Milius joins military training op at USC

Project to create virtual reality, simulation for troops

Writer/director John Milius (“Apocalyspe Now,” “Clear and Present Danger”) has become the first prominent member of the Hollywood community to join forces with USC’s fledgling Institute for Creative Technologies.

Milius has come aboard as a creative consultant to the ITC, a research and development operation funded by a $45 million U.S. Army grant to create virtual reality and simulation technologies for training troops.

“I always wanted a military career but due to the fact that I had asthma, I was never able to serve,” Milius said. “When the project started, I asked the Army to draft me. They did and it’s an honor.”

Milius began working with other ITC staffers last month on the project, which is aimed at responding to the need for the military to prepare troops for making on-the-ground decisions in future combat situations.

“Through his enormous body of work, John has shown a deep understanding of the human condition and the ways that conflict can be resolved,” said ITC executive director Richard Lindheim. “Furthermore, our efforts will benefit greatly from his vision of the world in the near future and the techniques and procedures that will be needed to maintain security.”

Milius and Francis Ford Coppola received an Academy Award nomination for adapted screenplay for “Apocalypse Now.” Other writing credits include “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean,” “Dirty Harry,” “Magnum Force,” and “Geronimo: An American Legend;” he served as writer-director on “The Wind and the Lion,” “Big Wednesday,” “Flight of the Intruder,” “Farewell to the King” and “Red Dawn.”

ITC has also hired Paul Debevec, one of the visual effects masterminds behind “The Matrix,” as an executive producer (Daily Variety, May 18). It plans to make its first report to the Army later this year with the goal of developing “post-Internet” immersive learning applications for industry, entertainment and education.

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