Friday, November 9, 2007

NEWS FLASH: Channing Tatum's 'Stop-Loss' Gets Screened in New York and Releases Videos from Real Soldiers and Their Wives

Last night the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences held a private screening of Channing Tatum and Ryan Phillippe's highly- anticipated war drama 'Stop-Loss' for people in the film and television industry at the AMC theater at 11th street and 3rd avenue in New York City.

This type of screening is not open to the public, but thanks to Fabulous Channing Tatum Fan Lisa and blogger Emma of Guilt Free Pleasure, CTU readers can learn more about the movie and Channing's exceptional performance as Steve Shriver through Lisa and Emma's recaps of the event.

We are able to learn why award-winning director and writer Kimberly Peirce decided to make the movie. We also learn how her Iraq war veteran brother, Channing's really good friend, and writer Brett (through his role as military and script consultant on the movie) played an integral part in helping her make the film as realistic as possible.

Here is what Lisa had to say about the screening:

I just wanted to shoot you an email about Stop-Loss. I was able to attend a screening last night in NYC and it was AMAZING. I am a big fan of history/war-related subjects and the way Kimberly Pierce wrote/shot/directed this movie was intense, real and touching. All of the actors in the movie did an amazing job and I really thought Steve Shriver was another great role for Channing to show us all his acting chops! I have soldiers in my family and I have friends in the military and the way Channing embodied his part was not only impressive but extremely relevant and realistic. He shined!! And he was the 2nd lead in the movie behind Ryan Phillippe which basically meant a lot of screen time.

Another great thing about the screening was that Kimberly Pierce and Joseph Gordon Levitt were there for a Q&A afterwards. Joe had mentioned how one of the most important parts of the movie for him was to really bond with his fellow actors to portray this band of brothers correctly. He said how all of the actors who played soldiers/brothers really became great friends and to this day still keep in touch and hang out (which he also mentioned was rare in Hollywood).

The story is EXTREMELY important to get out to the public. Stop-Loss is basically a way for the government to pull back soldiers into the war after their signed contract is up. It was a brave subject matter to breach and I gained a whole new level of respect for Kimberly Pierce and everyone involved in the project!

Just wanted to share! Thanks again for everything you do with this site Q!
Here is what Emma had to say about the screening:
"...I would say the best performance was actually Channing Tatum as Phillipe's best friend. Tatum once again unleashes a powerful performance. He was great in "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" as a tough kid from the wrong side of the tracks who is desperately in need of guidance and who makes mistakes but is really a good guy at heart. This role is similar. He's definitely still a tough guy (I mean, with his macho, chiseled features, I don't know if it's possible to cast him as anything else) who needs guidance and makes mistakes. He is also a good guy at heart, trying to hold together his group of friends - who are really like his family when it comes down to it - as it falls apart. I would say one of the most powerful scenes of the movie for me was when, after lots of building tension that leads to a physical fight between Tatum and Phillippe, Tatum rather suddenly bursts into tears. Seeing that big, macho guy break down and sob was like being punched in the gut, especially when 30 seconds before he had been furiously wrestling with Ryan Phillippe.

One interesting thing about the film was how parts of it were shot from the soldiers' POV (as if they were shooting it on home video cameras or even just digital cameras). It's interesting how technology has changed so much that now the soldiers can kind of document the wars for themselves (this is particularly interesting to me because I am currently working on a documentary project about war photographers). It was also interesting because the reason the filmmaker, Kimberly Pierce, chose to do this was inspired by her brother, who was a soldier in Iraq and was showing her his pictures/video from Iraq. Pierce talked about how when her brother was in Iraq she talked to him on IM almost every day too.

Part of what made this movie so disturbing for me personally was that her brother played an integral role in helping her make this film. She wanted to represent soldiers accurately and at first he wouldn't help her because he was essentially like "no one understands unless they go through it." So she was going to go through it. She was going to go to Iraq and spend time with soldiers there. That's when her brother decided to help her make the film - because he didn't want her to go to Iraq because it's not safe. And it doesn't matter how much security you have with you, no one is safe anywhere. So he worked with her on the film and she interviewed a lot of soldiers that she met through him. And the fact that this film was made with the help of soldiers makes it disturbing to me because that means that this very bleak film is an accurate depiction of at least some soldiers' experience with Iraq and it's not just what some outsider wants to think soldiers go through.

It's not a film that was made to demonize the war by someone who has no connection to it - and I wouldn't even necessarily say it demonizes the war, but it certainly paints a grim picture. It's a film that was made in collaboration with people who have fought in the war, and who signed up to fight in the war and to "defend their country," and some of whom probably still support the war even after everything they've gone through. I realize I can't say that therefore the movie applies to all soldiers. A lot of soldiers who see the movie might not have the same perspective because the experience is probably different to everyone who goes through it. But it sounds like the director spoke to a number of soldiers, so at the very least, her depiction represents some soldiers and is trying to be accurate instead of just an angry liberal anti-war movie..."
I would like to give a huge thanks to Lisa and Emma for sharing their experiences at the screening with all of us.

I also learned today that 'Stop-Loss' has released a new section of their website that again demonstrates the film's goal of realism. Their new Sound Off page is a place where you can check out numerous videos made by real soldiers and their wives for the movie.

A soldier by the name of Keith is actually another close friend of Chan's, and you can CLICK HERE to view his video or watch it below by clicking on the play button:

Don't stop with Keith's video. There's so much more where that came from. CLICK HERE to check out even more of these moving videos from our soldiers and their wives and leave your comments. There are many more to come - these are just the first - but they want you to use the comment feature to let them know what you think.

In the very near future, the DIRECTOR and ACTORS of 'Stop-Loss' will make their comments on the videos, and participate in live chats with soldiers, military wives and the public.

Most importantly, whether you believe in this war or not, please show your support for the troops that risk their lives every day for each and every one of us and their families that are desperately hoping they come home safely!

And don't forget to watch 'Stop-Loss' when it hits US theaters March 28, 2008 and UK theaters April 18, 2008. You can CLICK HERE to view the powerful new trailer.

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