A.J. Buckley, Max Thieriot, David Boreanaz, Toni Trucks and Neil Brown Jr. Cast of “SEAL Team.” Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SCAD aTVfest 2019.

The cast of CBS’s military drama “SEAL Team” was at SCAD aTVfest on Saturday, Feb. 9, to attend a live screening of the show and participate in a Q&A afterward. Star David Boreanaz was also the recipient of the first-ever Maverick Award, celebrating his 20 plus years contributing to the TV industry. The Connector met with actors’ Boreanaz, Max Thieriot, Toni Trucks and A.J. Buckley to discuss their careers, revealing embarrassingly cute anecdotes along the way.

Can you briefly introduce your roles and talk a little bit about your characters?

Boreanaz: I’m David Boreanaz. I play Jason Hayes on the show “SEAL Team.” I portray a tier-one operator who is very much conflicted at home. Works on a show that’s part of a work play show, so happened to be these tier-one operators. And I balance my life with my brothers and try to assimilate what is life and it’s difficult.

Thieriot: My name is Max Thieriot. I play Clay Spencer on “SEAL Team.” Clay is a new guy on the team. He’s a little bit of a loose cannon at times. He makes some good calls and he makes some questionable calls. He’s back. He’s back. He’s got a lot to learn, but he’s got this group of brothers around him that he’s really learning a lot from, and kind of growing as a result.

Trucks: I’m Toni Trucks. I play the role of Petty Officer Lisa Davis, and I’m the logistics coordinator for the show … for the team rather, so I provide support for the team, technical and otherwise.

Buckley: I’m David Boreanaz, and I play Jason Hayes … . All right, you got me. I’m A.J. Buckley, and I play Sonny Quinn.

How did you prepare for your military roles? 

Boreanaz:I think it’s relative to whatever role you’re playing. Just do it to the best you can, and be humble by it. Especially with roles like this, the people that help us along the way are veterans and are brothers. We become friends. They guide us through those types of things.

Thieriot:We work closely with the military community. We employ many veterans on the show. Some of our producers and staff are former Special Forces. So, to maintain that authenticity, we work with these guys to make sure everything looks right. All the movements are right. We do a lot of gun training. We do just a lot of things to get the mannerisms all right to look authentic.

Trucks: I was coming into the show having no practical experience. None of my immediate family were in the service. I had a brother that served in the Coast Guard, but other than that, it was a learning curve for me. I was very excited to dive in and tell these stories that I don’t think are really exposed, in this way that often.

Buckley: To be honest, this was a world that was so foreign to me. I didn’t actually ever really shoot a gun before, prior to this. And my character is from Texas. I carry all the big guns, and I’m the knuckle-dragger of the team, so it was like this big new world of fun. I got to hang out with the [military] guys and understand.

To be honest, it terrified me. I mean, it still does with some of the guns that we shoot. But truthfully, what blows me away is we’re on a movie set, and they call ‘action’ and ‘cut’ and there’re fake bullets flying. I have no idea how these guys can go into battle, carry this 50-pound gun, fire it and complete it. I could never do that.

Trucks:And you can’t call cut.

Buckley:There’s no cut. It’s like real people are dying around you, and to be able to stay that calm and complete a task is something that I could never do.

I think talking about perceived failures early on in your career is important, especially for students trying to break into the TV industry.

Boreanaz: Agreed.

A lot of people struggle before they make it into the industry. What’s a story you have of when you were at your lowest, before you made it big? What was your hardest moment starting out?

Trucks:How long do you want to stand here? I think one of the big things is that I would encourage people not to think about anything as a failure. That may sound sort of cliché, but I can track all the things that people would quintessentially say is a failure, and track them to a later success. 

I was a babysitter for years. I remember when I first got to Los Angeles, I auditioned for “Dreamgirls” and ended up getting a cameo in the film with Eddie Murphy. I was very excited. I was working with Bill Condon. On my birthday, I was invited to see a screening, and on the way to the screening I got a phone call from the casting director who said, “They cut you out of the movie yesterday.”

I’d never had that experience. I remember pulling over in my Honda Civic on Sunset Boulevard, just crying and crying and crying, because I just never had that experience. I was a musical theater major growing up, so being a part of a movie musical was so exiting. So, that was devastating. They ended up putting the scene on the DVD, but still I was sad. 

Well, cut to, I think it was six years later, Condon was like, “Hey, I owe you one,” and I was in “Twilight” with him.

At least you got that connection.

Trucks: Yep, got a beautiful connection and was able to do a subsequent film because we remembered each other and it was something that wouldn’t have been possible without that first experience.

Buckley: I lived out of my car for a year and a half. Literally in my car, I had a suitcase in the back, washed my laundry at a coin laundry, went to a gym that they thought I was continuing to pay my membership, but I just knew the guy, so he never asked for my I.D. I showered there. The day I booked “C.S.I. New York” changed my life completely. I have it framed in my office, I had $32.95 in my bank account. And I signed a seven-year deal with them, so it was great.

Thieriot: I grew up in a town with a little over a thousand people in it. One of my first auditions was for a Jolly Green Giant commercial. It was a family situation where everybody was eating beans or something. They sort of throw you in there with these random actors, and I was really overwhelmed already because there’s a bajillion kids and I’m like, “Oh my gosh. What have I gotten myself into?” 

I go in and the guy comes over to me and says, “listen.” He’s trying to give me advice on what I have to do. This is what we’re doing. He’s trying to psych me up. And, I don’t know, the guy rubbed me the wrong way. I was 12 years old. I went into the room and botched the whole thing for everybody. When he sat down at the table, he said, “Son, how was football practice?” I said, “I don’t even play football.”

He looked at me and he was so confused. And none of the actors knew what to say. I ruined the whole thing. It was terrible. That’s the last commercial audition I went on.

Actor David Boreanaz attends the SEAL Team press junket during SCAD aTVfest 2019. Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for SCAD aTVfest 2019.

Boreanaz: Oh my god. My embarrassment of riches is through my life. I had to go do this audition for a gum commercial. You had to watch this video and they teach you how to put the gum in your mouth. It’s a technique. It’s gum-bending video. They show you how do it before you actually do the commercial audition.

And the girl I was seeing, she just broke up with me a day before. So, I showed up at the audition. Guess who happens to be there? It’s the girl who broke up with me and broke my heart. So she’s like, “Do you want to just pair up for this?” I’m like, “Oh, that’s a disaster.”

She was also an actress, trying out for the role?

Boreanaz: Well yeah, it’s an audition, and she was also an actress. She just happened to be there at the same casting call. So, can you just imagine the shame and embarrassment. Not only could I not get the gum out of the package, I was shaking a lot. Because you have to put the gum in your mouth and kiss the partner. It was so brutal. The flames were coming off my back. It was the most embarrassing. Because I really liked this girl, I was like, “You broke up with me [crying voice] 

Thieriot: And then afterwards she was like, “See you. Thanks?”

 Boreanaz: I couldn’t put the gum in my mouth … I thought if there was any kind of hope of maybe getting back together, that just went out the door.

“SEAL Team” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBS.