Ben Foster Ate Handfuls Of Dirt During ‘Lone Survivor’ Because He Said It Would Protect Him

Peter Berg directs Marky Mark in Lone Survivor, opening this week, which tells the story of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, pinned down by the Taliban in the mountains of Afghanistan during an operation in 2005. I’d assumed the most exciting part of the film coming out was going to be the interviews with Peter Berg, who’s known to be intense, gung-ho about the military, and possibly psychotic (in a way that’s strangely endearing). But it turns out, one of the best stories is actually about Ben Foster, who plays Matt “Axe” Axelson* in the film (and is reportedly engaged to Robin Wright).

A FilmDrunk reader told me about a Lone Survivor screening he attended a few months back, in which Berg described Foster’s “method,” which apparently involved eating handfuls of dirt (corroborated by Twitter users here and here). Here’s the tipster’s account:

[Foster] insisted on getting in on the stunts with the stunt guys. Would not be denied. Despite the catastrophic injury at the first jump [during a falling sequence in the film, for which a stuntman had earlier broken ribs and punctured a lung – Berg mentions it here]. So, to get in the zone, [Foster] started eating dirt. Like lots of it. Peter had no idea what it was for, but Ben said it would protect him. Then he jumped off a cliff.

I love actors.

If you watch those scenes again, you can clearly see Ben Foster take a fall and inside and around his mouth is crusted with greenish brown crud. He ate that.

I used to play rugby with a guy who’d eat dirt or grass or worms during scrums. I don’t know if it will protect you, but it’s great for intimidation. Anyway, suffice to say, anyone who eats a handful of dirt and then jumps off a cliff sounds like a real party animal to me. Burnsy and I would bid that guy in a heartbeat (RIP, Spinach and Blowjob Stacy).

*Marcus Luttrell’s son is named “Axe” in his honor. And presumably in honor of “Axe” being a badass name.