"It was pretty obvious to me [Universal] weren't jumping head over heels to make a war film in the Middle East right now," Peter Berg said way back in 2009. "So they said, 'What if you give us 'Battleship' for July 2011, and we guarantee you'll follow with 'Lone Survivor'? " While the timeline may have shifted, it looks like a deal is a deal and the studio is making good on their word (it probably didn't hurt that "Act Of Valor" topped the box office over the weekend either) and ramping up Peter Berg's Navy SEALs flick "Lone Survivor."
Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch and Ben Foster are lining up to get into gear for the film. Based on the book by former SEAL Marcus Luttrell (to be played by Wahlberg), the film will tell the true story of an incident in 2005 when his team came under attack from Taliban forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. The team was on a mission to kill a terrorist leader very close to Osama Bin Laden and along the way they ran into three kids and an old man, who under the rules of engagement they could have killed. They let them go, and whether they talked or not, the team was suddenly under fire from 250 heavily-armed Al Qaeda soldiers (they even brought down a rescue helicopter that came in to try and evacuate the SEAL team).
This is a passion project for Berg, who spent a month with a SEAL team in Iraq before writing the script. This one is moving fast with fall start date being eyed, and it's a reunion for many folks on the project. For Wahlberg, it's a chance to work with his "Contraband" co-star Foster again, as well as re-up with Berg who starred as himself in a season 7 episode "Entourage" (which Wahlberg produced). Meanwhile, it seems Kitsch and Berg got along smashingly on "Battleship" as they'll reteam here (and of course, Kitsch starred in the Berg produced "Friday Night Lights").
As much as we've ragged on "Battleship" -- and we still think it looks terrible -- this is much more firmly in Berg's domain, and something that seems deeply personal to the helmer. We'd much rather see him do this than faceless tentpoles (though sometimes you gotta play the game to get your stuff made), and so we'll stay optimistic about this one. [Deadline]