Wahlberg Stars In Gritty War Story
U.S. Release Date: 1/10/14
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsh and Ben Foster, director Peter Berg’s film is based on the first hand account of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell.
On June 28 2005, Luttrell and his fellow SEALs, Erik Christensen, Matthew “Axe” Axelson, Michael Murphy and Danny Dietz, launched Operation Redwing, a mission to take down Ahmed Shah, a high level Taliban leader responsible for killing US soldiers in Afghanistan.
Badly injured, Luttrell, the mission’s only survivor, crawled seven miles and was eventually given shelter by an Afghan tribe. The tribe alerted US forces of his presence, and Luttrell was rescued.
In Berg’s big screen telling of the incident, Lutteral, Murphy, Dietz, Axelson and Eriksen are played by Whalberg, Kitsch, Hirsch, Foster and Bana respectively.
“I was moved by the screenplay so I thought we were on the right track,” says Wahlberg. “I loved the balance of drama, action, humor and emotion. In the first act you’re meeting these guys, seeing how much they love each other and what they’re doing out there. Then when Red Wings is a go, you see the shift from playful to all business.”
Lone Survivor is not the first time that Whalberg has played a character based on a real person. In David O. Russell’s The Fighter, released in 2010, Wahlberg played “Irish” Mickey Ward – professional boxer and former champion of the World Boxing Union (WBU).
“I always feel some weight when portraying someone on real life, whether they’re alive or not. I always want to make sure that I make them and their family members proud.”
The actor frequently consulted with Luttrell on Lone Survivor, and says the project ranks as his “best working experience.”
“I remember early on as an actor you worked a long hard day, but you did something that you felt was special, and that long car ride home you couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had that feeling every day on this movie.”
Even though he admits it was initially odd watching someone else play him, Luttrell describes Whalberg as a “consummate professional” and a “great actor.”
“It was a little strange watching someone trying to play me, but we talked about it and it worked out great. I was more worried about the other guys because they’re not around to speak for themselves.”
As a result, Emile Hirsch – drawn by Danny Dietz’s commitment to his fellow SEALs, country and family – was committed to honoring the fallen soldier.
“I know how important it is to all the families how their loved ones are portrayed in the film. I felt more responsibility playing Danny than I have playing any other character. You know it’s a movie, but its also a monument to these guys. We knew it was up to us to portray the SEALs in the right way, which is representative, respectful and truthful.”
To get the actors into SEALS mode, Berg assembled a special training team, which included associates of Luttrell, to put the actors through rigorous physical work outs and training in weapons, communication and the ability to act as a fully operative tactical team.
“We put them through the ringer,” says Luttrell. “We beat them hard and they came through as a team. You could see it while we were putting them through this training that they just started to come together. It was tactically sound the way they were moving, shooting and communicating. They just did a good job.”
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Peter Berg
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsh, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Ali Suliman, Alexander Ludwig and Sammy Sheik.
Screenwriter: Peter Berg. (Based on the book Lone Survivor by retired petty office Marcus Luttrell, with Patrick Robinson).
Producers: Peter Berg, Sarah Aubrey, Randall Emmett, Norton Herrick, Barry Spikings, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Vitaly Grigoriants
Executive Producers: George Furla, Simon Fawcett, Braden Aftergood, Louis G. Friedman, Stepan Martirosyan, Remington Chase, Adi Shanklar, Spencer Silna, Brandt Andersen and Jeff Rice
Source: Universal Pictures Press Kit
Image Info: MARK WAHLBERG as Marcus Luttrell in “Lone Survivor.” Photo Credit: Universal Pictures. Copyright: © 2013 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.