When it was revealed that members of the Navy’s highly-skilled SEAL Team 6 were responsible for killing Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden last month, Hollywood talent immediately started thinking of ways to make movies out of the real-life event. We knew about several projects in development, including Kathryn Bigelow’s Kill Bin Laden (her highly anticipated follow-up to the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker), but now a new title has entered the fray – Act of Valor.
IndieWire is reporting that Relativity has paid $13 million – with a promise to spend $30 million more on advertising and publicity – for the film from directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh.
Starring real-life, active duty SEALs, Act of Valor “follows a Navy Seal squad on a covert mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent, that in the process takes down a complex web of terrorist cells determined to strike America at all costs.” The film is already shot and will debut on President’s Day of 2012.
Normally, an action film that didn’t feature any big-name stars would be a tough sell – but featuring real SEALs in action alongside actors like Roselyn Sanchez and Emilio Rivera might be enough to get the curious to check this out theatrically. Act of Valor’s other selling point is that the filmmakers reportedly had “unprecedented access” to the SEALs, meaning they came up with scenes and combat scenarios drawn from real events.
If that doesn’t sound like the film to scratch your Navy SEAL movie itch, then perhaps Bigelow’s Killing Bin Laden will fill the bill. Killing Bin Laden was already in the works prior to the terrorists’ death in May, but obviously the new events have inspired a rewrite. Joel Edgerton is rumored to star in the feature, which was set to be about a failed mission to eliminate the world’s most wanted man, but will now apparently climax with the shootout at Bin Laden’s Pakistan compound instead. Shooting is supposed to start this summer.
Meanwhile, director Peter Berg signed on to helm Lone Survivor back in 2007, but eventually moved away from the project to make Battleship. Recent events have inspired him to return to the film, which is based on a book written by SEAL Marcus Luttrell that chronicles an attempt to take down a terrorist leader. The mission goes awry when the team is ambushed in the Hindu Kush mountains. Berg says his film will be reminiscent of Black Hawk Down and is “an unapologetically patriotic film that honors and pays homage to an incredible group of badass guys who do this.”
Folks who aren’t concerned about the SEALs, but are fascinated by the killing of Bin Laden, will want to keep an eye on Paramount’s long-in-development adaptation of Gary Berntsen’s non-fiction book Jawbreaker. Berntsen was the CIA pointman on the failed attempt to get Bin Laden in Tora Bora right after the September 11th terrorist attacks. The film has been in the works since 2006, with directors like Oliver Stone considering it.
It’s strange to think of Disney, purveyors of wholesome animated movies and family fare, trying to get in on the killing of Bin Laden craze, but it seems they were interested. In the days following the news of the Bin Laden’s death, Disney went to great lengths to try and trademark the term SEAL Team 6 – but gave up when they faced opposition from military leaders. This would seemingly indicate that they have a project idea in development as well, but we haven’t heard much in the way of details.
One thing is for certain – the killing of Osama Bin Laden has certainly made the Navy SEALs a hot commodity in Hollywood. It stands to reason that we’ll see several of these projects on the big screen in the coming years, along with others that are still in the early stages of development. That’s a long way away, though – so what are we to do in the meantime? Luckily, Charlie Sheen was way ahead of the curve on this whole SEAL thing – and there’s no better time to revisit his cinematic epic, Navy Seals, than right now. Go on, you know you want to.