Several Mercury Radio Arts employees had the opportunity to attend a special screening of the upcoming Relativity Media movie "Act of Valor" last week, a film that was certainly more than just a movie -- it was an experience. During the screening, we learned some interesting information that you might not get anywhere else, like why the SEALs in the movie are wearing FDNY patches.
"Act of Valor" is not your everyday popcorn flick. The majority of characters in the film are portrayed by active-duty U.S. Navy SEALs, not actors, and the film's modern day counter-terrorism plot is a fictionalized account of real life Navy SEAL operations. The explosions are big, and gunfights feature live ammunition. In short, it's unlike any movie you'll see this year, both in content and purpose.
At the event last week, co-Director Mike "Mouse" McCoy explained that he and creative partner Scott Waugh spent years developing the film and recruiting actual military professionals because Hollywood has “pretty much blown it” in terms of portraying real Navy SEALS on the big screen. Waugh sarcastically added that he would have preferred to cast real terrorists as well but "none of the mother f*ckers wanted to play."
"This film is pretty anti-Hollywood," said McCoy. The filmakers also said that they were mindful to be as authentic as possible, without giving away "our playbook" to enemies.
That said, Act of Valor packs an incredible combo of suspense and visual effects comprable to the most stunning action movie, while retaining an authentic human emotion from the film's actors*, who know all to well how the plot plays out in real life. Act of Valor shows the real evil that exists in this world, but also the forces of courage exemplified in the SEALs who fight back against such enemies.
Mercury's Colin Balfe also attended the special screening and said that the film's adrenaline fueled action scenes and intimate family moments made it a winner.
Keith Ferry of Markdown.com said that throughout the film he was constantly thinking about "how overused words like honor, bravery, sacrifice and hero are in our everyday lives." Ferry said that this movie allowed him to gain "a completely different perspective and appreciation on what those words really mean and how lucky we all are to live in a country where there are men and women like the Seals in the movie that truly represent the definition of those words."
The film's most emotional scene perhaps came at it's end, where instead of credits revealing the actors' names, the screen reads the names of Naval Special Warfare forces killed since September 11.
Several active duty Navy SEALs were in attendance for the screening, and spoke to the crowd before and after the film. One SEAL moved the crowd by describing the "bond and brotherhood that exists between SEALs and first responders." He explained that often while home in between tours, SEALs like him visit friends at local fire stations. That's led to a practice that he feels honored to take part in: firefighters lend out patches from their local stations to SEALs to be worn on their uniforms in battle, with the intent that the warriors promise to bring the patches back home themselves. In the film, several characters are seen with FDNY patches on their SEAL uniforms.
The film's directors McCoy and Waugh appeared on HLN yesterday morning to give a shout-out to the brave men and women serving overseas and the first-responders protecting us at home:
Here's the trailer for the incredible film set to be released one week from Friday:
Several of the SEALs who appeared in film were interviewed on Fox and Friends Friday:To make the private prescreening before the film's February 24 release even more special, the majority of seats at the Upper West Side theater were reserved for NYPD and FDNY first responders. The event was put on by Relativity Media in partnership with The NYC Police Foundation and the FDNY Foundation, who each received a $10,000 donation from the film's directors and actors following a Q & A at the movie's end.
At the film's Los Angeles premier Monday, the directors and stars exemplified further that "Act of Valor" is not your average Hollywood movie. Six Navy SEAL stars made their red carpet entrance by parachuting onto Sunset Boulevard where the theatre hosting the film's release was located. The Hollywood Reporter was there and writes:
“'Nobody from Hollywood wanted us to make it,' filmmaker Scott Waugh tells THR, after SEALs parachuted onto Sunset Boulevard.. 'That’s why we ended up funding it ourselves and finding private equity and why we really made a truly independent film with this.'”
Video of the amazing entrance: