Marcus Luttrell, the former U.S. Navy SEAL whose heroics inspired Mark Wahlberg's new movie Lone Survivor, has heaped praise on one of the film's stars, insisting he has what it takes to become a real-life war hero. Wahlberg portrays Luttrell in the film, based on his book about the failed 2005 Operation Red Wings mission to capture Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd, but it wasn't The Fighter star who impressed the real-life combat survivor the most - it was actor Ben Foster.
Luttrell tells WENN that the 3:10 to Yuma star's dedication and intensity really left a mark on him.
He explains, "(Director) Peter (Berg) picked Mark Wahlberg to play me and I didn't have a problem with that because when it came down to it, he's the professional at what he does. It's like telling a heart surgeon how to work on your heart.
"But Ben Foster was the guy that I really gravitated towards. He's probably one of the best actors in Hollywood and nothing against Taylor (Kitsch) and Emile (Hirsch); I love those guys like brothers for what they did, but there's something about Foster and his portrayal of Matt Axelson; that's him when you see him on the screen. He's just like Ben Foster, real quiet but when he threw his kit on and grabbed a rifle he was the most lethal man you've ever met.
"Ben, with all his talent, had attention to detail which really does mean something in the SEALs. He captured that and was always asking those questions. When we got done filming, if we got into a scrape and something went down, I could throw Ben a rifle and he'd go to work.
"When we put a live weapon in his hand, shooting at a target at 25 metres and I challenged him to hit it at 700 metres... When we got done he was shooting targets at 800 metres."
And Wahlberg admits he had to fight to get Foster in the film, giving up part of his salary so Berg could hire the actor to portray the heroic Navy SEAL who died in combat.
He tells Entertainment Weekly magazine, "I was with the Axelson family and I said, 'If you think people know who your son is now, just wait. Ben Foster just brought your boy back to life'."
Mark Wahlberg has blasted pampered actors who compare shooting war films to fighting in real combat zones, insisting they have no idea how difficult life in the armed forces really is. The actor is on the promotional trail for his new film Lone Survivor, the big screen adaptation of soldier Marcus Luttrell's account of his Navy SEALs mission in Afghanistan in 2005.
Wahlberg plays Luttrell, while Taylor Kitsch, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster play his comrades, but The Fighter star is adamant their experiences on set were nothing compared to the reality of being at war.
Speaking at the AFI Fest film festival in Los Angeles on Tuesday (12Oct13), he said, "For actors to sit there and talk about 'Oh, I went to SEAL training'? I don't give a f**k what you did. You don't do what these guys did. For somebody to sit there and say my job was as difficult as being in the military? How f**king dare you, while you sit in a make-up chair for two hours.
"I don't give a s**t if you get your a** busted. You get to go home at the end of the day. You get to go to your hotel room. You get to order your f**king chicken. Whatever the f**k it is... I've done the movies where I talk about...'God, I trained for four and a half years and I was The Fighter' and f**k all that. It really means nothing. I love Marcus (Luttrell) for what he's done and I'm a very lucky guy to do what I do and I'm proud to have been part of it, but it's just so much bigger than what I do."
Wahlberg later apologised for his rant, adding, "I'm sorry for losing my s**t."
With his nautical Transformers knockoff Battleship in the can and ready to hit theaters in May, director Peter Berg is busy lining up the pieces for his next project, Lone Survivor. Based on the memoir from Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor chronicles the harrowing true tale of a team of Navy SEALs who were ambushed by Taliban fighters while on a covert mission in Afghanistan's Hindu Kush in 2005.
Deadline.com reports that the project is ready to move forward with funding from Emmett/Furla Films, and that Berg is eyeing some pretty big names to star. Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, and Battleship star Taylor Kitsch are said to be in negotiations to play three of the film's four main characters, with Wahlberg up for the lead role of Luttrell.
Recent box-office results suggest audience interest in Lone Survivor could be significant. Relativity Media's action-thriller Act of Valor, featuring real-life Navy SEALs playing themselves, earned $24.5 million last weekend, according to Hollywood.com box-office guru Paul Dergarabedian, beating out all other new releases by a wide margin.
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Nearly every American film in recent years that was even remotely related to the war in the Middle East has failed, from Stop/Loss to In the Valley of Elah to Lions For Lambs and countless other titles in between. But the death of Osama Bin Laden has renewed interest in telling stories about our country's controversial campaign overseas, and just like that a handful of topical projects have become high-priorities in Hollywood. Chief amongst them is Kathryn Bigelow's buzzworthy film about the Navy SEAL team that took the high-ranking terrorist out, but director Peter Berg also has one in development based on a book called Lone Survivor, and Universal Pictures is on board.
Deadline reports that the film, which is based on Marcus Luttrell's novel that tells the story of how he and his Navy SEAL team members fought to stay alive after being ambushed in Afghanistan in 2005 by Taliban forces during a covert mission in the Hindu Kush mountain region, is now a hot property for the studio, though it's been a long time coming. Universal had originally made a deal with Berg to make the movie over two years ago, but there was a catch: he'd have to helm a major tent pole first. That big-budget project was Battleship, which began shooting in late August 2010 for a May 18th 2012 release. Now that that film is moving steadily along through its production schedule (it's currently in post-production and should make a stop at Comic-Con in July), Berg is ready to lay the groundwork for Love Survivor. He's even bringing his Battleship lead Taylor Kitsch along for the ride; the rising star is his top choice to play Lutrell (and also just trained with SEAL's for another new film, Oliver Stone's Savages).
"Bin Laden's death has cleared the way for this," said Berg, "a movie that will be an unapologetically patriotic film that honors and pays homage to an incredible group of badass guys who do this." He went on to compare the picture to Black Hawk Down in tone, though Lone Survivor will center on a quartet of soldiers rather than a whole squad. The filmmaker is incredibly passionate about the story, so much so that he spent a month in Afghanistan with a SEAL team so that he could accurately dramatize their heroic efforts. That kind of enthusiasm usually leads to a well-made, authentic film, so I'm all for Lone Survivor, even if the narrative will seem somewhat similar to Ridley Scott's action-packed 2001 film.
I equate this rush to produce Middle East war movies to the flux of WWII films from the late '40s and '50s. After the USA emerged victorious from the bloody battles in Europe and Asia, there was a surge in production on these types of films because national morale was so high. Every American wanted to see their heroic marines blast fascists to high hell on the big screen once the, ahem, mission was accomplished. Maybe the reason that audiences haven't yet taken to films about the current conflict overseas is because there hasn't been anything to celebrate. Now that there is, it's possible that could see war movie renaissance in Tinsel Town.
It's graduation day for Scotty (Scott Mechlowicz) but the celebration comes to an abrupt end when his girlfriend Fiona (Kristin Kreuk) dumps him by blatantly announcing she has been unfaithful to him--over and over again. At a graduation party that night Fiona makes her point by jumping on stage during rockers Lustra's performance of "Scotty Doesn't Know " which goes something like this: "Scotty doesn't know that Fiona and me do it in my van every Sunday..." Dumbfounded Scotty gets drunk and goes home to confide in his Berlin-based computer pen pal Mieke (Jessica Boerhs) who suggests coming to America for a "rendezvous." Scott rudely rebuffs him (and that's putting it mildly) not aware that Mieke is not a guy but actually a really hot high school girl. He tries to make amends but Mieke won't read his e-mails so his pal Cooper (Jacob Pitts) convinces him to go to Berlin and meet her face-to-face. Short on cash they take a cheap courier flight to London where they meet up with twin pals Jenny (Michelle Trachtenberg) and Jamie (Travis Wester) before hopscotching to Amsterdam Bratislava Rome Vatican City and finally Berlin. Of course the chase is always better than the kill and Eurotrip is no different: Whether Scotty gets Mieke is beside the point; the amusement is all in the journey there. Who knew for example that you could spend the night in a five star hotel and partake in a night of clubbing in Eastern Europe on $1.87 U.S.-and still have 27 cents left over when it's all over?
Newcomer Mechlowicz is perfectly cast as the lead here playing a character that is simple-minded daring sympathetic and charming. But it's Mechlowicz's personal spin--his bewildered expressions--that really nails the role for him whether he is witnessing the twins accidentally making out on the dance floor in a drunken stupor or waking up to find a strange passenger cozying up to him on a train. As his buddy Cooper Pitts (K-19: The Widowmaker) plays the wisecracker of the bunch and although he doesn't go over the top with the crassness there is a little too much David Spade influence in his delivery (and the similar haircuts don't help the matter either). Like the rest of the cast Wester is careful not to typecast his character Jamie a meticulous planner who can't travel without Frommer's by loosening him up slightly. Jamie for example knows when it's time do drop the book and experiment even if it means nude sunbathing. Trachtenberg (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer) also infuses her twin character Jenny with the perfect blend of sexuality and innocence. The result is a cast of mishmash characters that are just so darn likeable. Look for a surprise cameo from Matt Damon as well as small but hilarious performances from Vinnie Jones as Mad Maynard a Manchester United soccer hooligan; Lucy Lawless as S&M mistress Madame Vandersexxx; and Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen credited as "the creepy Italian guy."
Jeff Schaffer makes his directorial debut here from a screenplay co-written with his longtime partners scribes Alec Berg and David Mandel. And ads touting it as a comedy "from producers of Road Trip and Old School " may be exactly what Eurotrip a comedy starring relative unknowns needs to draw the coveted teen crowd. After all Ivan Reitman the producer responsible for catapulting low budget comedies into box-office gold territory has secured quite a following--and fans won't be let down with this latest offering. Unlike its predecessors Eurotrip isn't afraid to be crass and while the characters are sweet the storyline is anything but. In this Euro-centric tale writing trio Schaffer Berg and Mandel proudly embrace every stereotype imaginable but do so at the expense of the inexperienced foursome which makes the material funny rather than offensive. Nude beaches the young Americans discover aren't necessarily packed with hot gorgeous women and Amsterdam's sex industry isn't exactly the stuff young male fantasies are made of. With one hilarious gag after another as well as funky map graphics with dotted lines that transport viewers from city to city the film maintains its fast-moving pace throughout. Surprisingly the film was shot entirely on location in the Czech Republic with Prague doubling as London Paris Berlin Amsterdam Rome Vatican City Bratislava--and even Hudson Ohio with landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower the Coliseum and Big Ben added using CGI. Accompanied by an awesome soundtrack featuring Lutsra's "Scotty Doesn't Know " Chapeaumelon's "My Generation" and The Salads "Get Loose " this film succeeds on all levels.
October 19, 2001 5:57am EST
The film opens with prison warden Colonel Winter (Robert Redford) greeting the highly respected General Irwin (James Gandolfini) at the start of his 10-year sentence for disobeying a presidential order. When they meet Irwin makes a snide remark about Winter--a non combatant--proudly showcasing military trinkets and memorabilia in his office. The comment instantly touches off a power war between the two which ends with Irwin threatening to take over the prison and flying the American flag upside down--a symbol that the castle has fallen. Winter rises to the challenge and the two begin their strategic plotting. Irwin wins the respect of his fellow inmates in an overly drawn scene where he is forced to carry large stones from one pile to another in the prison courtyard and forms an army of inmates using clichéd chess tactics to demonstrate his assault plans. Winter meanwhile watches from his cozy office overlooking the courtyard as if he was watching a reality series on a big-screen TV.
The highly regarded General Irwin is a simple solemn type which unfortunately is what is fundamentally wrong with the film. While Redford does the brooding thing quite well the script never calls for him to do anything more than that. James Gandolfini takes on the role of prison warden Colonel Winter with fitting simplicity. He accentuates Winter's dumb-thug persona by over-enunciating his words and speaking in an unnaturally slow manner. Redford and Gandolfini both churn out great performances but it would have been more rewarding had the script called for their characters to be more well-rounded. Steve Burton plays Winter's right hand man Captain Peretz convincingly considering what few lines he has. His body language facial expressions and dialogue manage to convey his character's thoughts even when his lines don't.
Directed by Rod Lurie (The Contender) The Last Castle is a well-paced story without a dull moment. It concludes with a dramatic and exciting climax but the problem is it's just too simple. While it's easy to get caught up in the story it's hard to buy how easily the inmates are able to take control of such a heavily guarded maximum-security prison. Using cafeteria trays as shields is one thing but hurling stones using a giant catapult that somehow went unnoticed by prison security is hard to swallow. So is the fact that these inmates a group of hardened criminals cooperate so easily with hardly any friction. While it could have been a very emotional story it fails because the characters are one-dimensional and never really explored including the two main characters played by Redford and Gandolfini. One is a great strategist and the other draconian but viewers are left to guess why and how they got that way.