Gerard Butler promotes new submarine movie at the Pentagon

Actor Gerard Butler and Navy Vice Adm. Fritz Roegge, current president of the National Defense University, speak about the movie “Hunter-Killer” during a Pentagon news conference, Oct. 15, 2018. DOD photo

Hollywood actor Gerard Butler visited the Pentagon on Tuesday for a press briefing about a new submarine movie produced in collaboration with the US Navy.

Butler plays the commander of the fictional attack sub USS Arkansas in the movie “Hunter-Killer,” due out this week.

The movie posits an operation aimed at averting war with Russia. Butler said it is a chance to bring the submarine genre into the 21st century.

“Hunter-Killer” is a chance to take viewers into submarines and let them see the culture, “and really see how these people think, work, their courage, their intelligence, basically their brilliance,” the actor said.

The plot alternates between the submarine, a special operations team inserted in Russia and the Pentagon.

Navy Vice Adm. Fritz Roegge, now the president of the National Defense University, was the commander of the US Submarine Force in the Pacific. “I was privileged to host Mr. Butler in Pearl Harbor for an orientation to the submarine force,” the admiral said.

The Navy supported the effort even as the service remained “laser-focused” on warfighting in today’s era of great power competition. “But we’re also competing for talent, and in this dynamic economy, it’s more important than ever that we find ways to inspire the next generation of warfighters to consider serving our country in the Navy,” Roegge said.

Butler’s press conference came amid reporters’ criticism over the defense department’s lack of press briefings. With his visit to the Pentagon on Tuesday, Butler has given more Pentagon briefings in the past five months than defense department spokeswoman Dana White, as Task and Purpose pointed out.

Preparing for the movie

Butler was immersed in the submarine culture sailing aboard the USS Houston from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Being aboard the submarine was like being in another world, he said. “I felt like I could spend a year just in sonar. But I was shipped from sonar to the bridge, to navigation to the engine room to the torpedo room because I had a very quick-minded sub commander who wanted to show me every working living part of the submarine – even how to compress trash.”

Butler added, “What I really took out of it was the brilliance and the humility of the sailors I worked with. Not that I didn’t have that appreciation before – I certainly did – but having spent time with them to realize how their minds work and how agile and how creative they have to be. And they are constantly being tested to prove themselves to think logically, to think intuitively, and in all different matters.”

The US Navy provided access and technical support to the filmmakers after DOD officials approved the request in December 2014.

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