Max Thieriot on Fire Country season 2, Vancouver and directing | Interview

by Guest
Max Thieriot in Fire Country

Story by: Scott Campbell

Max Thieriot is excited for more Fire Country stories to tell. As the second season wraps up, the Global series is guaranteed to film a third. 

“In my head certainly, I think all these characters have a really big arc ahead of them,” said Thieriot. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m also just really excited and proud of our whole crew and the whole team. It’s a huge group; I say family accomplishment, to get this far.”

Thieriot is co-creator, executive producer and, of course, lead of the show as Bode, the prison inmate who joins a firefighting program with hopes of redemption and a reduced sentence. Thieriot grew up in Northern California, with inspiration drawn from the real-life Cal Fire program.   

While firefighter shows have expanded on television, Thieriot says he wanted to tell these Fire Country stories for many reasons, like seeing the more rural, outdoor visuals of nature, the scope, and beauty.  

“It is nice,” he said, “to see different groups of people coming together with one goal and one purpose and work as one team. I think that positive message is something everyone can use a little more of.” 

“Overall, it’s a really great story of just redemption. How a lot of people can go through a lot of things and just overcome these obstacles in life…”

“I think it’s good to show the good, the bad, the ugly, and the highs and lows that are involved in doing one of these [firefighting] jobs… it’s important to shed a light on their own personal problems and the struggles… and we would be doing it a disservice if we didn’t shed a light on that and try and help some of these people along the way.”

Vancouver

Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer behind recent movies like Top Gun: Maverick and Pirates of the Caribbean, has been in the TV world with shows like CSI and The Amazing Race, and he’s a producer for Fire Country.

“I mean it’s pretty crazy,” said Thieriot. “Obviously, I watched a lot of Jerry’s movies for many years. He’s certainly an icon and legend in the industry. To have him and his entire team a part of the process and part of show, they know how to make a good product.” 

Fire Country features a Canadian angle, too. The firefighters may be “Cal Fire” in the show, but the production films in the Vancouver area. A spot Thieriot is familiar with, as he shot Bates Motel in the area for five years before SEAL Team.

With Freddie Highmore’s show The Good Doctor ending, could the Bates Motel alum ever appear? 

“I would love to see Freddie in the Fire Country world somewhere,” said Thieriot. “I would die, to have that be something that happens down the road, for sure.”

As for Vancouver, he loves the city.

“Honestly, I’m such an outdoorsy dude… There’s a lot of places I haven’t been that I want to go, like up in northern B.C. and the Northwest Territories. I want to see a lot of stuff because I love being outside, and away from people in the middle of nowhere. We also have a couple of firefighters who work on our show, who are from Canada”.  

“Canada goes through more than their fair share of fires. I know last year was wild and very difficult. A lot of those guys who had long careers as firefighters went up to fight those fires, especially because they needed the resources. Certainly, something that has been in a lot of people’s minds these days. But Canada has been wonderful.” 

Director

With all of the hats that Thieriot wears for the series, he has worn the director hat for one episode each season, too.

Directing an episode is a solid three-week, locked-in journey, said Thieriot. A pre-prep process starts a week or two earlier, then about seven to eight days of regular directing prep, plus another eight days directing, and another four days of editing after.

“As an actor you can come in and do your episode in eight days,” he said. “And you are there and you are done. They are always eight days. Acting and directing it ends up being a lot.”

“By the time we get to set, I know every tiny detail of the episode inside and out… the acting really becomes second nature,” he said. “I lay in bed at night thinking about shots and scenes and set ups. It’s consuming for sure.”

“There will be more Max the Director,” he said. “People have asked if I want to do multiple episodes in a season. My heart says, “Yeah, I would love to,’ but my body and my being a husband and a father tell me I need to cut it at one. It takes a lot out of me.”

Fire Country airs Fridays at 9 PM (ET) on Global and STACKTV, with the finale on Friday, May 17. In the U.S. watch the series on CBS.

“I’m lucky to get to work with such a wonderful group of people,” said Thieriot. “It makes every morning fun, getting up, and going in there, and seeing all of them and getting after it.” 

Image courtesy of Global TV.

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