LOS ANGELES – Following the box office success of “Lone Survivor,” based off Marcus Luttrell’s 2007 best-seller of the same name about the tragic 2005 Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan, studios are looking for more real-life accounts of SEALs to turn into big budget movies.
A film adaptation of “American Sniper,” a memoir by the highly decorated Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who was killed last year after it's publication, was acquired by Warner Bros. Clint Eastwood is attached as director.
Sources tell FOX411 that Steven Spielberg, who was first attached to direct Kyle's story, as well as Michael Bay, have also been looking at similar projects involving military memoirs.
Producer Mark Joseph says there is a growing consensus in Hollywood that “films that portray the military positively should be developed and green lit… There is an audience for them.”
“Lone Survivor,” which struggled initially to secure financing, has gone on to make almost $115 million at the domestic box office, off of an estimated $40 million production budget.
2012’s “Act of Valor,” which was the first of its kind to cast real SEALs as opposed to actors, made more than $70 million domestically from a $12 million budget.
Luttrell said the difference between a book's reach and a movie's is vast. "No matter how many times I get up and tell (my story), or how many people read the book, it’s nothing compared to how many people will watch this film," he said.
Retired SEAL Brandon Tyler Webb, the author of the best seller "The Red Circle," and editor-in-chief of SOFREP.com, a site dedicated to Special Operations news, stressed the importance of striking the fine balance between entertainment and authenticity.
“It is important to tell these stories and show the sacrifices and give audiences a window into what it is really like,” he explained. “But it has to be done carefully, because people take what they see or read as the truth.”
Another recent book release we’ve learned is generating attention in Hollywood is Eric Blehm’s bestseller “Fearless.” It tells the true story of SEAL Team Six operator Adam Brown, who died in combat in 2010.
“Adam wanted people to know that he was a crack addict and a felon before he became a SEAL, a man of faith, a father and a husband who rose to the top tier of our military. He made it through the top secret clearance to qualify, even with a shot out eye and severed fingers (to join) our most coveted counter terrorism unit,” Blehm said. “He was both tough as nails on the battlefield, but a teddy bear of a dad and a loving husband. In all, a tender warrior.”
However, within much of the SEAL community, there is still great hesitancy with regards to the slew of books and films being written and made about their operations. After all, it is not a profession one seeks for fame or fortune.
“Glamorizing the job is not what we want, most SEALs do not want to see things that are self-serving and the Hollywood BS,” one of Brown’s former SEAL teammates, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “But Adam’s story is something else… he was ultimately the bravest and most fearless patriot I had met in my life.”
And despite Hollywood’s history of hesitancy with portraying devout Christianity, for Brown’s family, his devotion to God is the story. And that if his story makes it to be the big screen, that must be a big part of it.
“It was because of Adam’s faith that he got to where he was. We want people to realize there is hope, especially if you have got faith,” noted Adam’s father, Larry Brown, while Adam’s wife Kelley Brown – who stood by his side throughout his battles with addiction – concurred.
“A film version could impact others in ways that are unimaginable,” she said. “It brings us great joy to witness the path this has all taken, and we trust when it happens, it will be done right to honor Adam, his memory and what he and his fellow SEALs stand for.”
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