Articles

This small military office influences some of Hollywood's biggest films

 


A small office in Los Angeles is responsible for determining whether the Department of Defense will support some of Hollywood's biggest military blockbusters.

Overseen by former Navy videographer Phil Strub at the Pentagon, the Wilshire Blvd. office houses personnel from the Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marines. In Hollywood, it's the first place filmmakers look if they need support from the military.

"Our criteria [for which films we support] are very broad and rather subjective," Strub told the Army Times in 2013. "We're looking for an opportunity to inform the American public ... At the same time, we look at whether we can support it logistic­ally. We've been pretty busy."

From Business Insider:

Hollywood is usually willing to play ball with Strub because his blessing means a huge break for a film's production budget.

[Last year's] Oscar-nominated "Captain Phillips," for example, used a U.S. military guided missile destroyer, an amphibious assault ship, several helicopters, and members of SEAL Team Six, who play themselves but are not on active duty — all courtesy of the U.S. Navy, who were able to work the shoot into their training.

Hollywood has enjoyed support from the U.S. military for almost as long as films have been made. Indeed, the first film to receive an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1927 was the silent film "Wings," which had support from the Army Air Force to accurately portray training and combat during World War I, according to DoD Live.

In addition to films, the office also helps with television shows, music videos, and video games. Recent projects that were supported include "Iron Man 2," "Army Wives," and "Terminator Salvation." But it has also offered support to other massive Hollywood blockbusters, such as "Top Gun," "Act of Valor," and "Black Hawk Down" — which received military technical advisors, weapons, vehicles, helicopters, and even a real-life Ranger regiment to ensure accuracy, according to About.com.

Not all military movies get the Pentagon green-light however. "Apocalypse Now," "Platoon," and "The Deer Hunter" received no military support, according to About.com. The same goes for recent films like "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Argo," according to Business Insider.

"Films are denied Pentagon support by Strub if they show the military in a negative light, such as scenes that include drug use, murder, or torture without subsequent punishment," writes Aly Weisman at BI.

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