At one point, the fate of filming “The Outpost” rested on Scott Eastwood’s broken ankle.
“This was no small thing and it almost shut the entire movie down,” director Rod Lurie said. “It took Scott calling me and saying, ‘I can do this.’”
Eastwood, Lurie, Orlando Bloom and producer Henry Hughes broke down the difficulties of filming “The Outpost” to executive editor Steve Gaydos in the Variety Streaming Room. It tells the real-life story of the 2009 Battle of Kamdesh during the Afghanistan War and is based on the book “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor” by journalist Jake Tapper.
Hughes, who is a veteran, explained the reason to make this film: Veterans “just want people to know this thing happened.”
“’Authenticity’ is a word that can get thrown around, and it certainly is authentic, but it needs to capture the spirit of what it felt like to be there, how monumental it is to be 22 years old and have the weight of responsibility of your soldiers and your country,” Hughes said.
Tapper introduced the film at a screening for veterans and his behavior, Lurie said, embodied just how important it was for them to get the story right.
“He’s tough as nails,” Lurie said of Tapper. “I’ve never seen this guy sweat except the day that we showed this movie to the families of the fallen. He gets up to introduce the film, and I’m looking at his leg and it’s shaking.”
The families cooperated with the filmmakers, and Eastwood even spoke to Sgt. Clint Romesha, whom he plays in the film. Still, they worried about how the families would receive the portrayals of their loved ones and how the film depicted their deaths.
“[Tapper and I] knew that existentially, for our own souls, that this screening was everything,” Lurie said. “But it turned out very well.”
In addition to such pressure, the crew was limited to a shoot that lasted just over a month. Lurie joked their budget matched the craft services budget on “Saving Private Ryan.” Nevertheless, their commitment to accuracy fueled the on-set work ethic. Lurie recalled shooting a near-perfect scene, but when real-life Medal of Honor recipient Ty Carter (played by Caleb Landry Jones) advised an extra was incorrectly carrying a weapon, they redid the scene.
“He’s one of the best listeners I’ve ever come across,” Hughes said of Lurie. “I think that if you’re going to be a storyteller, you have to be able to listen, to know where to pull these things in, and so I think he did capture [the] spirit.”