‘Lone Survivor’: Navy SEALs, stuntmen and a five-story jump (video)

What’s the best way to film a five-story drop? That was one of the questions faced by director Peter Berg — twice — while making “Lone Survivor,” a war drama based on former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s nonfiction account of a mission gone horribly awry in the mountains of Afghanistan.

At a recent installment of the Envelope Screening Series, Berg talked about how he approached shooting two scenes in which a group of SEALs — including Mark Wahlberg as Luttrell and Emile Hirsch as fellow SEAL Danny Dietz — had no choice but to leap off a mountaintop for their lives.

The first step for Berg was to divide the stunt into manageable parts; the second was to pray no one got seriously injured.


“We had broken it down to 90 different pieces that we had to film,” Berg said. “And so each one was like a 15- to 20-foot drop and then we’d edit it all together.”

VIDEO: Watch cast, crew discuss ‘Lone Survivor’

Unfortunately, while having Luttrell and other SEALs on set was invaluable in providing technical expertise, Berg said their presence also upped the testosterone level considerably.

Berg recalled checking in with one of the stuntmen before shooting the first drop sequence, with the SEALs looking on. The stuntman nonchalantly told Berg, “I’m going to just run, and I’m going to jump off that cliff, and I’m going to hit the tree, and I’m going to bounce off the tree and hit the rock, and I’m going to roll out of the frame.”

Berg continued: “And so the first [shot] of 90, he runs, the four cameras are rolling — and he really wants to honor the SEALs — he runs so hard, jumps off the rock, hits the tree wrong, breaks all his ribs, punctures his lung, and we’ve got to get the helicopter. And that was the first of 90.”

After that reality check, Berg said, “We have to honor the SEALs, but we have to actually make the film.”

For more from the cast and crew of “Lone Survivor,” watch the full video above.


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