Posted on Monday, June 13th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
The Navy SEALs got a massive PR boost when the killing of Osama Bin Laden was announced. Not that the special forces team really needed a boost, given that the SEALs are one of the most highly-regarded military teams in the world. But the boost came regardless, and one of the aftereffects is that quite a few companies want to make movies or TV about the team and the operations it undertakes.
While Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal seemed to have the jump on everyone with their film that has been referred to as Kill Bin Laden (not the final title), it turns out that another SEALs film has already been shot, and Relativity just bought it for an early 2012 release. (Think: President’s Day.) The film is called Act of Valor (once called I Am That Man) and it stars actual Navy SEALs. Some images from set and more info are after the break.
Deadline announced the deal with Relativity, and prints a press release announcing that Act of Valor was “directed by ex-stuntmen and documentary filmmakers/commercial directors Mike “Mouse” McCoy (Dust to Glory) and Scott Waugh (Step Into Liquid) and written by Kurt Johnstad (300).”
Here’s the synopsis:
Act of Valor follows a Navy Seal squad on a covert mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent, and in the process takes down a complex web of terrorist cells determined to strike America at all costs. The filmmakers had unprecedented Naval access resulting in high-octane combat sequences and never-before-seen military operation scenes which are composited from actual events in the lives of the men appearing in the film and their comrades.
The cast includes Roselyn Sanchez (Rush Hour 2) and Emilio Rivera (Traffic) as well as several active-duty Navy SEALs. So is this an action movie, a recruitment film, or both? The film was made with the active participation of the US military, so I’ll let you make that call. (The directors of Act of Valor have also made actual Navy recruitment films, if that helps you decide.)
The Film Stage dug up some more info on the film via cinematographer Shane Hurlbut (forever to be known as the guy who incurred the wrath of Christian Bale). He shot the film on a Canon 5D Mark II, and offers up some info on his own site. Here’s his description of using a helmetcam setup to create a firefight:
We set the helmet cam up with all the bells and whistles. When that rig moved into rooms, it was something that I had never seen before. It was intimate, visceral and smooth. I wanted this film to have a GAMER feel to it. That first person shooter perspective that has been so powerful in all the video games like Call of Duty. This felt like that but with real Navy SEAL’s on the gun. Zeiss helped me take this movie up 4 notches with this unique perspective. The 18mm did not bend too much and delivered sharp, realistic footage. We used this lens for all of our gun fights. When the SEALS would shoot people at night, you would see the laser coming from the barrel with shells flying out of the chamber; the gunsight and the bad guy that the SEAL was shooting in the heart. It was now done with cinematic quality. Not helmet cams where everything is in focus. This 5D helmet cam had a beautiful focus fall off. We could rack from the gunsight to the bad guy, or to the shells flying out to the bad guy.
Here’s a gallery of his photos, as well as some that come from The Tension: