Subs, destroyers and SEALs — 4 ways the Navy's going Hollywood


The less-than-stellar box office performance of “Battleship” (avoid the rush; pre-order your DVDs now) isn’t stopping a surge in Navy-themed television and film productions. Here’s a quick look at four sailor-heavy releases headed to a movie theater or TV set near you.

1. Last Resort
When and where: Thursdays this fall, 8 p.m., ABC
What: The fictional USS Colorado is ordered to nuke Pakistan. The commander disobeys the order and is relieved. The sub is shot at by other American forces, escapes to a tropical island, then fires a missile toward Washington. And that’s just the three-minute preview. Don’t believe it?


Who: Starring sub captain Andre Braugher (“Homicide”), XO Scott Speedman (“Felicity”) and Master Chief Robert Patrick (bad guy from “Terminator 2”).
Wait, what?: Judging by the preview, Hollywood’s women-on-subs integration program is moving slightly faster than the Navy’s.
Summary: Apparently, the world’s gone crazy and a group of people on an island (after surviving a disaster) try to figure out where they fit in — it’s worked for ABC before. But will nuclear missiles, government treachery and island-themed firefights play during the 8 p.m. family hour on network TV? It’s a risk, but you can only air “Dancing with the Stars” so many times.

2. The Last Ship
When and where: TNT, now in pilot/development stages
What: Why remake a board game when you can remake a work of post-apocalyptic fiction? According to Deadline: Hollywood, TNT hopes this adaptation of an 80s-era William Brinkley novel about a destroyer’s crew in the aftermath of nuclear war will find a place in the network’s “We know drama” lineup.
Who: Deadline doesn’t list any potential on-camera stars, but producer/director Michael Bay (“Transformers,” “Transformers 2,” etc.) is heavily involved in the project, which should speed the approval process.
Wait, what?: A Cold War period piece about surviving Armageddon — do you air that before the buddy-female-crimefighters show or before the buddy-dude-lawyers show?
Summary: It’s all about adaptation — taking the best bits from Brinkley’s book and updating them for a modern audience. Also, if “Last Resort” hits, “The Last Ship” risks being seen as a copycat Navy-crew-in-nuclear-peril show, even with source material from last millennium.

3. Zero Dark Thirty
In theaters Dec. 19.
What: Filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) reportedly began working on a modern-day special operations thriller about the hunt for Osama bin Laden months before May 2011, when the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 gave her a suggested ending.
Who: Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”), Mark Strong (bad guy from “Sherlock Holmes,” bad guy from “Robin Hood,” etc.).
Wait, what?: How do you tell the inside story about such a top-secret mission? According to a report by Judicial Watch, you get inside access.
Summary: If the movie’s a hit, expect more controversy over whether the government shared too much. If it’s a flop, it might be because reports say the film focuses more on the strategic aspect of special operations and less on the shooting.

4. Code Name: Geronimo
When: No release date set.
What: See No. 3 above, but replace “less on the shooting” with “more on the shooting.”
Who: Freddy Rodriguez (Grindhouse’s “Planet Terror”), Cam Gigandet (“Twilight”), rapper-actor Xzibit. But the highlight of the cast list is the character names: Stunner, Cherry, Trench and Mule, for starters.
Wait, what?: Deadline reports The Weinstein Company could get this film into theaters before “Zero Dark Thirty,” which might help buzz as the bin Laden raid becomes an election-year talking point. IndieWire puts a finer point on that logic (Harvey Weinstein’s an Obama supporter) here. IMDB pegs the release date as 2013, however.
Summary: Rushing a movie to meet a political-advertising window? Not a good sign. But being the first to tell the bin Laden story on the big screen might be more important than being the best at it, from a box-office standpoint.


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