Wahlberg & Foster Look to Join Kitsch in Peter Berg’s ‘Lone Survivor’

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 31st, 2013 at 10:02 am,

Peter Berg reportedly (unofficially) struck a deal with Universal Pictures back in 2010, so that he would first direct the studio’s Battleship board game movie adaptation before moving ahead with his preferred armed forces movie of choice: Lone Survivor, an adaptation of the non-fiction book by former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell.

Now that the aforementioned Hasbro board game-based project is all ready to set sail (pun intended) in theaters this summer, Berg is turning his attention to Lone Survivor. He’s long been planning to re-team with Battleship star Taylor Kitsch on the film; now, reports are in that A-lister Mark Wahlberg and popular character actor Ben Foster (The Messenger) have likewise begun negotiations to star in Berg’s adaptation.

Luttrell’s original book is fully-titled “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10″. Berg wrote the script adaptation after spending a month being embedded with a SEAL team in Iraq (for research purposes) and has described the true story to Deadline as follows:

“[SEAL Team 10's mission] was similar to the assassination mission that got [Osama] bin Laden, but things got complicated when they ran into three kids and an old man [in Afghanistan]. Under the rules of engagement, they could have killed them, but they decided to let them go and take their chances, even though they knew these people would likely talk.”

That decision proved to be the catalyst for an assault by some 250 Taliban soldiers who sought to take out the members of SEAL Team 10; it’s not a spoiler to say that only one member of the team made it out alive (hence the original book’s title). Berg has also revealed that his adaptation of Lone Survivor will focus primarily on four members of the team – with Wahlberg slated to portray Luttrell.

lone survivor peter berg Wahlberg & Foster Look to Join Kitsch in Peter Bergs Lone Survivor

Berg’s planned vision for Lone Survivor is already prompting comparisons to Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down, both in terms of its narrative structure and how the former is likewise expect to offer a pretty accurate portrayal of military operation tactics (not to mention, the innate ugliness of combat). Lone Survivor won’t feature the vast ensemble cast that BHD does, though, and the overall scale of the story is comparatively smaller.

When Berg last worked in the “Middle Eastern war” genre, the result was 2007′s The Kingdom: a moderately well-received flick that was widely admired for its action sequences, but criticized for being somewhat formulaic and predictable from a storytelling perspective. If nothing else, Lone Survivor should play more to Berg’s strengths as a Michael Bay-esque director (ie. someone who excels foremost at creating visceral thrills).

Lone Survivor will also be the third cinematic vehicle depicting SEALs in action to hit theaters in recent times, after the recently-released Act of Valor and the upcoming (still) untitled Black Ops thriller from Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker). It will be interesting to see which one of these three titles ultimately proves the most successful, as far as both box office glory and critical acclaim goes.


Principal photography on Lone Survivor is tentatively expected to get underway by Fall 2012.

Source: Deadline

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  1. A truly great book. Glad to see its director is someone who appreciates our men in uniform. (also, I think they were fighting Taliban soldiers, not Al Qaeda)

    • My bad, that is correct.

      It’s been fixed.

  2. Great.. Peter Berg making another that bashes ISLAM.

    • I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be rude. But Lone Survivor isn’t meant to bash Islam. It’s meant to honor the sacrifices of American soldiers in harms way. Actually, the only reason Mr. Luttrell survives is the aid he recieves from a group of friendly Afghani civilians. So to say that the book or the movie upon which it’s based bashes Islam in any way is a horribly mistaken assumption. However, it doesn’t support violent jihadists, which is what Taliban soldiers are. No one but a millitant Muslim would support that. Check your facts man.

    • Raz, A critical part of Luttrell’s survival was, after the Taliban battle, being taken in and saved by a local tribesman. Hardly the stuff that lends itself to Muslim bashing.

      • I have been corrected..
        I apologize :)

        • Read the book. I’m sure you’d appriciate it. Fantastic, harrowing adventure that really shows the Afghani people in a good light. It’s more harrowing story of survival. Think 127 hours if the dude had been getting shot at. It’s mostly neutral from a religious point of view, though Luttrell does point to his Chrisian upbringing in a few places. However, like I said in the above post, he is sheltered by a group of Pashtun villagers who shelter him from the Taliban at the risk of their own lives. If anything, the film should portray Islam in a positive light. (If the story is told in a factual, unbiased way. Something Hollywood struggles to do when dealing with any religious subject.)

          • Well said! Without reading this book, your opinion is meaningless. Keep it to yourself Raz. These guys would not care about who plays them in this movie, they would just want it told honorable. You dont hear Marcus Bashing Islam do you? Then keep your small minded thoughts to yourself.

  3. This is a great book and I really enjoyed it. But it’s not an all out action story. To go action heavy and Michael Bay-esque would be a disservice to those SEALs and the story of survival. I would hope that Berg focuses on the characters and not the visceral thrills.

    I’m sure the studio wants a ‘bankable’ star with Wahlberg, but he is not the right actor to play Luttrell. It would be an awful miscasting. Please, Hollywood do not screw this up.

    • Walberg is a good actor. All of his characters on film depict him as a gruff, tough guy, stoic faced person. Lone Survivor is an amazing book and so is Marcus Luttrell. This would be a huge miscast. When Black Hawk Down came out, the two actors who played the downed U.S. Army Delta Force snipers were right on. Right before leaving for the Mog, one of them tried to call his wife but missed her. Please don’t show-up Walberg as a bad-ass U.S. Navy SEAL, because that is not what SEALs are. Good luck with the project.

    • I admit that it would be almost impossible to cast a movie such as this, given the caliber of the men that they will be portraying. Although, I don’t think the general public will really notice or even care for that matter. But, those that are intimately involved with the men that are being portrayed in this film, and those that take a special interest in the story, I believe will be disappointed. Hollywood could NEVER do any justice to the events of that terrible day and to the men that were lost. It is my OPINION that this movie should not have even been made. Going Hollywood with this event is regrettable. Very regrettable.

  4. Read this book in one sitting during deployment, very inspiring story he told.

  5. The quote from Deadline alone shows me that the author didn’t read the book and that this movie will get the crappy Hollywood treatment. It wasn’t three kids and a shepherd, it was a kid and a shepherd, and it wasn’t perfectly within their rules of engagement to kill them–they had a tense vote on whether to kill them or not precisely because it was a gray area in their rules of engagement and they did not want the fallout of political BS if they shot them. God, I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a crappy, blockbuster movie with big explosions and no character development like it’s destined to be. If one story doesn’t deserve that treatment, it’s this one.

    • I was just about to post this when I saw your comment. You’re right, it was one shepherd and a boy. During the argument about whether or not to kill them, he even goes into great detail the hand tying that the ROE’s put on soldiers. He especially went on to mention how Al Jazera (however the hell it’s spelled) would use it as propaganda. Also, I’m not sure what the author is talking about, but the book mainly tells the story of Luttrell and the 3 men on his op, the rest of the SEALs and airmen that died were part of a rescue attempt. I hope it’s a good movie though, the book was very eye opening and the soldiers that lost their lives and continue to fight deserve to have a faithful story told.

  6. Wahlberg’s a good actor but I don’t really see him as a navy seal, yeahhh that’s not going to work.

    • I like Wahlberg also but not in this role, His age for me is the problem (41) a big differance in age from his co-stars. Also Marcus Luttrell is a big man (6’5″) And I think Wahlberg is 5’7″. Lutrell was 30 when this happened and Lt. Murphy and Matt Axelson were 29, Danny Dietz was 25 so the big age differance kind of throws me off, I really like the choice of
      Ben Foster as Matt Axelson, Axelson was a very bright person and I think Foster will do his part justice. I also like the addition of Eric Bana, He was great in Black Hawk Down.

  7. As soon as I saw that Wahlberg was starring in this picture, I knew that it was destined to go straight to video. Sorry, that’s just my opinion.

    I think this was a wasted opportunity to pay tribute to the fine men that died that terrible day.