Published March 21, 2013
LOS ANGELES – It’s not your typical Hollywood fare, but “MURPH: The Protector” is bound to tug at every heartstring.
This new feature-length documentary tells the emotional, true life tale of fallen U.S. Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy, a young serviceman who gave his life to save his brothers in combat during a 2005 operation in Afghanistan. Patched together by personal memories voiced from those closest to him, the film paints a picture of a hero far beyond Tinseltownâ€™s fictionalized accounts.
“There is a lack of family-safe material that shows the good side of man,” director Scott Mactavish told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “I hope viewers have a greater appreciation of the sacrifices made not only by the troops, but of those made by their friends and family back home. SEALs aren’t comic book characters. They are real men with families, friends and lives outside the military. They come in all shapes and sizes, but are all incredibly driven and committed.”
Fondly referred to by his peers and loved ones as “Murph,” the New York-raised, Penn State graduate declined law school offers to instead serve his country. In 2005, Lt. Murphy was put in-charge of a four-man SEAL element in support of Operation Red Wing, tasked with finding important anti-coalition militia commander. While in the objective area, the SEALs were detected by goat herders and an intense gun battle was soon ignited with a much larger enemy force. Realizing that it was impossible to make contact with headquarters while firing back from the protection of mountain terrain, Murphy unhesitatingly moved out into prime target view so he could use his satellite device and call in help for his team.
While continuing to be fired upon, as detailed in “MURPH: The Protector,” Murphy made contact with the SOF Quick Reaction Force and provided his unit’s location. A shot in the back caused him to fall and drop the transmitter, and yet he picked it back up and calmly completed the call as the enemy -- and its weaponry -- closed in.
“Roger that, sir,” were his final words once he had given all the necessarily details. “And thank you.”
Murphy’s selfless act attracted great attention at the time, and he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2007. But turning the moving account into a motion picture proved no easy task.
“This story is incredibly compelling and therefore easy to tell,” Mactavish explained. “But as a non-Hollywood guy, fundraising was incredibly difficult.”
Yet if all goes well during the film’s theatrical run, the filmmakers hope to finalize a deal to make the movie available on military bases, in addition to a foreign distribution deal. A portion of the proceeds from the film will go to Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, which was formed by his family after his death in 2005.
But above all, the forces behind the film simply hope that audiences gain a deeper understanding of who we should really be revering here in America.
“It is nice in this age of the generating of celebrities and people that have contributed nothing to this world, that someone like Michael Murphy, someone who is such a ridiculously, unbelievable individual, now has people looking up to him,” one of his friends says in the documentary. “He is the type of person people should look up to, and that they should name things after.”
“MURPH: The Protector” premieres at select Regal Entertainment Group Theaters on Friday, March 22nd.