Remember the movie Navy SEALs with Charlie Sheen and Michael Biehn? It was from director Lewis Teague who, just a year prior, was late to the buddy-cop party when he made Collision Course with Pat Morita and Jay Leno. Navy SEALs became a running punchline thanks to Kevin Smith and his comedy Clerks. That’s probably how it gained an audience on video – by being the “most intellectually devoid movie” on the rack.
The reason I bring this up is because Navy SEALs are all of sudden hot again. All it took was a few bullets in the head of the world’s most wanted terrorist to make it happen. Now it’s okay to sing “In the Navy” and not feel foolish. Okay, maybe not. Ever since Navy SEAL Team 6 stormed Osama Bin Laden’s compound a few weeks back and shot him in the head before he could grab his stash of porn or update his Facebook page, SEALs have been the talk of Hollywood.
Kathryn Bigelow’s already-in-development film Kill Bin Laden got a boost in visibility, making it a hot project that every studio covets. At least Disney had the decency to wait two days before trying to trademark the phrase “SEAL Team 6.”
Now there’s word that another SEAL-related project has gotten a boost. Lone Survivor, based on the non-fiction book by author Marcus Luttrell, will be Peter Berg’s second of a two-picture deal between him and Universal. Berg has a long relationship with the studio dating as far back as 2003 with the release of The Rundown starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Other films made that Universal has distributed include Friday Night Lights (2004), The Kingdom (2007), and the upcoming summer tentpole Battleship (2012).
The book Lone Survivor tells the story of former SEAL Luttrell and three squad mates who were sent into the Kush mountain region of Afghanistan to assassinate a Taliban leader in 2005, only to be ambushed, and forced to fight for their lives.
By that synopsis alone we could get a cross between Restrepo and Black Hawk Down. Berg will no doubt be freewheeling when it comes to using a camera tripod. Lucky for him he works with someone who has a steadier hand than Paul Greengrass.
In talking with Deadline, Berg offered these remarks regarding the renewed interest in Lone Survivor: “They leaned right into it with me. Bin Laden’s death has cleared the way for this, a movie that will be an unapologetically patriotic film that honors and pays homage to an incredible group of badass guys who do this. The film will be a bit like Black Hawk Down, but it will focus on the quartet, which is fewer guys than that film.”
Berg has already cast one of the quartet of soldiers, that of Taylor Kitsch, who he discovered when he developed Friday Night Lights as a one-hour scripted drama series for NBC. By the time Lone Survivor arrives in theaters, anybody who watches film on a regular basis should know his name, or at the very least his face. He will have headlined Battleship and Disney’s John Carter of Mars and will share top billing with Aaron Johnson and Blake Lively in Oliver Stone’s Savages.
Production is slated to begin in January.
Tags: Friday Night Lights, Navy Seals, Peter Berg, Taylor Kitsch