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About The Production
The task of training the cast to effectively portray the Navy SEAL heroes in Tears of the Sun fell to Navy veteran and military technical advisor Harry Humphries, who spent sixteen years as a Navy SEAL. During his decorated career with the Navy, he served as both a SEAL operator and a Provincial Reconnaissance Unit Advisor with the Phoenix Program's Counter Terrorist Unit. As he had done in several other military-themed movies over the past decade (Black Hawk Down, G.I. Jane), Humphries put together a regimen to whip the film's eight male stars into shape to accurately portray Navy SEALs and weather the grueling conditions in which the film would be shot.

"We had an excellent group led by Bruce Willis," Humphries reports. "We were given two weeks to concentrate on the specific skills required for this particular project. Whatever they were going to use in the film -- weapons, tactics, combat techniques -- by the time they finished their two weeks training, they knew how to do it inside-and-out."

On location in Hawaii, the actors started off the day with two hours of boot camp and rigorous physical training and then embarked on maneuvers to learn the specifics on how to function as a team. Both on and off camera, the actors remained in character, addressing each other by their character names.

"This kind of film was something I'd wanted to do for a long time," Humphries adds. "To show that SEALs are not just machines. They're human beings. I want the audience to see what SEALs really are, how professional they really are. And how human they are."

In addition to daily exercises, Willis and his co-stars visited the Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) at Kaneohe Bay for weapons demonstrations and handling instructions. (One member of the acting team, screen newcomer Charles Ingram was the real McCoy, a former Force Recon Marine with more than four years of military service. The role of Demetrius "Silk" Owens marks his dramatic acting debut after breaking into the entertainment business as a stuntman on Black Hawk Down and The Matrix Reloaded).

"Harry Humphries brought a great deal of authenticity to the film," remarks producer Ian Bryce. "He taught them all the military movements and the language. He also coordinated our activities with the Department of Defense. Tears of the Sun is the first movie about Navy SEALs to receive the full cooperation and endorsement of the United States Navy and Department of Defense. It was crucial to our story to have the military on board. From the very start they helped us with the proper terminology and behavior. We were given access to such hardware as Navy Sea Hawks, Army Black Hawks and F-18s. We also received permission to film aboard an active nuclear aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman."

Before settling on Hawaii, veteran location manager Liz Matthews scoured the globe looking for the perfect spot to represent equatorial Africa. She scouted sites as diverse as Mozambique, South Carolina, Florida, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Australia and New Zealand. When the decision was made to keep the production inside the U.S., Hawaii was chosen, according to production designer Naomi Shohan, "because of the similarities in climate and elevation. The rain forest and the general foliage in Hawaii are an excellent match for the African rain forest."


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