By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist July 23, 2012 at 10:42AM
Three years ago, when director Peter Berg promised Universal their tentpole adaptation of “Battleship” in exchange for his low-budget Navy SEAL actioner “Lone Survivor” down the line, the studio couldn’t have predicted that a similar SEAL film, “Act of Valor,” would domestically trounce their sure bet at the box office. However, the low-budget route proved viable yet again, and now the studio is ramping up Berg’s more personal film, moving the project into production right away, and assembling a strong cast that has attracted another young actor today.
Actor Emile Hirsch is the latest actor to be cast in Berg’s passion project, “Lone Survivor,” and is the final addition to the main cast, which includes Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, and Ben Foster. With all four men playing Navy SEALS in Afghanistan, the film depicts the true 2005 incident in which former SEAL Marcus Lutrell (Wahlberg) and his men suddenly incurred fire from 250 armed Al Qaeda soldiers after choosing to let likely enemies, in the form of children and an elderly man, go free earlier. Hirsch has yet to tackle a physically demanding, military role like this, and following this month’s wicked turn in “Killer Joe” and brief time in “Savages,” marks yet another about face for the actor’s impressive body of work.
Berg certainly provided his own share of legwork for the film, embedding himself with a SEAL team in Iraq for a month before writing the script, and if there’s one thing to be taken from Peter Berg’s recent, well-publicized shit fit regarding Middle Eastern politics (during a press junket for “Battleship," no less), it’s that the director will tackle any project regarding the region with enough passion for two. “The Kingdom” was an interesting if muddled thriller that definitely had more behind it than just its gripping action setpieces, so look for Berg and his cast to bring something worthwhile as “Lone Survivor” heads toward a September 25 start date in New Mexico.