Jeri Jacquin, Movie Maven (MM)
Jenise Jacquin, Film Brat (FB)
Out on DVD and BluRay this Tuesday from directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh comes the film that was number one during its theatre run with “ACT OF VALOR”. The film tells the story of an elite team of Navy Seal’s who must recover a CIA agent and foil a terrorist attack against the United States.
Anyone who has seen the film knows that it is a powerful action film. ACT OF VALOR is a film that shows the technology used by the teams, along with action, adventure and intensity. The film allows audiences to see the skills that come with being a member of a Seal team.
Directors Scott Waugh and Mike “Mouse” McCoy, spent months getting to know this community of elite here in San Diego, which is the site of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command.
Director Waugh admits to having preconceived notions about these men but, those notions were quickly turned around. Through their contact with the men and their families, the co-directors learned of the sacrifice and deep emotion that runs through these family men.
Because of this connection, these co-directors were able to put together a diverse and complete team that truly reflects the U.S. Navy Seals. Working with these first time actors was, in the directors’ eyes, surprisingly easy. Waugh believes it is because these men are the characters it gave them so much to go on for the film so how could one argue with that!
Having the U.S. Seals be the advisors came to be an invaluable source for making ACT OF VALOR. Director Mike “Mouse” McCoy says they men were often given free reign to keep the film real and authentic. Given dialogue, the men were able to tell the writer and directors what would work and what would not. To keep the film as realistic as possible, the directors used twelve cameras at a time working independently to get the shot from every angle.
Once again we got the opportunity to talk with Scott Waugh, director and all around great guy. The opportunity was given to myself and Film Brat, along with former Marine Ian Geppart, to spend the day with SEAL FIT of Encinitas. First, our interview with one of the directors of ACT OF VALOR, Scott Waugh and then, Film Brat’s story and interview about her experience training as a Navy Seal for the day!
MM: How are you Scott, its so good to see you again!
I know, I’m so glad to see you guys again. I love the gear you guys are wearing. How was the challenge today? I want to hear all about it – what was it like?
FB: It was good! It challenged me and I know I should be more physical than I am. It inspired me and I definitely just went for it. They were saying in the beginning to just go for it and that’s what I told myself. It was awesome.
MM: You should see her holding up the log.
FB: I’m short, I know it.
MM: They were shuffling guys to try to level her off.
You’re not that short are you?
FB: Yea, I was the shortest. They told me to just touch it.
Right on, I’m glad you did it.
MM: Ian also participated.
That’s awesome. I’m so glad you did. How did you like it?
IG: It was great. I had a good time.
MM: Ian is a former Marine.
Oh, so you should be use to this, but your hairs longer.
IG: Yes, but I’m no longer active duty but yes, I liked doing this a lot.
I did some Marine Corps stuff down at 29 Palms and it was really funny because there is a good business in hair salons. There are barbershops in that strip going in. It’s a good business. Every week you have to be high and tight.
MM: Since seeing you and the opening of the film, how has it been for you?
It’s been phenomenal and great. It went to number one and it was great. It was crazy. As a filmmaker you just don’t know how it’s going to do. To see the audience really respond to it has been very awesome. We had shown the film and did the previews and once the movie came out it kind of like a baby and it’s off into the world. Nothing you can do to control it and people like it great or if they don’t – sorry.
MM: I don’t think you’ve had a ‘sorry’ moment during this have you?
No, I think part in the beginning around Thursday when all the critics took daggers at us and it was kind of expected because we didn’t make the movie for them but more for the families and people who would see this as authentic. It was great because it couldn’t have been on more polar opposite sides when the movie came out because the Cinema score was an A and the critics called it an F. It was like ‘somebody’s wrong here’.
MM: Did you feel the critics were mainly taking a stab at the acting of the film and not necessarily the cinematography and action?
It’s a weird thing because this is my view. Yes, that’d definitely one of them. But if you met the guys, they do an incredible job playing themselves. If you met Rourke you’d say ‘that’s the guy, he’s that guy”. He’s quiet and a very rigid person and that’s him. We kept encouraging him to be – himself! The problem is Hollywood has always shown these operators as Bruce Willis and all these guys who have never served in the military and don’t know what these guys are really like. So when we put them in that light they are seen as bad actors – why? – because they don’t act like Bruce Willis? These are the guys that are not trying to play him. Bruce Willis is actually trying to play the real guys so it’s the other way around!
MM: So for critics your saying your idea got lost in translation shall we say?
Yes, totally. If I sit down with Ebert and we talk about Dave Hansen I’d say ‘you tell me if Dave isn’t being Dave’. Because Dave was incredible in the movie and is exactly who he is, he played his character.
MM: Audiences saw what you were trying to present and related to it. Critics didn’t take the movie as you were trying to present it by you saying there aren’t Oscar performances because that isn’t what this is about?
Yes, they are trying to put it into a different box. This is a different genre of a movie. You can’t put this in with movies like “Tears of the Sun”. I think that’s why this is funny. You look at all the military people and they say the guys in our movie are great. Its not a false portrayal of the U.S. Seal teams.
MM: So what are you working on now?
I am supposed to do NEED FOR SPEED, which is a big car chase movie. It would be great because it’s with DREAMWORKS and Mr. Spielberg which would be nice working with him. I also have a TNT show called REACT, which is a modern day A-team that will be comprised of real operators. It won’t be Hannibal and Mr. T; it’s going to be real guys inside traveling the world doing badass operations. It will be based on and using the operators doing crazy stuff around the world. Television deserves great action and we haven’t had that in a long time. That’s my new obsession is to take action style and bring it to television.
MM: You’re coming in at a good time because television is making a resurgence.
Yes, it is! Reality television has finally run its due course and now people are getting back to good scripted television. It is good to see watchable television again. Do you guys watch GAME OF THRONES?
MM: Seriously, are you kidding?
FB: We were talking about that on the way here. One of the best shows right?
It is amazing television.
MM: We are betting on Tyrion, Peter Dinklage’s character, to take it all.
“A Lannister always pays his debts” – it almost sounds like a Monty Python thing doesn’t it!
MM: We’ve gotten away from the topic <laughing>. Back to “Act of Valor” the film did really well at theatres near the military bases.
I know but its great to see you guys again. I have to say that the film, wherever it showed around military bases just took the theatre and for three weeks the film just sold out.
FB: I think its because it was real for a lot of people and it was nice for them to have a movie they could relate to as far as the military and, of course, their families.
We showed a preview once in Coronado and it was great. I can’t drive around to see whose going to see it. It’s too stressful! <laughing> I mean you’ll know by the end of the week how it will do.
MM: You had to want to know right?
On Friday Mouse and I were doing press in New York. We finished around 5 at night and we were going to dinner and all of a sudden my phone blew up and it was Tucker from Relativity Media telling us the numbers. Let me say it was a great dinner!
FB: The waiter liked you because of the great tip!
Absolutely, it was fantastic!!
As it should be for this director who took a fantastic story and added realism and importance! Pick up your copy of ACT OF VALOR on DVD/BluRay this Tuesday and discover for yourself what the buzz is all about!