Michael Jai White always rises to the occasion for whatever the role calls. As one of Hollywood's most dependable action presences, he stars in the thriller The Commando as James Baker, a DEA agent with PTSD who returns home after a botched mission and now must protect his family from a home invasion after a recently freed convict and his henchmen come after their stash of millions inside of the agent's home. I spoke with White about working with writer and director Asif Akbar, learning firsthand from family members dealing with PTSD and his co-stars.
"Asif is a real balanced director," White said. "I really thought the material was quite responsible for the fact that it brought light to the PTSD issue that a lot of our veterans are dealing with, and to make that the lead character, I thought was a good thing. I mean, being close to that. I have family members who are suffering from it. I felt that I was uniquely qualified to kind of helm the project. I thought the script was very down to earth and rooted." The actor did a film that also dealt with the subject matter. "I've done some research with a movie that I did prior called Falcon Rising, but since then, I learned a lot more in dealing with some organizations, one led by Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, who was a big mentor of mine. The fact I had two brother-in-laws and my father-in-law deal directly with PTSD issues to this day. I felt like I was home well within an understanding and the condition."
Akbar worked on the script with Al Bravo and Koji Steven Sakai. White already had familiarity with some of his co-stars working with them on previous projects. "I worked with Mickey Rourke earlier in a movie like just two months earlier than my wife (Gillian White) was the lead in called Take Back (2021), and I also worked with [Donald] "Cowboy" Cerrone on a movie that I directed called The Outlaw Johnny Black. So it was great working with them once again and then working with Jeff Fahey was amazing. That guy is really one of the most fascinating people I've ever met. We built a bond that had us working again later on a movie that we completed about six months ago called The Dead Zone." Saban Films' The Commando, which also stars Aris Mejias and Gianni Capaldi, comes to theaters, on-demand, and digital on January 7.