“Act of Valor” showcases real Navy SEALs, wives and kids ... and bullets
Producer-directors Mike "Mouse" McCoy and Scott Waugh didn't plan on inventing a new kind of movie, but realized the real thing is better than Hollywood
The project began with the two exploring “How would you even go about” telling the SEALs story, says McCoy. The Navy “opened the doors to us. We got to meet the men, really connect with the culture and from there we figured out what it meant to be a SEAL — these truly incredible and heroic men, their depth of brotherhood and the sacrifices they laid down in years of deployment.
“We began to see,” says Waugh, “the only way to make this movie was to film the real guys and honor their real stories.”
“Initially we were going to make an action film with professional actors,” says Waugh. “But once we met the men, we realized that they
were incredibly talented and competent and there was so much honor in this community. We began to realize that the only way to do it was for real.”
But filming reality has its limits. For example, the Pentagon wasn’t going to let Waugh and McCoy tag along on the mission to take out Osama bin Laden — or any other real combat mission. The compromise was to allow them to, as Waugh explains it, “augment existing training evolutions.”
That was real enough. SEAL training is brutal. It takes over 30 months to train a candidate to the point at which he is ready for deployment. Those who make the cut emerge ready to handle pretty much any task under fire, which includes diving, combat swimming, hostage rescue, navigation, negotiating with civilians you’re trying to rescue, improvisation under extreme stress, creative use of explosives, expertise with a wide range of weapons and jumping out of moving vehicles, boats and aircraft.