How do you go about sitting down and talking to someone about one of the hardest experiences in their life, even if the other person is willing to have the discussion? That was the question I faced prior to my conversation with Marcus Luttrell, who was with director Peter Berg, to talk about the movie “Lone Survivor” and what Luttrell experienced on that day in Afghanistan.
Entering the conversation, Mark Wahlberg had already told me that he, Wahlberg, had been trepidacious about asking questions of Luttrell initially, a statement which only put the issue into stark relief. But, by writing a book and participating in the making of the film, Luttrell had shown his willingness to talk about the events, so I proceeded, even if I was a little uneasy.
One of the most fascinating reveals of our conversation came when I asked about the filming of the battle sequences themselves. Luttrell was on set for much of the shooting of the movie, but wasn’t present during that portion. Berg said of the decision to not have Luttrell present for the battle, “I didn’t know that it was the best move for Marcus, personally, to have to be there and bear witness to that, because I knew we were going to go after it pretty aggressively.”
In our discussion, Berg spoke more about the technical side of the shooting of the battle sequence itself, the results of which landed the movie a spot in our Top 10 Movie Battles of 2013 list. Just one of the amazing things about the battle is the contrast between the horror of the fight and the beauty of the surroundings. Of that dichotomy, Berg said, “I think it is unique to see such brutal violence occur in such a majestic environment. That’s how it went down.”
Luttrell himself was very forthright and open, and spoke about the difficulty he initially had in handing his story off to someone else to direct. “It’s one of those things where I knew when I had control of it, that I could make sure it was done right and that everything would be in there that needed to be in there and set the record straight.” He then went on to say that he was “Lucky enough to get a director who was open-minded… somebody who would listen and understand and put the time in and to really understand how we do our business and what happened up on the mountain that day.”
The result of the collaboration, the film version of “Lone Survivor,” is currently playing in select cities, but it expands nationwide tomorrow, January 10th. The movie stars Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana, and Taylor Kitsch.