Mark Wahlberg stars as real-life hero Marcus Luttrell in the movie Lone Survivor, but the actor said he never bothered to read the book that the film is based on.
The movie documents the failed 2005 mission to capture Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd, one in which a small group of US Navy Seals ended up against an army of fighters.
Wahlberg said the decision to skip out on the book was a strategic choice, as he didn’t want to question director Peter Berg and the direction he chose for the film.
“I don’t read the books before I make the movies,” Wahlberg said. “I’ve been in situations many times where you’ve adapted a piece of material and you always feel like something’s been left out. I thought Pete did a great job of writing the screenplay. I was completely immersed in the world and felt it.
“I didn’t want to then go back and read the book and start complaining about why this wasn’t in there or what isn’t there. You could debate that for hours.”
Mark Wahlberg has starred in some popular film adaptations of books before. He starred as Bobby Shatford in the 2000 movie The Perfect Storm, based on the book by Sebastian Junger.
For Lone Survivor, Wahlberg said he preferred to go directly to the source for his inspiration — Marcus Luttrell.
“For me, I was fortunate to meet the guy I was playing – spending time with him, having him throughout the entire process and helping me with anything I needed. He’s a very special individual. To see the kind of man he is – I’m certainly inspired to be a better man.”
Luttrell was certainly a help on set, Wahlberg noted. He said that the Navy Seals brought in as consultants basically had “free reign” during filming.
Luttrell wrote the novel Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, and was one of those on set to help ensure it was true to life.
“Marcus being there was a huge help, but also a huge amount of pressure,” Wahlberg said. “We also had a number of other SEALs there training us, leading up to the film, and also during the entire course of the shoot. And they had free reign. Normally when you have a consultant, you have somebody who you want to keep at arms length then.”
Mark Wahlberg can be seen in Lone Survivor, which will be released January 10.