When the members of the cast of FOX’s new comedic drama TV show “Enlisted” began filming, they did not know all the intricacies and practices of military protocol.
This led to some mistakes that can be seen in the first episode regarding posture and attitude unbecoming of U.S. soldiers.
This was quickly addressed and cast members Angelique Cabral, Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell and Parker Young were “strongly suggested” they make a trip to boot camp to get a taste of the real deal.
“We were not told the extent of boot camp,” said actress Cabral, who plays hard-as-nails Sergeant Jill Perez.
Along with veteran actor Keith David, the four actors travelled to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, for a little army basic training — and boy did they get it.
“We were told we would have down time so I packed clothes and makeup,” Cabral told Fox News Latino, adding it was the complete opposite. “When we got there, they confiscated our contraband which was everything — cell phones, computers, cameras.”
“It was completely overwhelming, the scariest feeling,” she continued. “It really gave us the real taste. When you do something like this, it’s never leaving you.”
“Enlisted” is a heartfelt comedy about three brothers – Stults, Lowell and Young – serving in the Rear Detachment (Rear D) unit, comprised of the soldiers who stay home and take care of things stateside.
“The show is amazing. I have so much love for it,” said Cabral, who described her character as as a woman in a man’s world that works twice as hard to prove herself. “She gets everything right, on point. Always the best shot and kind of a jerk about it.”
She said the work at the Rear D unit is very important because they make sure things are working smoothly and families are safe while the soldiers are deployed.
“In the army, it’s all about the team. You don’t reflect on you,” Cabral said, something the cast really understood while completing boot camp.
The cast’s days at Fort Bliss were well documented in several webisodes, showing them go through pretty much everything that a recently-enlisted solider goes through — including midnight checks of their rooms that they all apparently failed. They were stripped of everything that resembled Hollywood.
“I remember Geoff saying: ‘It’s just an act.’ It was not an act,” the 34-year-old actress said. “I thought ‘we are literally doing this.’”
She continued: “I felt so vulnerable.”
One big moment during their stay in Texas, which lasted several days, was doing an obstacle course that included a 45-foot climb over a wall.
In a webisode, Cabral can be seen struggling to make it over the hurdle and she turns to co-star Stults to essentially say her good-bye.
“I told him ‘I don’t think I can make it to the set on Monday,’” she recalled with a laugh. “It was a nightmare.”
But with a little – or a lot – of encouragement from her co-stars and the rest of the team helping them out at Fort Bliss, Cabral pulled it together to overcome the wall and the rest of the obstacles thrown her way.
The experience of boot camp, she said, united them as a cast and as a family and in the end made the show all that much better.
“We took it very seriously,” Cabral said. “It will change everything about (the show).”
A highlight from their time in boot camp was getting to meet a team of soldiers being deployed just weeks later. The actress said it was a humbling experience.
“And so real and so hard,” she continued. “They guys were so young. If nothing else, we were going to get it right for them.”
“We want people to know that we really care,” Cabral said. “It’s a great show with great dynamics. There is nothing like it out there.”
“Enlisted” premieres on FOX at 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 10.
Lucia I. Suarez Sang is the Entertainment Editor for Fox News Latino. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang