and boot camp and all that, there’s a point where I think it really hit that this was something bigger than us.”
Based on the true stories of three U.S. Marines stationed in Southeast Asia during the Second World War, The Pacific is a fascinating historical account of the men who fought barbaric battles in dense jungles against a persistent enemy that refused to surrender.
“This was definitely the most physically demanding thing I’ve been a part of but I think the surprise was it was equally or more mentally challenging,” admitted Seda of the intense 10-month film shoot.
“When you think about what (these soldiers) actually went through … we had to stay in line with what they actually did so the reality of the fact that someone went through this was pretty overwhelming.”
That wasn’t the only overwhelming aspect for the hundreds of intimidated young actors who took part in The Pacific.
Heightened by its big-name production duo, Tom Hanks even played a general one day when he rode up in a jeep and brought an air of calm to the troops.
“I’m pretty sure it was the first day of boot camp and he gave a big speech to everyone,” reflected Seda fondly. “He said, ‘We’re all here, we’re all family, we’re all together and we’ll get through this together’ and that kind of set the tone and got us going.”