A scripted TV series inspired by the film Act Of Valor is set to air on the National Geographic Channel. The series starts production in 2014 and will focus on the men and women responsible for the rescue and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments.
Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh says, "(The) unique model allows us to successfully transform a film such as Act of Valor into a highly engaging television series. We could not ask for a better home for the series than National Geographic Channel."
The 2012 movie starred Roselyn Sanchez, Alex Veadov, Jason Cottle and Nester Serrano as a Special Warfare Combatant-craft crew who embark on a mission to rescue a kidnapped CIA agent.
On the weekend of February 24, the action-thriller Act of Valor, starring real-life active-duty Navy SEALs, defied the predictions of many pundits (and the verdicts of most critics) to handily win the box-office crown. In an exclusive interview with Hollywood.com, Act of Valor directors Scott Waugh and Mike "Mouse" McCoy reflected on their success, cleared up persistent speculation about the soldiers’ participation in the project, and talked about their ambitious plans to "bring back the live-action film":
There were a lot of people who doubted whether the concept of casting real-life SEALs would work in a feature-length film, but obviously audiences have embraced it. Do you feel a sense of vindication at its box-office success?
Mike "Mouse" McCoy: We’re just really humbled overall, and mostly we’re really thankful that the men and women in uniform and veterans that have seen the movie are really embracing it, and are really thankful that they were properly represented. The comments that we’re getting from men and women in uniform are pretty amazing to us.
Have you talked at all with the soldiers who starred in the film since it debuted? Are they rock stars at home or what?
Scott Waugh: We’ve become very close friends with all of them. They’re back doing what they do: They’re active-duty Navy SEALs. One guy just got deployed, another guy’s on work-ups, and they’re all back to work. They really kinda giggle when people say, “Oh, they’re probably Hollywood celebrities now.” No they’re not. They’re doing what they do, and they’re still very quiet about it.
That’s pretty impressive. There's no way I could go back to my day job after starring in a blockbuster.
Waugh: Well, that’s the reason Mouse and I wanted these eight SEALs in particular. They’re very confident, competent men, and they weren’t seeking the straight-to-Hollywood program. They’re Navy SEALs to the core.
There have been some hints (most notably in The Huffington Post) that the soldiers’ participation in Act of Valor wasn’t entirely voluntary. Can you comment on those allegations?
McCoy: That’s absolutely false. All of the guys volunteered to do the film, 100%.
But you did partner with the U.S. military in making the film, right?
Waugh: Well, they provided access for us, yes. They let us really get immersed in their culture and find out what it was all about, and they definitely gave us access to current training evolutions.
McCoy: But it’s important to note that we had full story control on this film. The military just had a scrub on what they call technique, tactic and procedure, to make sure we’re not giving away anything classified or showing anyone how to do something, but we had complete control of the story.
You guys started on this film over four years ago. What impact did the Navy SEALs’ capture of Osama bin Laden have on the project? Do you think it helped raise its profile?
McCoy: The film was already finished and in the can [when bin Laden was captured]. We had already tested it – it was testing really well – and we were really just trying to figure out our distribution strategy.
Waugh: We actually pulled the film down when the bin Laden incident happened. We went dark for over a month. We did not want the film to take recognition from that event; the guys deserved it. We did not want to be a part of that. It was kind of counter-intuitive to everyone who was saying, “This is the time to sell your movie!” We were like, “No, it’s not.”
McCoy: We were not going to be exploitive of the community at all. But to answer your question: Yeah, it absolutely helped. We had a saying early on: We don’t have stars in our movie; we just have heroes. After [bin Laden’s capture], I think people really started to wake up to the amazing things they’ve been doing for our country for a long time.
Waugh: Or at least Hollywood did.
That’s interesting, because we recently saw news that both a Top Gun sequel and a Navy SEALs project starring Mark Wahlberg are moving forward. I can’t believe the timing’s a coincidence. Do you think that Act of Valor has helped trigger perhaps a renewed interest in pro-military films?
McCoy: Well, we’ve been hearing so much positive feedback from audiences across the board. And what that’s telling us is that audiences want films that are patriotic, that recognize the value of a servicemen overall. So I definitely think this film is going to prove that there’s a market for pro-American films.
One of the distinguishing features of Act of Valor is its lack of CGI. Do you feel that there’s been an overabundance of CGI in recent years?
McCoy: Without question. Just for ourselves as consumers, there’s not many action films we want to watch, because they’re just CGI mash-ups. They’re all fake; they don’t respect mechanical physics at all, and I don’t know if I’m supposed to process most modern movies as animation or as live-action. I’m confused … What we’re trying to do overall is bring back the live-action film. [Act of Valor] is all in-camera, all the stunts are real, there’s no CGI in the movie, and we want to bring back that classic live-action in-camera movie.
You guys have Black Sands lined up as your next project, right?
Waugh: Yeah, we’re slowly gearing up for that. That’s with Arnold. Not a whole lot to tell you about it except that it’s a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mouse and I are directing it.
McCoy: Arnold’s a really great man, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to work with him.
Waugh: He created the action-hero genre, and it’s awesome that we might get the opportunity to bring him back.
Act of Valor stars Emilio Rivera, Roselyn Sanchez, Alex Veadov, and Nestor Serrano. It is now playing in theaters nationwide.
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February 24, 2012 5:29am EST
I attended a screening of Relativity Media and Bandito Brothers action adventure Act of Valor a couple weeks ago in the movie theater on the Intrepid aircraft carrier in the harbour in Manhattan thanks to a invite from one of the executive producers. Obviously this was the perfect venue to see a film that stars real active duty Navy SEALs. Act of Valor is a powerful and uniquely authentic action film -- real Navy Seals play most of the key parts using real ammo (first time this has been done in the last 100 years in Hollywood) with real military weaponry and equipment. Even the aviators who were involved in the film as well as the personnel in submarines are all real military members and you literally feel the realism.
No need for special effects in Act of Valor when the reality is much better; the action sequences will have you pushing back in your seat like being in the front row of a awesome roller coaster ride. The best scene in the film - when the Seals ascend onto a moving ocean-going yacht and interrogate a drug dealer-terrorist makes you feel like you’re in the scene watching from two feet away -- amazing filmmaking with great intensity enhanced by the fact that the interrogator is an actual SEALs operative.
If you like action films you’ll love Act of Valor because it breaks new ground in filmmaking by virtue of its use of non-actors in key roles. Some critics may say the dramatic scenes lack emotion because more professional actors were not used but this is just not the case. This is the real deal and as such adds an emotional depth and intensity that is impossible to fake on the big screen.
Just ask anyone who attended the special screening on the Intrepid. At the conclusion of the film there was a long standing ovation and then the audience heard from many of the SEALs in person explaining why they participated and acted in the film. These guys are true American heroes and you’ll love watching them in action in Act of Valor a valiant story of mission commitment combat weaponry and most importantly valor and brotherhood. While most movies star actors who merely portray heroes on screen Act of Valor stars actual heroes showing how they lay it on the line for the freedoms that we as civilians enjoy every day. You’re going to enjoy the ride.
Arriving in theaters nationwide this Friday is Act of Valor, a novel action-thriller which pits real-life Navy SEALS against fictional terrorists. (The opposite to me seems more appealing, but I imagine the insurance costs would be prohibitive -- not to mention the complaints from Homeland Security.) I have no idea whether any of these Navy fellows can act, but, as the following red-band, NSFW featurette from the film attests, their marksmanship is absolutely top-notch. If you are of appropriate age, take a gander at the abundant headshots that await in Act of Valor:
More Act of Valor Videos
Act of Valor stars Emilio Rivera, Roselyn Sanchez, Alex Veadov, and Nestor Serrano, and is directed by Scott Waugh.
Click on the image below for more badass Act of Valor pics:
It’s 1988 Brooklyn and the rampant underground violence is about to come to the surface and strike one family especially hard: the Grusinskys. We Own the Night opens with a shot of the black-sheep Grusinsky Bobby (Joaquin Phoenix)—who has changed his last name to Green to hide his lineage—and his Puerto Rican girlfriend Amada (Eva Mendes) in a private room and a very private embrace. When Bobby exits the room and enters the nightclub he manages it seems as though he owns the night; the phrase however was coined by NYPD's finest—like Bobby’s brother Joseph (Mark Wahlberg) and deputy-chief dad Burt (Robert Duvall). The law-enforcing Grusinskys clearly don’t get along with Bobby who spurned the family tradition of police duty for the fast life but that all changes with the firing of a gun. While standing just outside his apartment Joseph gets shot and nearly killed in a drive-by and the shooters are related to the owner of Bobby’s nightclub. Suddenly Bobby feels guilty by association and not long thereafter he is ready to switch teams for the sake of his family. But partnering up with the cops means ratting out his former allies and it’s a move that puts everybody he loves—not to mention himself—in the direct line of fire. There are definitely great actors in We Own the Night but of the slightly underperforming variety. Phoenix has established himself as the consummate actor’s actor of his generation and he’s certainly more than able-bodied as Bobby the emotionally and physically battered centerpiece of the story. But it’s far from his best work like his point-of-no-return transformation we saw in Walk the Line or we’ll see shortly in his Oscar-baiting Reservation Road role. His middling performance however is most other actors’ career peak so yes Phoenix is still very much watchable. Wahlberg makes this role look like one he accepted prior to the fervor (and Oscar nod) that followed The Departed—in which he also played a cop—because he’s not on screen all that much and when he is his trademark testosterone injection is noticeably absent. The movie’s resident living legend Duvall is effectively curt as a hardworking proud Brooklyn cop/father. But when the role calls for some physicality well let's just say the aging actor would've benefited from more stuntmen and aerial shots. And Mendes the only actress with a real part in the movie will be blogged-about much more for her opening nude scene (which appears tragically to involve a breast double) than her secondary role. In many ways We Own the Night is a lite version of our favorite urban cop dramas—or maybe it’s just that writer-director James Gray is a Martin Scorsese lite. More specifically Gray’s movie seems to yearn for The Departed-like heights. To Gray’s credit his story is not totally dissimilar to that of Scorsese’s Oscar winner and the action is intoxicating. But his homegrown tale which reunites his leads (Phoenix and Wahlberg) and NYC melodrama from 2000’s The Yards has nothing on Scorsese’s heart-pounding Departed buildup and there’s just one major scene of action of which to speak. Perhaps uncoincidentally it’s also the only time Gray displays true originality: On a rainy highway Phoenix’s Bobby is chasing the bad guys in his car as they chase his dad in their car with the windshield wipers pulsating in accordance with the action. It’s great breakneck fun; it’s the only real fun. Aside from that scene Gray’s efforts fall into a vast pile of nondescript mediocrity—never terrible or stimulating.