Terry Schappert is a problem solver. As a former Green Beret, sniper and medic, he can take you apart and then put you back together. He has hosted numerous TV shows showcasing his skills, including Warriors on the History Channel, Dude, You’re Screwed and a Shark Week special on Discovery Channel.
In addition to serving in the U.S. Army and National Guard for over 20 years and hosting various TV shows highlighting the unique skills of members of the military, he is the coauthor of A Guide to Improvised Weaponry: How to Protect Yourself with WHATEVER You’ve Got. In other words, you don’t have to be Terry Schappert to defend yourself (but it helps).
On his new show Hollywood Weapons on the Outdoor Channel, Schappert, along with Larry Zanoff, the leading professional armorer of the movie industry, put some of Hollywood’s most memorable action scenes to the test. Premiering tonight, April 3, at 9 p.m., the show dissects and recreates scenes from Criminal Minds, Jaws, Die Hard, Rambo, Star Trek, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, among others.
Wondering what to watch on TV on Monday nights? Problem solved.
The De Pasquale's Dozen asks political figures and free market-minded writers and entertainers to take a break from politics and talk about their pop culture obsessions.
1. As a kid, what actors/action stars did you enjoy watching?
I was a big fan of Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes and Soylent Green. I also loved watching Adam West in Batman and David Carradine on Kung Fu. As a little boy there wasn’t an action hero that I didn’t dig watching.
2. What action movies could you watch over and over?
I’ve never gotten tired of the opening scene in Blade. Alien is one of the best movies ever made. Blade Runner, too. The best sci-fi movies are where the future is dirty and gritty. That’s what it’s going to look like, not like some slick, clean rocket ship.
3. What did you learn from filming some of your favorite movie scenes?
I learned that in the real world anything is possible. You can have a really good day and you can have a really bad day. I also learned from the show how clever the special effects people are. These guys are really talented.
4. On Hollywood Weapons, Larry Zanoff, the leading professional armorer of the movie industry, is your co-star (and points out that he's the Abbott in the relationship). Who would you like to be your co-star in an action movie?
I would love to be along side a movie with Mel Gibson. We’re the same age where we could be brothers. He’d be the better-looking one. For fun, I’d also like to go kill vampires with Wesley Snipes. For real life action scenes, any of the guys I’ve served with in the Green Berets. They’re real life action heroes and they’re all really good.
5. Cam Edwards of NRA News calls Zanoff the "Willy Wonka of Weapons.” Which kid from the movie does that make you?
I think I would be a mix between Charlie and Mike Teavee. I definitely do not have any Veruca Salt in me.
6. What was the best decade for action movies/TV shows and why?
I think the 1970s because you have to love what people were wearing. What made the shows good was that there was no CGI or animation. It was stuntman and weapon-driven without being over the top.
I dig action movies, but I get bored with gratuitous action. I want a story. I want to be emotionally involved.
7. What's the last good action movie you saw in the theaters? What makes a good action movie?
John Wick 2. Keanu Reeves has obviously put the time in as an actor to learn how to handle weapons and fight. It has legitimate close-quarter gunplay.
The sweet spot is when the combat or action scene is possible and when it furthers the story. For a dramatic movie, real world isn’t that cool to watch. It’s not necessarily sexy and clean. When I watch an action movie, I don’t take it apart. It’s supposed to be entertaining. I like elements of realism, but it’s not necessarily interesting to see on film.
8. In the last 10 years or so, some of the best movies have been adapted from books. What are some recent books you'd like to see made into movies?
There could be a great series (like Band of Brothers) in The Deserters by Charles Glass. He wrote about four guys who deserted in WWII, how it happened and why they did it. He didn’t try to rewrite history or glorify what they did. It was pretty interesting and would be a cool cinematic experience.
Also, Outlaw Platoon by Sean Parnell about his real experiences in the Army’s 10th Mountain Division. It’s emotionally raw and honest. I laughed and cried and called him the next morning and told him he got it right.
9. Does it drive you crazy when an action scene is improbable?
Even scenes that are wildly impossible or improbable are okay if they add to the story. I think things have gotten better over time, especially the weapons skills of the actors. We’ve been involved with a war for quite some time and the gun handling and tactical movement is much more spot-on and that’s a good thing.
The purpose of Hollywood Weapons isn’t to slag on a movie and call it BS. It’s to have fun and explore the scene and honor the actor and creator of the scene that touches you in some sort of emotional way.
10. What Hollywood villain would you like to take down?
I would be happy taking down any villain who shows inordinate cruelty to people or animals. I’m going to drop him.
11. What can the weapon-ignorant news media learn from Hollywood Weapons?
Weapons do have limitations and they’re only as good as the person using them. In the movies, no one misses their shot and when people get shot, they just drop. In reality, it’s very easy to miss a target.
12. As a former Special Forces guy, you're adept at leading a successful team. If you were going to take down a bad guy, what four people would you want on your team?
This is my team that’s not military.
A money guy.
A computer whiz.
A femme fatale, Lisa D comes to mind.
And of course, Chuck Norris. Combined with me, no one is safe.