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‘The Outpost’ stays true to real life in portraying Afghanistan’s deadliest battle

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TAMPA (WFLA) — Rod Lurie always wanted to make a war film.

The West Point alumnus graduated “into the peacetime army” in 1984 and never got to fire a weapon in combat. So he wanted to honor his brothers and sisters in arms with his own art form.

“It had to be this war,” said Lurie.

‘This war’ refers to America’s ongoing conflict in Afghanistan – and this film is a remarkably authentic portrayal of its deadliest battle.

“The Outpost” chronicles the Battle of Kamdesh at Combat Outpost Keating, a fatefully-located American base at the bottom of a mountain range in northeastern Afghanistan. The film stars Scott Eastwood, Orlando Bloom and Caleb Landry Jones.

But it’s more than just a film.

The real stars are several of the soldiers who were actually posted at COP Keating, including Daniel Rodriguez and Henry Hughes. Several more soldiers consulted on the film, lending “The Outpost” an incredible sense of authenticity.

“His [Rodriguez] story is particularly profound because he watched his best friend get killed in that battle, and he had to recreate that for us,” said Lurie. “He showed us exactly how Kevin Thompson died on that day. To watch Daniel go through that was profound. Because he was cold and clinical and very professional in showing us how to portray it, and then he went afterward and fell apart.”

Ty Carter, one of two men who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for the heroism in the battle, was also a consultant.

The film portrays the battle in stunning realism using mostly “oners,” the term Lurie uses to describe a single-camera continuous shot moving throughout the scenes.

“I thought that if you put the camera on somebody – particularly in the battle – and simply follow them the entire way through, that it would create a sense of immersion and tension that anything can happen at any moment, which was in fact the case at that outpost.”

Raw interview with “The Outpost” director Rod Lurie. WARNING: mature language.

Lurie’s films often center on political controversies, including “The Contender” (2000) and “Nothing but the Truth” (2008).

“My dad was the #1 political cartoonist who has ever lived, Ranan Lurie,” said Rod. “So when other kids were following baseball scores, I was following primary results.”

Lurie said the film meant everything to him, partially because his son, Hunter, died during the shooting of the film.

“They had already begun looking for another director,” Lurie said. But his daughter pushed him to return to the set, because Hunter would have wanted him to.

On the plane ride back to Bulgaria to rejoin the crew, Lurie wrote a song called “Everybody Cries,” which is featured near the end of the film and sung by Rita Wilson.

“The song works so well in the film because my son was the same age as the men who died in this battle,” said Lurie. “I wanted everybody in the audience to understand, or help understand, what the sense of loss is when you lose a child. Because every single one of those men is somebody’s child.”

Watch “The Outpost” on Amazon, Google Play, VUDU, iTunes, Fandango, and Microsoft.

Watch Battleground Florida with host Evan Donovan on WFLA News Channel 8 every Sunday morning at 9:30 right before Meet the Press.

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