Here's What You May Not Know About 'Strike Back' Star Daniel MacPherson
Strike Back are still getting to know Daniel MacPherson and his character Samuel Wyatt, an American sergeant assigned to the U.K’s covert ops Section 20 team on the rebooted Cinemax military actioner.
The Australia native was well aware of how tough it would be following Sullivan Stapleton and Phillip Winchester, who'd previously ruled the show for four seasons. (You can catch the duo on the season’s final two episodes, and read an interview with them both next week on TV Insider.)
“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to pick up where they left off, particularly in terms of our weapons handling and our physical training,” the actor reveals. “But the fan base that this show has was there for us immediately.”
He admits that fans quickly noticed some changes in the show’s fifth season, Strike Back: Retribution. Aside from the addition of “absolutely bad ass female soldiers “ (Natalie Roberts and Gracie Novin), he notes "there’s a little bit less meaningless sex,” though, he adds, “still the same crazy action.”
Friday's March 16 episode is a big one for Sam Wyatt as Section 20 scrambles to get to terrorist Omair Idrisi before equally-destructive wife Jane Lowry finds him. “We delve into who Wyatt is and why he is who he is and there’s some great payoffs in the episode,” MacPherson promises.
The actor is well-known back home—where he’s been on TV since he was a teen—and in the U.K., where he worked on England’s iconic cop drama The Bill. In the U.S., he’s only had a handful of guest arcs on short-lived shows like APB and The Shannara Chronicles. Currently, he can be seen as Levi Miller’s dad on A Wrinkle in Time.
Read on for six more things you may not know about Daniel MacPherson, straight from the man himself.
He was accepted into Mensa, the high IQ organization, before he was 10!
"They tested me when we moved from Australia to London," he details. "We used to get newsletters from them but I didn’t see the significance of it until much later in life. But apparently, I was quite a smart kid."
He hosted Australia’s Dancing with the Stars for seven seasons!
The 37-year-old admits, "I’m a horrible, horrible dancer. I was playing a detective in a police drama called City Homicide. DWTS was on the same network, and I got an offer to take over for the original host. I played a policeman during the week and I hosted two-and-a-half hours of live television on a weekend. Live television is amazing; one day I might go back to it."
The several-time Ironman athlete's passion for triathlons led him to be “discovered” by an acting manager at a race when he was 16 years old.
Three weeks later, the manager called MacPherson’s parents and told them, “Your son would be great if he’s interested in acting.” He had to give up his dream of being a professional triathlete, but he won his first job: a role on popular Aussie soap Neighbors when he was still in high school.
He played both Jesus and Judas in Godspell on tour.
“Talk about a split personality," he quips. "For a while, I was swapping those roles every night. I can sing a bit, but it was funny how Jesus or Judas would just disappear whenever there was a dance number.”
Before Strike Back, McPherson was a stranger to guns.
“Coming from Australia [a country with strict gun control], I hadn’t grown up around firearms and I had to really familiarize myself with them," he reasons. "Thankfully, we had five months to prep, so the first think I did was go out and buy a bunch replica weapons and strew them around my house [in L.A.], so I’d feel comfortable with them. My poor wife!”
Luckily, he explains that the U.S. marine vets working with the show gave him lots of tips on how to use weapons. Especially in scenes when Sam would be “in the middle of a gunfight, as he jumps out of a helicopter to blow everything up while delivering a good half-page of his trademark philosophical dialogue. I love this guy!”
He’s married to actress Zoe Ventoura.
“We were both living in L.A. but we didn’t know each other," he recalls. "We moved home in 2011 to plays leads in a TV Western Wild Boys. I played a cowboy and Zoe was the butcher, and owned both a pub and a brothel.” The show only lasted a season, but the two have been married for more than two years.
Strike Back: Retribution, Fridays, 10/9c, Cinemax