Could “Lone Survivor: be “The Hurt Locker” of 2013? Maybe so. Peter Berg’s intense war film had its premiere at the AFI in Hollywood on Tuesday night. At a recent Q & A for ‘Lone Survivor, the real Navy Seal, Marcus Luttrell, on whose book the film is based, joined stars Mark Wahlberg (who plays Marcus) co-star Taylor Kitsch and director Peter Berg.
This blistering, riveting Universal film is fast becoming a serious awards contender. Universal Pictures chief Ron Meyer introduced the film. To say that it transfixed the Academy members, VIP’s and press that were in the audience is an understatement. The theater was packed for the both the screening and afterwards.
Wahlberg is clearly a candidate for Best Actor nominations. But he joins a crowded field: Redford, Hanks, Dern, Eijofor, Whitaker, Elba, maybe DiCaprio, Affleck or Bradley Cooper. Tough, tough, tough.
It was a rare night in Hollywood. Luttrell, a low key Texas boy with southern charm, took the stage and set the tone for a respectful, earnest and fascinating Q and A. The actors portray SEAL Team 10 members on a mission to capture a Taliban leader in the Afghan mountains in 2005. They run across three goat herders, and the fateful decision whether or not to release them leads to tragic results. The battles with the Taliban soldiers kills them all except Luttrell, who’s badly wounded and was kept alive by some kind Afghan villagers.
Luttrell, with a service dog close by, recounted the story to the unusually appreciative jaded show business crowd.
Mark was asked why he took the role. Mark answered, “I was so inspired by the act of courage. I read the script and the book and saw Marcus on the ‘Today’ show. It was hard to make the movie with Marcus there. I was determined to make him and the families of the men that were lost, as proud as I could.”
Peter Berg recounted that, “I read the book and I couldn’t put it down. I arranged a meeting with Marcus and did my best to convince him to hire me. We went to a bar and had about 500 beers. Marcus then told me he would give the book to me, but that I better not fuck it up.”
Marcus was then asked what convinced him?
Marcus replied, “Peter’s attention to detail. Attention is such a big part of our lives, so I gave him the book.”
Wahlberg summed it up by saying, “For me or anyone else to talk about what we went through is bullshit compared to the sacrifice these men and women make on a daily basis. I’ve played quite a few real people. But I’ve never had the sense of responsibility that I had with this. Look he’s 6’6 and 250 pounds. So I had to my best to embody him. I never felt more pressure playing somebody, but I also never felt more pride.”
“Lone Survivor’ is set to have a limited release on December 27, 2013, and have a wide release on January 10, 2014.