CIA operative Nathan Muir (Redford) is on the brink of retirement when he finds out that his protege Tom Bishop (Pitt) has been arrested in China for espionage. No stranger to the machinations of the CIA’s top echelon, Muir hones all his skills and irreverent manner in order to find a way to free Bishop. As he embarks on his mission to free Bishop, Muir recalls how he recruited and trained the young rookie, at that time a sergeant in Vietnam, their turbulent times together as operatives and the woman who threatened their friendship.
It was a thrill to be linked with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt in this big-budget CIA story. However, that linkage extended only to the credit crawl at the end of the film. I never saw either star during my brief stint as a Navy Special Operations officer somewhere in southwest Asia. In the final edit, I’m supposed to be talking on the phone with Redford who gives me orders to launch my team of SEALS on a mission to rescue Brad Pitt. Even that was a bust. The phone was dead and I was taking off-stage direction from Tony Scott.
When the call came offering me the role of Commander Wiley, I was in London working on Band of Brothers. Fortunately, the dates they intended to shoot fell in with a hiatus we were taking the production of that monster series for HBO. I signed up and spent an interesting week in Budapest, Hungary before returning to London.