A visibly pensive Mark Wahlberg threw his hat into the Best Actor race Tuesday night at AFI Fest, where the star of Peter Berg’s intense military drama Lone Survivor took the stage reluctant to go through the usual actorly rigamarole. Wahlberg plays Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, the only member of SEAL Team 10 to make it home from the failed 2005 Operation Red Wings mission in Afghanistan in which 19 soldiers died. “For us to talk about what we went through up on that mountain is just so fake and so false considering what these guys did and what they went through,” he told moderator/AFI Fest Director Jacqueline Lyanga after the film’s TLC Chinese Theatre premiere where he, Berg, and Luttrell sat for an emotional Q&A. “Seeing the movie again tonight reminded me of what Marcus went through. Having a family and having a wife that I love more than anything, and having four kids I’d do anything to protect — or in my case, provide for — it hit me, the fact that those guys will never see their families again. For actors to sit there and say, ‘Oh, I went to SEAL training’ … I don’t give a fuck what you did. You don’t do what these guys do. For somebody to sit there and say my job is as difficult as somebody in the military – how fucking dare you?”
A more cynical Oscar-watcher might read Wahlberg’s declaration as self-serious awards-season posturing. But the AFI Fest audience — including servicemen, Luttrell’s own team members, family, and friends mixed in with the usual industry crowd — applauded the sentiment. Luttrell’s Texas charm and dashes of levity certainly helped raise the mood. He shared his initial apprehension at any filmmaker Hollywoodizing his 2007 bestseller Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account Of Operation Redwing And The Lost Heroes Of SEAL Team 10 and recalled how he and Berg first met on the set of the director’s Hancock. READ MORE »
Here’s a new trailer for Universal‘s Lone Survivor, the real-life story of Marcus Luttrell and his SEAL Team 10 in Afghanistan. Peter Berg‘s passion pic stars Mark Wahlberg and opens December 27 — a stealth move into the heart of awards season — before going wide … Read More »
Director Peter Berg tells Mike Fleming about his research and the reasons he decided to bring the real life 2005 story of Marcus Luttrell and his Seal Team 10 as they face a life or death decision in the face of a horrific war in Afghanistan. Berg appeared on behalf of the harrowing war film Lone Survivor starring Mark Wahlberg as part of Universal’s presentation at Saturday’s Deadline THE CONTENDERS sold out event at the new Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. The film will open in late December in order to qualify for Oscar consideration before going wide on January 10th. But it is already getting noticed as a stealth late-inning awards contender and will have its World Premiere at AFI Fest next Tuesday.
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Anna Lisa Raya is a Deadline contributor.
The second half of Deadline’s 3rd annual Contenders event at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills got off to an energized start after lunch on the outdoor terrace. Deadline Awards columnist Pete Hammond returned with Captain Phillips star Barkhad Abdi, who had one of the bigger moments of the day when he revealed he ad-libbed his momentous “I am the captain now” line in the Sony film, essentially stealing the scene from Tom Hanks. The film’s producers, Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti, were spotted in the audience joining in the roaring applause.
Related: Deadline’s Contenders 2013 – Morning Panels
Anyone who’s been waiting for David O. Russell’s follow-up to last year’s Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle (also for for Sony), will be happy to know the film was locked down today. This is per one of the film’s producers, Richard Suckle, who was on hand to discuss the genesis of the film which is loosely based on the ABSCAM scandals of the 1970s. One of his funnier reveals was that star Bradley Cooper — not wanting to perm his hair for the film — spent hours in hair and makeup every day getting it curled. Co-star Christian Bale, on the other hand, gained 40 lbs. for his role and shaved the crown of his head to perfect his character’s outlandish comb over.
Julie Delpy, co-writer and star of Sony Pictures Classics’ Before Midnight, had a lot to say about the intense writing and preparation that went into making the film appear as improvised and natural as it does. Acting the role was “extremely stressful,” she told Hammond. “There’s no plot. There’s nothing to hold onto but character and emotional arc.” Also for SPC is Tim’s Vermeer — a documentary about one man’s attempt to recreate a Johannes Vermeer painting — which was uncharacteristically directed by Teller (better known as the other half of Penn & Teller). He was thankful for his editor, Patrick Sheffield, who made sense of the over 2,400 hours of footage. Writer Kelly Marcel was on-hand to discuss Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, the only film ever allowed to feature Walt Disney as a character. She called the studio “unbelievably brave” in how hands-off they were with her and director John Lee Hancock.
Related: PHOTOS: Contenders 2013 Gallery
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Listen to (and share) Episode 48 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist and host David Bloom preview this weekend’s big Deadline event The Contenders; ponder whether the Motion Picture Academy will have better luck with its “simplified and upgraded” online Oscar-voting system this year; and three hot late additions to this year’s Oscar race in The Wolf Of Wall Street, Lone Survivor and The Book Thief. Finally, we’ll get Pete’s take on this week’s new movie releases including sci-fi adaptation Ender’s Game, the animated Free Birds, romantic comedy About Time from Richard Curtis, the “geriatric Hangover” comedy Last Vegas, Oscar-contending drama Dallas Buyers Club and the biopic Diana.
Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 47 (MP3 format)
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Listen to (and share) episode 46 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about early awards frontrunner 12 Years A Slave, whose Michael Fassbender may snag an Oscar nomination despite his likely absence during the campaign months, and lead actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who already is hitting the awards circuit ahead of the film’s debut this weekend. We also look at a very different kind of performance, Scarlett Johansson’s sterling voice work in Spike Jonze’s quirky Her and whether it can make Academy history; the AFI Fest snares a world premiere with Lone Survivor; and the Pen Center USA literary awards, where one winner’s work faced a noisy protest by her film’s editors.
Finally, we’ll get Pete’s take on this week’s very full slate of new movie releases, including Bill Condon’s nervy meditation on journalism and whistleblowers in the Internet age, The Fifth Estate; Robert Redford’s remarkable solo journey in All Is Lost; the surprisingly enjoyable action film Escape Plan, featuring great chemistry between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone; and a remake of the horror classic Carrie, with Julianne Moore and Chloe Grace Moretz.
Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 46 (MP3 format)
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The AFI Fest has rounded out its list of Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings with an impressive list of awards contenders that will include one more big get: Universal’s world premiere November 12th of the gritty and gripping Afghanistan war film Lone Survivor directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Walhberg in the true story. The film gets a qualifying run in December before going wide January 10th. Getting the prime Friday night slot that was originally announced for the world premiere of Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher before that film was pushed later into 2014, is the Los Angeles premiere of The Weinstein Company’s anticipated August: Osage County, which had a raucous World Premiere screening at the Toronto Film Festival. Finally, the 1987 Best Picture winner, Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor, gets unveiled as another Centerpiece Gala in its new 3D version (do we really need that, Bernardo? I liked it the way it was). Additionally refugees from other fall fests — including Spike Jonze’s Her, Ralph Fiennes’ The Invisible Woman, Jordorowsky’s Dune, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, The Past, Philomena and the Donald Rumsfeld docu from Errol Morris, The Unknown Known – will be presented as Special Screenings. The AFI Fest takes place mainly at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and runs Nov 7-14 when it closes with Inside Llewyn Davis. Opening night should be special: Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks with its North American premiere in the same theatre where the subject of the film, Mary Poppins, debuted in 1964 and is featured prominently at the end of the movie. Here’s the official release about this morning’s additions: Read More »
Universal has released an early trailer for Lone Survivor, the Peter Berg-directed adaptation of the memoir by Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell about the harrowing firefight that resulted when a group of commandos out to kill a terrorist leader were ambushed by Taliban forces in 2005. The film … Read More »
Listen to (and share) episode 29 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. This week, Deadline’s awards columnist vents with host David Bloom about the many omissions in the WGA’s recently released list of best-written TV series; previews the coming Emmy nominations season and whether House Of Cards will be competing for Best Drama with such stalwarts as Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Game Of Thrones; discusses whether a crucial date change for Lone Survivor will put it in the Oscar hunt; and analyzes the week’s notable movies, led by the small but smart The Purge and the Vince Vaughan-Owen Wilson comedy of Google manners, The Internship.
Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 29 (MP3 format)
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EXCLUSIVE: Sensing it could have a strong year-end awards season contender, Universal has decided to platform its January 10th wide release of its Afghanistan war drama Lone Survivor with a 12/27 limited (LA/NY) debut. The shift will qualify the film for Oscars and other awards and get critical and audience word-of-mouth out there before the broader previously announced early 2014 release. Having seen the Peter Berg-directed true story in unfinished form, the move makes sense for a film that, despite unrelenting graphic violence that is hard to watch at times, really packs the kind of emotional punch that should play well with awards voters.
Coming off the box office disaster of Battleship, the movie represents a strong return to form for Berg that is more in line with what he did on 2004′s Friday Night Lights than the aforementioned 2012 bloated blockbuster. The film, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana and Taylor Kitsch (who also finds redemption after facing critical brickbats for both John Carter and Battleship), is a riveting story of four Navy SEALs involved in an ill-fated covert mission to thwart a high-level Taliban operative when they are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. Notwithstanding some of the most intense and realistic battle scenes in recent memory, it goes beyond the average war film in fleshing out real three-dimensional human beings caught up in the moral consequences of war, and in that way is more reminiscent of past Best Picture Oscar winners like Platoon (1986) and Universal’s own The Deer Hunter (1978). One scene in particular is riveting to watch in which the SEALS, weighing their own chances of survival, collectively must decide if a small group of locals should live or die. Certainly the film presents moral dilemmas that will cause strong debate. It is based on the New York Times bestseller, Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account Of Operation Redwing And The Lost Heroes Of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell (with Patrick Robinson), the Navy SEAL portrayed in the film by Wahlberg. Read More »
Mark Wahlberg-starrer Lone Survivor will bow on January 10, 2014. It will face off against Warner Bros’ sports comedy Grudge Match and Lionsgate’s horror pic Jessabelle. Based on the New York Times bestseller, Lone Survivor … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Alexander Ludwig has landed the role of Navy SEAL Shane Patton in Lone Survivor, the Peter Berg-directed adaptation of the Marcus Luttrell book. Ludwig plays a soldier on a covert mission that goes wrong, joining … Read More »
BREAKING: Eric Bana is in talks to costar in Lone Survivor, the Peter Berg-directed drama that is being financed by Emmett/Furla Films for a September 25 start in New Mexico. Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster … Read More »
BREAKING: Emile Hirsch is in talks to play Navy SEAL Danny Dietz in Lone Survivor, the Peter Berg-directed drama that is being financed by Emmett/Furla Films for a September 25 start in New Mexico. Mark Wahlberg, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Emmett/Furla Films is coming aboard to finance Lone Survivor, and director Peter Berg is in talks with Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch and Ben Foster to play three of the four lead Navy SEALs. Universal Pictures, which developed the movie, will distribute. An adaptation of the book by Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor tells the harrowing story of how Luttrell 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, where the team went to kill a terrorist leader. Wahlberg will play Luttrell in Berg’s followup to Battleship, which stars Kitsch.
Berg and Universal first began developing the project at Universal when the filmmaker signed on for Battleship. At the time, movies with sand in them and war weren’t working, but the opening-weekend grosses of Act Of Valor indicate that audiences are once again hungry for heroic war tales, especially those involving Navy SEALs. Kathryn Bigelow and Sony Pictures are getting underway with a drama revolving around the Navy SEAL Team 6′s hunt and killing of 9/11 terror attack mastermind Osama bin Laden. Lone Survivor is a different film, but it is expected to get underway this fall. Berg and Film 44 partner Sarah Aubrey, Akiva Goldsman, Barry Spikings will be producers as well as Randall Emmett and George Furla. Wahlberg will likely be involved in a producing capacity also.
Berg, who covered the Middle East terrain previously with the taut drama The Kingdom, has put in the work on this one. He wrote the Lone Survivor script after embedding with a SEAL team for a month in Iraq, an experience that really gave him a chance to see how they do their job. Berg wanted to make the film immediately, but two years ago the studio made him a bargain: direct Battleship and then follow with Lone Survivor. The timing hasn’t hurt, at all. Read More »
The Walt Disney Co. has reversed course and withdrawn its applications to trademark SEAL Team 6, the name of the elite Navy unit that killed Osama bin Laden. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Navy filed its own … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Fresh from steering Battleship, Peter Berg and Universal Pictures are moving right into a January start date on Lone Survivor, an adaptation of the book by Marcus Luttrell. The film tells the harrowing 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, where the team went to kill a terrorist leader. Berg has asked his Battleship star Taylor Kitsch to play one of four SEAL team members who fight for their lives. After meeting actors for the past two weeks, Berg will set the rest of the quartet soon.
While movies involving sand and the Middle East have been assiduously avoided by Hollywood after several movies didn’t find audiences, the killing of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALs has set in motion several films about these operatives and their dangerous missions. Disney trademarked the term SEAL Team Six, and one of the most talked about titles at Cannes has been the drama that The Hurt Locker team of director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal will shoot in the fall about that SEAL Team’s long tactical campaign that culminated with the death of bin Laden. There was rumor that Universal might be one of the suitors, but the studio clearly has its own Navy SEAL movie. Read More »