68 Whiskey: U.S. Marine Veteran Chris Van Etten talks working on military drama

Hidden Remote recently got the opportunity to speak with United States Veteran Chris Van Etten where we discussed his upcoming role on 68 Whiskey, as well as his past in the armed forces.

While the 68 Whiskey cast is comprised mostly of actors who portray fictional soldiers for television, they’ve recently added a real United States Veteran to their ranks: Chris Van Etten.

In Episode 4, Van Etten joins the cast as another soldier in need of serious medical attention. We can’t reveal much about what happens, but let’s just say Van Etten’s character shares quite a few similarities with the actor himself.

To clarify, Chris Van Etten is both a United States Veteran and a double-amputee. Van Etten enlisted in the Marine Corps back in 2009 and remained on active duty until the midway point of 2012. Van Etten’s time on the battlefield only came to an abrupt halt after he was severely injured by an IED (improvised explosive device), causing him to lose both of his legs.

Fortunately, Van Etten hasn’t been deterred by the incident. He’s currently an aspiring actor, model, and motivational speaker with big dreams for the future. Van Etten also has a very personal reason for pursuing an acting career, which he spoke about during our interview.

For more on Van Etten, you can check out the first half of our two-part interview below. Part two will be released Thursday following the debut of “Trouble In River City”.

Hidden Remote: Beyond the physical similarities, how much of your 68 Whiskey character is based on you as a person?

Chris Van Etten: I would say a fair bit. I don’t want to get into too much detail because of spoilers, but there are a few things that I personally went through as well. I was going through something similar with my own wife when this was pitched to me and I instantly felt connected to the role when I read for it.

68 Whiskey

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – OCTOBER 10: Chris Van Etten attends the Men’s Fitness Game Changers Celebration at Sunset Tower Hotel on October 10, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

HR: My next question is a bit personal but I thought it necessary to ask. What motivated you to keep going after you lost your legs because a lot of people in the same situation would give up on life?

Van Etten: I think a lot of people would give up. What motivated me not to go down that path is, eventually, you realize being miserable doesn’t get you anywhere.

HR: Okay, I don’t know how much creative control you had over your character’s role, but would you have added anything else to what was shown in the final cut?

Van Etten: I don’t think so. I think the producers and the director did a great job portraying the character in the way he needed to be. So no, I wouldn’t change a thing.

HR: Overall, are you content with how your story was shared on 68 Whiskey?

Van Etten:  I’m extremely pleased with how Louisville came out, and how we were able to portray him. I don’t think anything could’ve been done differently to portray a soldier in that position. Someone who has unfinished business and is essentially relying on people he doesn’t really know to finish that business for him.

Next: 68 Whiskey: Interview with Nicholas Coombe

Fans interested in what’s in store for Van Etten’s character can check him out when Episode 4 of 68 Whiskey airs on Paramount Network.

68 Whiskey airs Wednesdays on Paramount Network.