For more than 50 years, Navy SEALs have been deployed to all parts of the world for covert operations, but after the 2011 operation to kill Osama bin Laden, SEALs have made a not-so-secret descent on Hollywood.
After the movie Act of Valor co-starring real SEALs came out earlier this year – with portions of the movie filmed in Coronado and Imperial Beach – a TNT drama called React will be produced by the film's director, according to a story in The Hollywood Reporter.
In Stars Earn Stripes, to premiere later this month on NBC, celebrities are pitted against former special forces members in various competitions.
It does not appear that either show will include active duty sailors, but will continue a deep public interest in the popular yet notoriously secretive SEALs.
In a community discussion in Coronado Friday, Navy Capt. Duncan Smith and Capt. Bill Fenick, both part of Navy Special Warfare Command, said they were unaware of the television shows.
They did share more information about Act of Valor, which has tallied $70 million stateside according to Box Office Mojo, and is now available on DVD:
- The SEAL community is divided about Act of Valor. “Some folks love the film, some detest it,“ Fenick said.
- Two SEALs from the film have left the Navy. One retired, and Rorke Denver, on whom the plot pivots, is writing a book set to be released in January.
- In a review of 1,700 hours of footage, Smith said, the Navy challenged just two elements, which did not end up in the film. The Navy also can use the footage in training, which was part of the military's agreement with the producers.
- It will take two years to measure the movie's effect, if any, on recruitment, Fenick added.
- Smith acknowledges, however, that the film's impressive ad campaign – the distributor, Relativity Pictures, purchased four costly Super Bowl spots – considerably extended the government's reach. “The Navy couldn't buy this kind of exposure,” he said. “We couldn't afford it.”
Tell us in the comments.
Was Act of Valor enough or should Hollywood continue to portray the SEALs and other special ops forces?