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Veterans Star In ‘Range 15’ Movie

By Dan Lamothe, The Washington Post

Near the end of the newly released trailer for the forthcoming movie “Range 15,” Navy SEAL veteran Marcus Luttrell is seen wild-eyed, covered in war paint and holding a rifle in each hand. “Don’t… worry… about… a thing!” he exclaims, clearly excited to be fighting off zombies.

With that, he is tackled by an apparent flesh eater, as his new friends and fellow military veterans groan. “It looks like we’re the lone survivors now,” quips one of them, former Army Ranger Mat Best.

The joke is inappropriately funny on a couple levels. Best seems completely indifferent that a fellow military veteran is about have his brains slurped on by a zombie. And of course, Luttrell is best known as the “Lone Survivor,” the only member of a four-man SEAL team to survive a heartbreaking day in Afghanistan in 2005 — one that resulted in him receiving the Navy Cross, one step down from the Medal of Honor in honoring combat heroism, and was eventually depicted in a movie starring Mark Wahlberg.

That’s the hook on “Range 15,” the forthcoming movie starring numerous high-profile military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Hollywood talent like Danny Trejo and William Shatner. The movie, whose trailer debuted at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday, appears to be riddled with profanity and gallows humor, and makes it clear that veterans will be in on all the jokes. Think “Sharknado,” but with more wisecracks about the military.

The trailer was released online Tuesday, giving the rest of the world a hint at what’s to come. Actors shown in the trailer include Luttrell and Best, recent Medal of Honor recipients Leroy Petry and Clint Romesha and Tim Kennedy, a Special Forces soldier who also competes in mixed martial arts professionally in the UFC. Brian Stann, a Marine who earned a Silver Star for valor in Iraq and fought in the UFC, also makes an appearance.

The movie is funded using donations from the crowd-funding website Indiegogo. To date, “Range 15″ has raised more than $1 million while promising that “this movie is so hardcore military it makes Hollywood wet itself and run home crying to mommy.”

The plot, as best surmised from the new trailer: An airplane crashes somewhere in the United States, unleashing a killer virus that turns people into zombies. The crew of veterans rally to the rescue, and are told by a dying man that they have to get to Range 15 — a gun range on a military base, one might assume — to link up with some scientists and bring them the cure. Or something like that.

The movie’s fundraising success is in no small part due to individuals like Best, who has more than 587,000 followers on Facebook and regularly publishes irreverent videos with himself as the star. He runs Article 15, a veteran-themed T-shirt company. Another entrepreneur and Army veteran, Nick Palmisciano, also figures prominently in the movie’s production and fund-raising, and runs the Ranger Up clothing company.

Best said on Facebook on Tuesday that he and Palmisciano “set out to show how powerful the Veteran Community can be when we work together. So here’s to a lot of hard work and not giving a f— about the Hollywood ‘Rules’.”

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