2009
27.04

“I put a suit on and played a policeman. I didn’t have any lines or anything but managed to mess it up six times,”

The Northern Echo – Who dares, wins
Monday 27th April 2009

Former SAS officer Andy McNab was well qualified to take part in a poll to discover the ultimate film action hero. Kill count, creative ass-kicking and sex appeal were all taken into account, he tells Steve Pratt. As A former SAS officer Andy McNab has been at the heart of a lot of action.

Quite how that compares to negotiating the busy traffic in Lyons, I don’t know. But that’s what he’s doing as we conduct our phone interview as he returns from Italy where he’s been learning to sail.

Or not learning to sail… “It’s been a nightmare and the weather has been crappy,” says the former soldier who enlisted in the Royal Green Jackets at the age of 16.

But I’m not here to talk about driving with the former soldier whose account of the failed SAS mission Bravo Two Zero in the Gulf War became the highest selling war book of all time, with more than 1.7 million copies being bought. It was filmed for TV with Sean Bean starring as McNab, who’s now a successful writer of fiction and runs his own security company.

Whether Bean is a dead ringer for the SAS hero is anyone’s guess. Because of past military operations, McNab must remain a shadowy figure. That’s not even his real name as he must protect his identity. His website shows only a shadowy figure where his mugshot should be. This is a legacy of his undercover work in anti-terrorism and anti-drug operations around the world.

“During the war in Northern Ireland I was part of an intelligence operation. Obviously, if I show my face, it’s potentially dangerous to other people in the group,” he explains in an accent which betrays his London roots.

What isn’t a secret is his participation in a Sky Movies poll to discover the ultimate action hero. He was on a panel of real-life action heroes and film industry experts who judged a shortlist of all-time top ten action heroes. Each star was judged on five categories – weapons, one-liners, kill count, creative ass-kicking and sex appeal.

“I thought it was great just getting to watch all the films again,” says McNab. “Obviously, it’s a bit of a laugh really, but when you start to look at them, you can see the way the genre has changed over the past 15 years with all the technology and all the stuff in the Bourne films.”

If you’re just “just looking at rough action and having a laugh and being entertained”, then the Eighties and Nineties were the prime time to go into action. He remembers watching Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator and how the success of his “I’ll be back” robot led to some of his other lesser films – he cites Commando – being seen in a better light.

“There’s obviously a lot more technology and effects now, but the stuff in Terminator and Alien was mindblowing then,” says McNab. “It feels a lot rawer, even the Stallone stuff. Those films get shown more than anything else. If you’re in a picturehouse in Mumbai and can’t speak English, you don’t want too much dialogue. All you want is to understand what’s going on.”

McNab doesn’t pretend that action movies reflect real life. He’s not being casual about k i l l i n g (his biography says he killed for the first time at 19 during a firefight in Northern Ireland), but realistic about action used as entertainment. But it does come as a shock to see the name at the top of the action hero poll – Sigourney Weaver, for her portrayal of tough, no-nonsense alien killer Ripley in the Alien space movies. As McNab says: “It all comes down to the T-shirt.”

She leads the list, ahead of Schwarzenegger, Stallone and, surprisingly, Chuck Norris. Completing the rollcall are Matt Damon (who starred in the three Bourne thrillers), a pair of Bruces – Willis and Lee – Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jason Statham and Steven Seagal. Weaver’s Ripley earned top marks for creative ass-kicking (fighting the Alien Queen in the cargo loader) and kill count (she nuked a space ship in Alien and a planet in Aliens, as well as dispatching countless acid-bleeding creatures).

“She just outclassed everyone in all the categories,” says McNab. “Plus, she looks much better kicking ass in a vest than Bruce Willis will ever do.” The fact that it was a woman doing it earned her extra points in his book. Milla Jovovich in the Resident Evil movies has also impressed him.

He clearly knows his movies without counting himself a film fan. “It’s not as if I’m queueing up two hours before the show on the first night,” he says in his defence. “But those films are fun. You go and get your popcorn and are entertained. You don’t have a big in-depth discussion.” Experience enables him to separate fact and fiction. “It’s a shame when people say ‘that wouldn’t happen’. Film-makers are trying to make a fantasy. If someone like Schwarzenegger punched you, you’re not getting up in real life.”

When he left the SAS in 1993, McNab was the British Army’s most highly decorated serving soldier. Since then he’s forged a career as a writer and security expert. His company runs specialist training courses for news crews, journalists and members of non-governmental organisations working in hostile environments, including war zones. He’s involved in training videos for the Ministry of Defence, lectures for the FBI and gives motivational talk for large corporations on both sides of the Atlantic.

He’s unlikely to outdo Weaver and the others as a screen action hero. He did work on Michael Mann’s thriller Heat, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, where the director was keen to make the shootouts as authentic as possible. “They were trying to make it realistic to the point of obsession. What you saw on film the actors had done on firing ranges beforehand,” he says. Mann insisted that he appear in the film, if only in the background of the action. “I put a suit on and played a policeman. I didn’t have any lines or anything but managed to mess it up six times,” he admits.

For the BBC, McNab is developing a series called Warrior Nation about a rifle company in Afghanistan. The idea is to look at a regular company and the 18 to 20-year-olds in it. “We’re already talking to the MoD and they’re very keen. That’s good and soldiers want to be in it now,” he says.

Not much like the old Robson Green series Soldier Soldier, I suggest. “The beauty of that was it was nothing to do with the Army, just a couple of lads who used to be in the Army. It wasn’t about conflict and what’s going on,” he says.

“I think certainly any rifle company will recognise itself in the series. With representatives from the commonwealth and the inner city, there will be lots of different characters. “One of the reasons I’m able to do Warrior Nation is because I go to Afghanistan and spend a lot of time with the battalion there. It’s interesting to see what the reality is and compare it to what people think it is.”

McNab may go to areas of conflict but isn’t fighting on the ground. He doesn’t miss the danger. “Not at all,” he insists. “Most people, once you get over that initial two or three years where it’s all exciting, find their time is up and it’s all over. It’s a job, although it’s not as bland as that makes it sound.”

Go here to read the article and the top list of Action Heroes

Girrrrrlpower! Cool – the Ultimate Action Hero is a woman!! Now, if you work with Vista too you will love the quote from Ripley in Alien. 😉

Ripley: Mother! I’ve turned the cooling unit back on. Mother!
Mother: The ship will automatically destruct in “T” minus five minutes.
Ripley: You… BITCH!
[smashes computer monitor with flamethrower]

2009
27.04

Konami has decided to dump controversial Iraq war game Six Days in Fallujah due to the amount of negative feedback received.

“After seeing the reaction to the videogame in the United States and hearing opinions sent through phone calls and email, we decided several days ago not to sell it,” a Konami spokesperson told Asahi.

“We had intended to convey the reality of the battles to players so that they could feel what it was like to be there.”

Developer Atomic Games had been collaborating with real US soldiers to authentically retell the Iraq battle of Fallujah. As entertainment. From an American perspective.

Unsurprisingly, the PC, PS3 and 360 game soon came under fire from a number of areas – even real-life SAS hardman Andy McNab got involved.

Six Days in Fallujah was due for launch next year in the US. The game was never confirmed for Europe.

Source: EuroGamer

2009
15.04

Gaming News – Ex-SAS man Andy McNab applauds Iraq game
Author slams critics of Konami’s “Six Days In Fallujah”

April 7th 2009 –  By Adam Hartley

Following the recent announcement of a new war game called Six Days In Fallujah from Japanese publisher Konami, TechRadar spoke with ex-SAS man and well-known chronicler of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Andy McNab.

McNab, author of Bravo Two Zero and a number of other autobiographies and fictional accounts of war, was keen to stress that UK-based critics and commentators of Konami’s game need to understand that “culturally it is totally different in the US.”

“In America it is not as if this is “shock horror”,” said McNab, “everybody has been watching it on the news for the last 7 years.”

The ex-SAS man also thinks the culture of videogames is far more deeply ingrained in US culture, telling us that “my mate’s granny lives in an apartment block in NYC and she has a gaming room of her own with two settees back-to-back and two flat screens – and she’s in her late eighties!”

GTA and Call of Duty

The ex-SAS man sees little difference between Six Days In Fallujah and “killing Nazis or drug dealers or whatever it may be,” reminding us that the “US Army uses shoot-em-ups as a recruit tool – it has a travelling gaming fair that travels round malls to recruit lads. Culturally they are more up for it.”

Ironically, while McNab agrees that the game IS entertainment, he argues that “the media has used the war as entertainment anyway,” and that “the war has turned into entertainment, with viewers more interested in visuals” than understanding the complex terms of the conflict.

“The hypocrisy is in the fact that when the media wants a ‘shock horror’ story they will focus on something like this,” adds McNab.

“In Afghanistan last year, in those last few months of Basra, and lads there have got their laptops and they are playing games on their laptops in their free time…The people who are fighting these wars are playing these games.”

Insurgents and civilians?

For a truly in-depth ‘game-amentary’ surely, some critics argue, we should show the point of view of the numerous groups involved in conflicts?

“Maybe we should show the civilian or the insurgents’ side of it, sure,” notes McNab, adding, at the same time, “the media doesn’t do that in covering the real conflicts!”

In McNab’s opinion, it really comes down to the cultural differences and the depth of feeling and understand about what Fallujah meant to Americans.

“In Fallujah the Americans lost more soldiers than the whole of the British Army has in Iraq and Afghanistan combined,” he says. “So Americans are aware of it… it is in their psyche… so if the game stands up and offers Americans those soldiers’ stories, then, why not?

“In America a 90 year old and a 12 year old will know what happened at Fallujah. Its on the TV, there are books about it… so the game is a natural extension to that.. it is folklore. The only difference being that it is presented in a different medium.”

Source: Techradar

2009
05.04

Wow, great news for the fans!! Lots more books coming: Three new Nick Stones, two non-fiction titles and two novels that will lack Stone, but probably still have balls (xcuse my French). And there’s more…

Transworld majors in McNab and McKenna
03.04.09

Transworld publisher Bill Scott-Kerr is beefing up some big brands, after signing up former SAS man Andy McNab for seven new books, and five by hypnotist Paul McKenna.

The deal with McNab, done through agent Mark Lucas, is for three new Nick Stone thrillers, two non-fiction titles and two standalone novels. It comes on top of the two-book deal for a young adult adventure series by McNab for Random House Children’s Books also announced this week.

Scott-Kerr said: “We’re very keen to get him to broaden the brand. We are always looking to capitalise on his unique real-life experiences.”

McNab’s busy schedule will see Spoken From the Front, an oral history of the Afghan war, appearing in October and also available as a download to mobile phones through McNab’s company Gospoken.

Meanwhile, the author is to co-write with thriller writer Liz Rigby* two standalone novels which Scott-Kerr described as “more ensemble pieces” than the Nick Stone thrillers. The first novel will be published in summer 2010. An outline has been optioned by the BBC for a Sunday evening TV drama.

Go here to read the full article

Awesome news, the next few years we won’t be disappointed. Or I might be… in case this post ever catches Andy’s eyes….after all these years Nick Stone has never been to Amsterdam!! It’s about time I’d say. I mean… it’s not like there’s no story to tell about our city-of-the-morally-depraved!! :-p  And why do I mention? I hear McNab explores the cities he writes about and boy, do I like another interview…. after all.. I will hold him to the ‘see you next year’! 😉