Not wanting to be left out of the sudden interest in Navy SEALs following the takedown and assassination of Osama Bin Laden by the elite special operations force, Relativity Media is close to acquiring the rights to a SEAL-centric flick called Act of Valor. Deadline reports that Relativity will pay a $13 million guarantee, with a $30 million P&A commitment to the flick, arguably the largest amount paid for a film featuring a cast made up entirely of unknowns. Scripted by Kurt Johnstad (300), the film was backed by the military and actually stars active duty Navy SEALs in the lead roles.
No word on the plot [Update: Relativity has sent out a press release providing a brief synopsis; check it out after the jump], or even if it involves the Bin Laden raid, but the film is described as “very patriotic” and “heavy on action.” Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh, from the media company The Bandito Brothers, directed Act of Valor, which has already completed production. Act of Valor is one of a few Navy SEAL-centric flicks currently in development, chief among them is director Kathryn Bigelow’s Kill Bin Laden. That film is expected to shoot this summer, with Columbia Pictures eying a late 2012 release. Act of Valor is slated for release either Veterans Day weekend this November or Presidents Day in February. [Update: We've updated this story with more information and set photos which you can check out after the jump.]
The Film Stage has dug up a wealth of new information as well as set photos for Act of Valor, and all of the sites mentioned below are via The Film Stage.
NavySeals.com reports that “a hybrid feature film based on the SEAL ethos that highlights both naval special warfare capability and fleet interaction. There’s also the possibility of an IMAX release.
Cinematographer Shane Hurlbut (Terminator Salvation) announced on his website that one of the shots in the film involves following the lead Navy SEAL down a hallway that’s about to erupt in gunfire. The production also devised a helmet rig for the production:
We set the helmet cam up with all the bells and whistles. When that rig moved into rooms, it was something that I had never seen before. It was intimate, visceral and smooth. I wanted this film to have a GAMER feel to it. That first person shooter perspective that has been so powerful in all the video games like Call of Duty. This felt like that but with real Navy SEAL’s on the gun. Zeiss helped me take this movie up 4 notches with this unique perspective. The 18mm did not bend too much and delivered sharp, realistic footage. We used this lens for all of our gun fights. When the SEALS would shoot people at night, you would see the laser coming from the barrel with shells flying out of the chamber; the gunsight and the bad guy that the SEAL was shooting in the heart. It was now done with cinematic quality. Not helmet cams where everything is in focus. This 5D helmet cam had a beautiful focus fall off. We could rack from the gunsight to the bad guy, or to the shells flying out to the bad guy. The possibilities were endless with the 5D’s shallow focus and the Zeiss ZF primes.
Here’s a photo of the rig that Hurlbut posted plus more set photos from The Tension:
Relativity has sent over a press release which includes the following brief plot synopsis:
Act of Valor follows a Navy SEAL squad on a covert mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent, and in the process takes down a complex web of terrorist cells determined to strike America at all costs. The filmmakers had unprecedented Naval access resulting in high-octane combat sequences and never-before-seen military operation scenes which are composited from actual events in the lives of the men appearing in the film and their comrades.
The film will co-star Roselyn Sanchez (Rush Hour 2) and Emilio Rivera (Traffic).