California native Seychelle Gabriel has been working in TV and film for over a decade, and jumped at the chance to work with Chris Pratt and an ensemble cast in The Tomorrow War which was scheduled to be released in theaters last year. As with everything else, the movie’s release date was pushed a full year and is now available on Amazon Prime Video. The alien sci-fi film has already been viewed by over 2.4 million U.S. households since its debut on July 2.
Gabriel stars as Sgt. Diaz, an AR-15 carrying soldier tasked with training civilians on how to fight an invading alien species. I spoke with the actress about strutting her stuff alongside seasoned military personnel and how working with an ensemble cast inspires her.
Do you have any Texas connections?
Actually, since the late 19th century, my family has been in West Texas, near Abilene. That is where I get my Latina roots – my family is European and Mexican. I don’t speak Spanish fluently, but I really want to. I guess I am sort of like Selena in that way.
How did you become involved in The Tomorrow War?
I get auditions from my reps, and I will take a look at it to see if I am interested. For this one I had enough time to read the script because it came in over a weekend. Sometimes with action scripts it is a little different because I am not drawn to them as an audience member. It is fun as an actor, but when I get the scripts, I always wonder if I am going feel hooked by the plot. This one very much genuinely did, because I thought the time travel element was really cool and really original.
Do you like acting in action movies?
I do. As a person who has only worked on TV and film I don’t place as much emphasis on body work like stage actors do. Action movies force you to use your body more, and it was huge for this role because I was a sergeant. All of my cast mates are gym rats, and I am a yoga person, so this movie made me connect with my own strength which I liked about working on this project.
What kind of special training did you have to do for The Tomorrow War?
I never shot a gun before this movie, which is funny because in the movie, I am actually teaching people how to use guns. The training was really cool – we learned from these amazing military supervisors who had a lot of experience under their belts. We started off with walking drills with the guns. We learned how to enter a room and flank each other and gun etiquette.
From not having shot a gun before to shooting a gun that is that powerful is really an experience. I never felt like I was in a dangerous situation, and I am grateful I had people around me who knew what they were doing. It was very much a mental thing to work with a gun that large even though I was only shooting blanks. The force and impact of those guns were very evident to me.
What did you enjoy most while working on this movie?
My favorite part was sort of a combination of the ensemble cast and the military parts of the film. We had to trust each other. The team aspect was really rewarding, and I felt empowered by the strength I was building amongst the team and what we all brought to our roles.
What do you think audiences are going to enjoy about this movie?
I think audiences are going to enjoy what I enjoyed about it at first – it is such a crazy idea to time travel to fight aliens. It is a form of escapism, and I think it will have people wondering what it would be like to actually be in that situation.