TODAY   |  December 03, 2013

‘Lone Survivor’ stars preview fact-based thriller

Actors Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, and Emile Hirsch visit TODAY to talk about the unique emotional impact of their upcoming film “Lone Survivor,” based on the true story of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, who faced Taliban fighters in Operation Red Wings.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> to a new movie getting a lot of attention. lone survivor based on a mission by seal team 10 to capture a leader in afghanistan but when the group is discovered by three goat herders they face a difficult decision.

>> rules of engagement says we cannot touch them.

>> i understand. but i don't care.

>> they are unarmed prisoners.

>> this is not a vote. this is what we're going to do. this op is compromised. we're going to cut them loose and we're going to make this peak. when we make this peak, you're going to get coms up and we're going to call for extract and we're going home .

>> roger that, sir.

>> roger that.

>> they're three of the movies stars. good to have you here. good morning.

>> good morning.

>> i'm paraphrasing here but you basically said this is about the best movie making experience you ever had and you're proud of this or as proud of this as an actor of anything you have ever done.

>> you think about the bond formed not only us but everybody in front of and behind the camera trying to bring the story to light it was a very special experience.

>> i got to see the screener last night and i mean, you could have gone out and made another battle movie about the ri gors of war but it's clear you guys wanted to go deeper here and try to answer the question of why. why do these guy dos what they do? why do they form the bonds they do? why do they take the risks for not only their country but each other? how do you answer that question?

>> these guys are a special breed of people and, you know, early on in the process, i was trying to figure out, well, what's my character, what's he like and his father, dan, who he also sat peter down and had a similar experience with him, he read me danny's autopsy report.

>> about the wounds that he suffered.

>> about the wounds that he suffered and different hits different parts of his body and he goes danny kept on fighting to the very end after he had already had these wounds. he kept on fighting. that's the kind of person that all of these guys were.

>> so when you learn things like that about these character who is were real guys, taylor, there's an enormous amount of pressure to get it right when it heads to film.

>> there is and at the beginning that's what brings us together. it's rare to be a part of something that's bigger than all of us. so from day one we're up in the mountain training with the seals and a lot of them served with them or went through training with them or whatever it is and it's from day one. so that's what helps so much.

>> it's really the story of marcus latrell that's been on the story a couple of times.

>> first time i saw marcus was on youtube being interviewed by you.

>> yeah.

>> as an actor you think i get to play this guy who went through this horrific experience, what a great opportunity as an actor. that's your first selfish thought and then you realize this is real and then it doesn't become about you any more. every time i have seen the movie since and we have been doing q and as and watch the movie and all i can think about is what he and the guys experienced. i can't think about what i experienced as an actor.

>> you bring up a q and a and you were doing a screening of the film and the topic turned as you were discussing with marcus right there that somebody raised to you that some actors compared making a movie to going to war and you had a very emotional and blunt reaction. obscenities in that reaction. take me through what you were thinking and why you reacted that way.

>> first of all, what i experienced watching the movie with marcus i was overwhelmed we motion to think about what he experienced and what the guys that never came off the mountain experienced and to have somebody whisper in my ear somebody said it's like going to war and i was guilty of it too. i sat here talking about i trained for 4 1/2 years to become a fighter. it's nothing like what these guys do. we have the luxury of going home , having a shower. having a meal. sleeping in our warm bed. we do it again and it's difficult for us but it doesn't measure up to what those guys do.

>> it's amazing how, you know, i see a lot of movies like this but it's amazing how the emotions you're talking about do come across. there's a lot of very quite moments in this movie and it's in the quite moments that you learn the most about what drives these guys. congratulations guys. it's a powerful film. always good to see you.

>> you too.

>> happy holidays to all of you. lone survivor opens christmas day in new york and los angeles and nationwide on january 10th . just ahead, iconic