Philip Winchester is ready for action on ‘The Player’

Colleen Hayes, NBC

Alex Kane is a man on the move. The former government agent has gotten tangled up with an all powerful gambling group in Las Vegas that’s betting on whether or not he can solve crimes before time runs out. And while he’s at it, he’s trying to figure out what happened to his ex. It’s a lot for one guy to manage, and Philip Winchester, who brings him to sprinting, fighting life on “The Player,” says it’s important to him to keep Alex human, despite all of his high flying adventures.

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How does Alex respond to being in this intense situation?

For Alex, because he has this history of violence, because he has this history of not particularly appreciating bureaucracy or red tape or following the rules, that when he gets given the opportunity to tap into that part of his addiction again and use that to find someone near and dear to him, I think he feels 100 percent justified in doing that. He needs these people to seek out the person he lost. And it also taps into this brokenness. It taps into this side of him that is all about doing things on his own and cutting out the middleman.

Will we see Alex fail at the bets?

We certainly will. That was one of the things that intrigued me about the show. We can’t just have this guy who’s kicking ass all the time, in superhero blue. … When he punches someone it hurts. When he has to make a decision about going into a situation that’s life or death, it always comes with that sort of tongue in cheek, like, well, let’s give it our best shot, kind of a thing. I’d like to bring out as much of our John McClane [“Die Hard”] as I can with this guy and not have him being just the kickass superhero who can do everything. I want him to break.

Your last show, “Strike Back” was also pretty action-heavy. What do you like about the genre?

On the very base level, there’s the adrenaline and the taste of it. I just enjoy the process of making something look as dangerous as possible but knowing that everyone’s got your back. It’s a real neat team collaboration. You get your stunt guys involved, you get your riggers, you get your special effects guys and everyone’s collaborating on making this look as badass and dangerous as possible, and hopefully you’re walking away from it. On that level there’s the adrenaline and the teamwork that I really enjoy. And character-wise, I think it’s a really challenging thing to do these things, to carry them off, and then walk into a dramatic scene and be truthful, and tell the truth.

The pilot has a scene where you’re sprinting naked through the streets. Did you really film in Las Vegas, naked?

We did film in Vegas, and I wasn’t naked, I had my boxers on. But yeah, it was me in my boxer shorts running through Fremont Street. What was funny was nobody batted an eye. I think they thought it was a normal part of being in Vegas. It was just a guy, holding a gun, running down the street in his boxer shorts.

Between this and “Blindspot,” NBC seems to have a trend of making their new stars open their shows naked. Is this some kind of hazing ritual?

Yeah, Jaimie Alexander and I had the same contract.

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