‘Lone Survivor’ cast, director worked with Navy SEALs on set (video)

“Lone Survivor” writer-director Peter Berg is a man who values accuracy. In adapting former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s nonfiction account of a disastrous military mission in Afghanistan, Berg enlisted a group of the elite force as technical advisors and granted them an uncommon degree of authority on set, even allowing them to call cut if the smallest detail felt wrong to them.

According to Berg and two of his leading men, Mark Wahlberg and Emile Hirsch, the SEALs’ presence was more than welcome. At the Envelope Screening Series, the three discussed working with the soldiers.

“We pretty much had a [SEAL] assigned to us, and they were with us every single step of the way,” Wahlberg said, “and they literally had the power to stay ‘Stop, cut.’ It didn’t matter if we were about to blow up half the mountain or in the middle of blowing up half the mountain. If something wasn’t right, they were going to stop and they were going to correct it, and you were there taking orders from them. You had to find that fine line of controlling your own emotional performance and arc of the character, but also, technically, what they said went — and that was it. And we were all completely fine with that.”


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Hirsch said, “Working with the SEALs, my philosophy was just, ‘Do exactly what they say at all times,’ and that was just how I did it.”

“Or don’t and see what happens,” Wahlberg interjected, drawing a laugh from the audience.

Hirsch agreed and added, “Having them there made all the difference.”

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Berg admitted that his approach was an unusual one, though for him it paid off. “It was definitely a period of sort of getting to know each other,” he said. “And I finally said [to the SEALs], ‘Here’s the deal … You guys can be right there … and if you see anything, anything you don’t like — I mean if his shoelace is wrong, if the way his call signs when he’s talking on the radio [are wrong] — you can say cut. And we’ll stop. We will stop the film, the whole crew, and we will listen to you … and we won’t move forward until you say it’s right. You have that control.’ ”

“But,” Berg added slyly, “when the movie comes out, if one thing’s wrong, I’m telling Marcus that you all had the control.”

For more from the cast and crew of “Lone Survivor,” watch the video above and check back for daily highlights.


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