10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY MOVIES

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

Kevin Kent is one of the most experienced and trusted military advisors in Hollywood. With over 20 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL, specializing in evasive driving, air operations, diving, & weapons handling/ instruction, while traveling to hundreds of countries, he definitely has the experience to back it up. He currently works as a director, producer, actor, stuntman, personal security specialist, weapon’s instructor, and a Military/ Police & Technical Advisor in the film industry, as part of Global Studies Group International. WATM sat down with Kent to learn more about his background, his experience in the Navy and how it all translates to the big screen.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan
  1. Can you share about your family and your life growing up?

I am the youngest of three boys. My father was a 22-year Army veteran and served in Vietnam. I was born in Greece and my brothers were born at various spots around the globe. My mom is a nurse and I had a disciplined childhood. My father retired from the Army when I was about five years old and we moved back to northwest Tennessee in the late 70s where my parents had grown up. My parents were very goal-oriented people and that education was important. We were driven to do our best and learn something. My grandparents had a farm where I grew up hauling hay and cutting tobacco, so it was hard work. I played baseball and football growing up. I am an Eagle Scout and was heavily involved in scouting. Both of my brothers are Eagle Scouts. We camped a lot and spent much time outdoors. 

Accountability was a key family value that was stressed. Being in the military reinforced some of those values taught as a kid. Holding yourself and others around you accountable. Don’t succumb to peer pressure. If you screw up, own it. Write down goals and set out a path. You never think your parents are as smart as they actually are until you grow up.

  1. What made you want to become a SEAL and what was your experience like?

I did not want to go to college while in high school where I was more hands on and desired to build something or travel. I couldn’t see myself sitting in a classroom. I was given guidance but come from a small town where a lot of the industry had dried up. The town went from 20,000 people living there to about 10,000 because of the industry drying up. The military was the best thing for me and my father gave me the advice to join the Navy instead of the Army for EOD school. He shared that the Navy owns the school and will get dive training out of it. The Navy is a better fit for who I was. I didn’t care for the Navy uniforms at the time, Cracker Jack guy. My mom was happy about me joining the Navy. My oldest brother was in the Army as well. You couldn’t be an EOD tech until you were an E-5, so it was a long road. You couldn’t get orders to the school until you were an E-5. The EOD school is technically hard, similar to Navy Nuke school. 

Before leaving for bootcamp I was informed about the SEAL program. I had some knowledge of the program and knew it was going to be tough. I joined the Navy a few months after high school and went into a dive program to train for BUD/S. All of the guys in the program were in my bootcamp company. I went to bootcamp in Orlando, FL. You had to pass your first Physical Screening Test with a certain score and times for the program. You had to pick a source rating (Navy Fleet MOS) if you washed out of BUD/S. I ended up with Gunner’s Mate and had to do a six-month long course. I reported to Great Lakes, MI and was part of a galley detail to prepare food for the rest of the base, so my class didn’t start up for another two months. That was my first taste of the military’s “hurry up and wait.” 

After graduating A school, BUD/S was backed up so the Navy was sending candidates to dive commands. It was so weird because I ended up at the EOD school in Indian Head, MD which is the same one my dad went through. I spent six months at the command getting ready for BUD/S. I went to BUD/S in 1994 and graduated in 1995 where I was sent to SEAL Team Five in 1995. I went to Jump School on my way to my unit. I made E-4 right before “Hell Week” and checked into SEAL Team Five with nothing much going on. I was assigned to SEAL Tactical Training upon arriving at my unit. It used to be where each team would run its own STT training that tailored it to the unit’s missions. SEAL Team Five used to be a colder weather unit. 

I did nine deployments overall and was initially with SEAL Team Five for ten years. At the time there were SEALs that had been with one team for twenty years. My first deployment I ended up in the Persian Gulf after Desert Storm. In that deployment we were involved in recon and ship boarding in the region. My first deployment into Iraq in 2003 was eye opening to see how people can be oppressed, especially women by the Baath party. We were digging up mass graves in countries where people were getting closure on their lost relatives. It is insurmountable with forensic people laying out countless human bones on mats to where Iraqis are waiting to see if their family member(s) are among the bones. We took over a dam in the early part of the invasion that was in the eastern part of Iraq. The dam was near Tikrit and further east. We had dune buggies to traverse around the areas. We had a lot of helicopter supporters and two C-130s on station for support. Once we got on the ground, we secured the dam. 

The next day we were driving around scouting everything where there was a village close to the dam. It was amazing seeing some of the kids where they were blonde haired and blue-eyed Persians. It was like something out of Alexander the Great and being from another time. We found a lot of anti-aircraft guns loaded close to the dam that were unmanned. If someone had been on one of these guns when we came in via helicopter we would have been shot out of the sky. We turned over the dam to a Marine Corps unit later on. The Iraqi people in the village welcomed us with open arms. People from the village also showed up to the dam for work where we had to turn them away. 

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

Kent on being secured from “Hell Week” at BUD/S class 198. Photo credit KK.

  1. What are you most proud of from your service in the Navy?

I’m most proud of the group of men that I was able to stand side by side with and do great things for oppressed people in the world, such as those in Iraq and other places in the world. I believe that this Country is the greatest in the world and having our presence in many places brings hope to those individuals who might never have any type of freedom or individual rights. I’ve stood at the edge of mass gravesites, while looking mothers, fathers, sons and daughters in their eyes, as they hoped that the large excavating machine would reveal whether or not these people’s loved ones were buried there many decades prior to our occupation of their home. Just so they could get closure.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

Kent during his time as a SEAL. Photo credit KK.

  1. What values have you carried over from the Navy into Hollywood? 

Harry Humphries has been my mentor and has trained me well. I have brought over “Train like you fight” from my service, especially when instructing the technical part of the role. I cut my teeth on “The Last Ship” for five seasons with Harry, which was a constant cycle of work. Actors would come to pitch me ideas on the show of what to do tactically, where it added a lot of realism to the show. Credibility is key and we want to make sure the actors are training and doing rehearsals. The camaraderie aspect of the work I do is great. We had a tight knit group in the most recent season of “Jack Ryan.” For season two of the show I was in Columbia by myself as an adviser. We got so close working together down in Columbia it kind of felt like I was in a platoon again. The actors want to remain authentic as military-types and they want to do a good job. 

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

Kent on his retirement day from the SEALs. Photo credit KK.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

Kent at his retirement ceremony. Photo credit KK.

  1. What was one of the toughest lessons to learn coming from the service to Hollywood?

One of the better lessons learned was in Season Two of “The Last Ship” where I was working with Keith Woulard where he sees me talking with some actors. As a note, my last two years in the military I was a BUD/S instructor as a third phase weapons chief, so I could be intense. Keith comes up to me and asks, “What am I doing?” He gives me tips such as tell the actors they are doing something right first and then telling them where they are messing up. So, I may have been a little hard on them where they are actors and not SEALs.

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“The Last Ship” 2018 (L>R Bridget Regan, Eric Dane, Kevin Kent)

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

Kent with Mike Moriarty and Harry Humphries. Photo credit IMDB.com.

  1. What was it like working on projects such as Twelve Strong, Bumblebee, 13 Hours, Kong: Skull Island, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Last Ship, Da 5 Bloods and the like? 

All of the directors on those projects were professional where I would work with them again if the opportunity arose. Each project offered a different challenge as shared with “Jack Ryan.” 13 Hours with Michael Bay was great where he was such a huge influence on me. Bay puts us in a place to succeed where he wants military guys a part of the production and in the cast. 13 Hours set me up for success on “Jack Ryan” with John Krasinski where John wants to make everything look better. Twelve Strong was my first opportunity working with Jerry Bruckheimer where it was eye opening. Bruckheimer is a machine when it comes to producing. Bruckheimer and Ian Bryce were just phenomenal to work with. 

We were surprised when we went to Thailand to work with Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods. Lee is so organized and knows exactly what he wants. Lee was okay with me training the actors every day where on other productions that would not fly. The stunt guys were getting so many repetitions where it definitely showed in the finished product. He knows everybody’s job on set to where after a take he would ask me what we thought about a take. He would encourage me to  go give people notes if needed. Lee filmed the flashback sequences on 16mm film, which was the first time we have ever seen film on a set before. 

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Filming on Transformers 4 (2014) in Detroit (L>R, Titus Welliver, Kevin Kent, Michael Bay, Andrew Arrabito, Kenny Sheard).

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

Kent on set with the cast of 12 Strong. Photo credit IMDB.com.

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12 Strong 2018 (L>R David H. Venghaus Jr, Kevin Kent, Chris Hemsworth)

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13 Hours 2016 (L>R David Furr, Demetrius Grosse, Kevin Kent, Mike Moriarty, David Giuntoli)

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

Kent on set with the cast of 13 Hours. Photo credit IMDB.com. 

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Season 1 of “Jack Ryan” in Morocco (2017) (Kneeling L>R Wendell Pierce, John Hoogenakker, Joost Janssen,

Standing L>R Ron Culpepper, Geoff Reeves, Mike Moriarty, John Krasinski, Kevin Kent, Todd Sharbutt, Christian Stewart, Scott Foxx.

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Season 2 of “Jack Ryan” in Colombia (Kevin Kent as Savage)

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

On set with Jeff Ward (stunt coordinator), Humphries, Kent and stunt team members of Da 5 Bloods. Photo credit KK. 

  1. What leadership lessons in life and from the SEALs have helped you most in your career?

Praise in public and chastise in private. Always take responsibility as a leader. It’s easy to be the leader when things are going great, but when Michael Bay comes and says, “What are you doing?”, it is not always that easy. My deployments have given me life perspective and patience in tough situations. I recognize where we are at and what needs done, I stay calm in the intense moments on set. 

  1. As a service, how do we get more veteran stories told in the Hollywood arena?

I feel like most individuals coming from the military are extremely humble about their service and aren’t inclined to tell  “war stories” to people they don’t know. In many ways, those actions and stories are sacred to the brothers-in-arms that lived those tales, and many guys feel vulnerable to be judged by others who perhaps didn’t live through those specific interactions or battles. However, if there was a way to get some of these high influence personal, such as Medal of Honor recipients to open up about their specific challenges and victories downrange, while either leading or being led by phenomenal service members, it might lead more people to open up and tell their stories. Even getting these stories on a podcast with guys like Jocko Willink, who has a great platform and could lead to potential books being written or interest in films made about these phenomenal individuals. Obviously, it would take someone with some clout in the industry, like a Bruckheimer or Bryce to develop these stories into something meaningful for the screen. Tom Hanks has done great things with his production team for projects such as “Band of Brothers”, “The Pacific”, and Saving Private Ryan to name a few. I would love to take on a military project as part of a proven team like that and I’m sure the Harry Humphries story needs to be told!

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

Navy SEALs vs. Zombies (2015)

  1. What would you like to do next in your career?

I want to get into writing, producing and second unit directing. I started the Digital Cinematography program at Full Sail University. It has got me out of my comfort zone and has helped hone my technical skills, especially with editing in Premiere Pro. Harry and his wife Catherine have been very supportive of my education. I really want to stress how great she & Harry have been in bringing me into this industry. I filmed a couple of documentaries and my kids are into acting right now. It would be great to work with fellow veterans as well. One of the things that pushed me in this direction was having worked on “Jack Ryan” where I worked with Dennie Gordon, she did season two of the show. She is phenomenal at her craft and is a great person. We have kept in contact with each other since our time on “Jack Ryan.” She would let me set up and block shots for the series. It pushed me to get my stuff together and learn about the craft. I can now talk to the director and the cinematographer about the shots in a technical manner. 

I was humbled to meet Patricia Riggen as well on “Jack Ryan” where her and her husband Checco Varese who is a cinematographer. There was a mutual feeling of respect between Patricia and Check where I learned as much from them as they did me. They both pulled me aside and told me how much they want to work with me again and the feeling was the same from me as well. It has been amazing where I am grateful in having people like them and more take time with me and mentor me. It has been great working with so many high-level people.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

Kent with his twin boys. Photo credit KK.

  1. What are you most proud of in life and your career?

The fact that I was able to hold my family together. I have been married now for 18 years, I have twin boys that are 15 and a daughter that is 11. I am grateful to be able to teach and mold them into the productive members of society I want them to be. Being deployed so much kept me away where my wife is a saint. She puts up with me being gone all the time and is the glue that holds everything together. 

One of my son’s has expressed interest in joining the service when he is old enough. My sons were introduced to acting when they were young by my wife since they are twins. They played Bill Paxton’s son for five seasons on the HBO show “Big Love”, which put me on set to be with them. They did the last two seasons of “Weeds” as the son of Mary Louise Parker. The boys were nominated separately for the same award for the Imagen foundation (https://www.imagen.org/) which is for Hispanics in Entertainment. They did a show called “Room 104” where they were nominated for best young actor award for TV. It is crazy when one of my sons says, “I don’t know dad it might be cool to be a Navy SEAL.” I told them, “They are on a gravy train with biscuit wheels right now, you guys need to stay on this whole acting gig.” 

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Mrs. Kent with Gavin and Ethan at the Imagen Awards Ceremony. Photo credit KK.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

Kent with his wife and family. Photo credit KK.

MIGHTY MOVIES

‘Endgame’ writers say only one of the X-Men would’ve lived to fight Thanos

“Avengers: Endgame” is officially the biggest movie of all time but if the Russo brothers had their way, it would have been even more epic. In a recent interview, the “Endgame” director duo spoke about what the movie would have looked like if the X-Men existed in the MCU and which of the mutant crew would have survived Thanos’ snap at the end of “Infinity War.”

The Russo Brothers said that all of the X-Men would have been wiped away when Thanos snapped the Infinity Gauntlet except for one: Wolverine.

“I’d love to see a fiercely motivated Wolverine going up against Thanos,” Joe Russo told IGN.


This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as Wolverine has long been the most beloved member of the X-Men and it would have been truly amazing to get to watch him team up with the Avengers to take down Thanos.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

“It’s not our job to give the people what they want, it’s to give them what they need,” Joe added.

Of course, this was only able to exist in the Russo’s minds, as the X-Men were under the umbrella of 21st Century Fox. But with Disney acquiring Fox earlier this year, it seems that the door is now open for Wolverine, Professor X, and the rest of the X-Men crew joining the MCU. And while it may be too late for Wolverine and Thanos to face-off for the fate of the universe, we would still be excited to see what the Russo Brothers can do with these legendary characters.

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Military brat & Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins just announced ‘Rogue Squadron’

On Dec. 10, there were a lot of amazing announcements from Disney and friends, but one that stuck out the most to me was Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins’ video for her upcoming feature film Rogue Squadron. I went into it blind, and if you haven’t watched it yet, then, well, you’re not precisely going in blind, but watch the video:

The video opens on Jenkins roller blading on what looks to be a flight line. She reaches her car and takes off her blades as she casually talks to the camera. 

“I love to move fast. I think that’s because I grew up the daughter of a great fighter pilot and every day I would wake up and go outside and look up and see my father and his squadron taking off in their F-4s, roaring across the sky and it was the most thrilling thing still I’ve experienced in my entire life,” Jenkins shares.

In 2017, her breakthrough hit film Wonder Woman grossed over $821 million worldwide, making it the tenth highest-grossing film of the year as well as the highest-grossing film by a solo female director (Captain Marvel, co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck earned $1.128 billion worldwide). The duo, and others, are proving with consistency that there’s a hunger for heroic content helmed by women.

“So when [my father] lost his life in service to this country, it ignited a desire in me to turn all of that tragedy and thrill in to making the greatest fighter pilot movie of all time.” Her father, William Jenkins, died during a NATO training exercise when she was seven years old, an event that naturally left a profound impression on her.

As her career has taken off (like, Emmy-nominated, Time Person of the Year nominated taken off), she searched for a story about flight — but couldn’t find the right one. Until now. 

“Now I found a movie about two things I love, so I’m going to see you very soon,” she hinted.

And with that, she donned an iconic orange rebel flight suit and helmet and walked to an X-Wing fighter. 

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

Rogue Squadron will mark the first time a woman has directed a Star Wars film and, according to Luscasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, the movie will usher in a new era after the Skywalker saga and “introduce a new generation of starfighter pilots as they earn their wings and risk their lives in a boundary-pushing high-speed thrill ride. The legend of Rogue Squadron has been long beloved by fans and will move us into a future era of the galaxy.”

Rogue Squadron, named for the Rogue One squad that sacrificed themselves to procure the plans to the Death Star, is the starfighter squadron formed after the Battle of Yavin in Star Wars: A New Hope. It’s featured perhaps most prominently in the Rogue Squadron video game series.

“When the perfect story arrived in combination with another true love of mine, the incomparable world of Star Wars, I knew I’d finally found my next film. I’m extremely honored and excited to take it on, and grateful to Lucasfilm, Disney, and the fans for extending that thrill to me.”

MIGHTY MOVIES

The new ‘Stranger Things’ trailer feels like the series could be ending

The next season of the 1980s-horror-nostalgia-fest that is Stranger Things will debut on July 4, 2019, on Netflix and in the new trailer, it really feels like the series could be ending. Because of one specific plot element, this excellent trailer for Stranger Things 3 makes a strong case that perhaps, the series could — and should — end after this season.

On June 20, 2019, Netflix released the final trailer for the third season of Stranger Things. Unlike season 2, in which Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown) was separated from Lucas, Mike, and Will for almost the entire season, this time around, everyone is back together and clearly hanging out in the town of Hawkins. This is smart because what made season 1 of Stranger Things so great was the fact it went small to go big, and it looks like season 3 is the same; keeping it local in Hawkins, reminding everyone why they loved the show in the first place.


The new season looks great, and it’s super exciting to see how the kids will defeat the Upside Down creatures once and for all. Speaking of which…that roar at the end of the trailer was clearly the Mind Flayer creature from season 1, and it seems like the Mind Flayer itself is narrating the trailer. All the kids are worried: maybe it never left? Maybe it’s possessed one of the regular cast! Oooh, spooky!

(Netflix)

Honestly, I love this trailer and the 12-year-old in me thinks it’s right to make the stakes in season 3 about familiar creatures. Eleven wonders aloud: “It doesn’t make sense…I closed the gate.” But clearly, she didn’t. When you’re a little kid, this is how sequels always worked in your mind: Let’s just bring back the monster from the first story, only bigger, badder and grodier than before. The fact that Stranger Things season 3 isn’t trying to do something experimental, but instead is doing something safe is why this trailer kicks ass. It’s why I want to see this season RIGHT NOW.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcnHOQ-cHa0
Stranger Things 3 | Official Final Trailer | Netflix

www.youtube.com

But, the return of the Mind Flayer and the continued questioning of whether or not the Upside Down has really been sealed off makes me think this really should be the final season of Stranger Things. Last year series star Millie Bobby Brown got everyone worried that the show was ending after this season but then clarified that she wasn’t saying that outright. However, she also didn’t say there 100 percent was going to be a season 4 after this. So, right now, no one actually knows.

Because the new trailer is so focused on resolving old conflicts, it feels like season 3 could really be the end. But then again, because we haven’t seen it yet, we don’t know that for sure, either. Still, as much as I love Stranger Things doubling-down on its own nostalgia, how much nostalgia is left in the Upside Down? If Eleven closes that dimensional doorway again should we really re-open it?

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

5 tech predictions ‘Blade Runner’ got wrong about 2019

Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” hit theaters in 1982, but it takes place in Los Angeles of November 2019.

The movie showed audience member in 1982 a dystopian future world, one where the earth is dark and polluted. Blade runners, like Harrison Ford’s character, are tasked with tracking down human-like robots called replicants, and killing, or “retiring,” them.

Some things the film predicted about 2019 have turned out to be mostly right. Although the earth isn’t in as bad of shape as it is in the movie, climate change is an increasingly pressing issue. Robots play bigger roles in our lives than ever before, and voice assistant are fairly common. But, not every prediction in the 1982 film has come true, at least not yet.

Here are five things the movie got wrong about 2019.


10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

(Screenshot)

1. The movie predicted flying cars, and we’re not even close.

Some companies have built prototypes for flying vehicles that are branded as “flying cars” or “flying taxis,” but they’re far less capable than those in “Blade Runner.” More progress has been made creating and testing self-driving cars.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

2. We would have robots that are so human-like, they require a test to distinguish between humans and robots.

Despite recent advances in AI, we don’t have replicants, and modern robots are definitely not easily mistaken for humans.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

(Blade Runner)

3. In Blade Runner’s 2019, smoking was still common, even indoors.

Many states in the US have banned or limited smoking indoors in a public space, including California, which is where “Blade Runner” is set.

The movie didn’t see the rise of vaping coming.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

(Blade Runner Warner Bros)

4. In the film, people have colonized parts of space.

Today, despite the hopes of tech execs like Elon Musk, we’re still years away from that being a reality.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

(Blade Runner Warner Bros)

5. Polaroids play an important role in the film, and digital photos don’t really exist.

Polaroids are still around today, but they’re mostly for fun and not anyone’s primary way of taking and storing photos.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

Articles

Nicki Minaj joins the dubious list of A-list pop stars who are cool with performing for dictators

Last week rapper Nicki Minaj performed a concert in Angola, which is not necessarily a big deal except she reportedly received $2 million dollars for the show from Unitel, a mobile phone company owned by the family of Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos. Dos Santos has been in power in Angola for 36 years and is widely considered a dictator.


Minaj posted photos of herself with the President’s daughter Isabel dos Santos on her Instagram, saying:

“Oh no big deal…she’s just the 8th richest woman in the world. (At least that’s what I was told by someone b4 we took this photo) Lol. Yikes!!!!! GIRL POWER!!!!! This motivates me soooooooooo much!!!!”

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

According to an open letter to Minaj from the The Human Rights Foundation, the Dos Santos family make their money through “exploiting Angola’s diamond and oil wealth to amass an illegitimate fortune while maintaining control over all branches of the government, the military, and civil society … it his policy to harass, imprison, or kill politicians, journalists, and activists who protest his rule.” Minaj performed the show anyway, which she has a right to do. There are no limitations for visiting or working in Angola.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan
. . . unless you’re an Angolan diamond miner. Then you’re not allowed to stop working.

There is still the stigma of legitimizing what is one of the top most corrupt governments in the world (the most in southern Africa). But Nicki Minaj is not the first star to perform for a questionable government. Here’s a rundown of a few other A-listers who’ve been willing to make despot’s toes tap:

1. Jennifer Lopez -Berdymukhamedov’s Turkmenistan

“We wish you the very, very, happiest birthday,” Lopez said to Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov before singing to him at a huge celebration in his central Asian country.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan
Sparkly outfits are par for the course when serenading someone who built a gold statue of himself.

Human Rights Watch calls the Berdymukhamedov regime “one of the most repressive in the world, marked by new levels of repression.” Berdymukhamedov seized power in 2007 after the only person more mad than he is, Saparmurat Niyazov, died. (Niyazov changed his language’s word for bread to his mother’s name, renamed the month of September after the book he wrote, and once tried to build a permanent structure made out of ice in the middle of the desert). Berdymukhamedov proceeded to honor himself with a giant bronze and gold statue of his likeness in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat.

2. Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Usher, Bon Jovi and 50 Cent – Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya

Leaked diplomatic cables confirm Queen Bey and Company performed gigs at parties thrown by Qaddafi’s sons Hannibal and Mutassim in Italy and St. Barths. All four claim they donated their fees to earthquake relief in Haiti. Also, Lindsay Lohan was there.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan
It was that kind of party.

Hannibal escaped Libya during the civil war that ousted his father. He was briefly taken captive in Lebanon this month but was set free soon after. Mutassim got his around the same time as his father, when he was captured by Libyan rebels outside of Sirte. The rebels stabbed him in the throat.

3. Nelly Furtado – Also Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya

Around the same time as Beyoncé’s work with the Qaddafi family came out, Furtado self-identified on Twitter. She was paid $1 million to perform for the family at an Italian hotel in 2007. (Which seems remarkable because few can name two Nelly Furtado songs without googling her, and the Qaddafis liked her enough to buy an entire concert.) Still, Furtado wasn’t Colonel Qaddafi’s true love. We all know who that was:

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan
Hint: It’s not the Cleveland Browns.

The singer promised to give the money away to an unnamed charity. In 2012, she released a song called Arab Spring.

4. Michael Jackson – King Hamad’s Bahrain

It’s hard to call a U.S. ally a dictatorship, but while half their bicameral legislature features elected officials, the other half is appointed by the King who can rule by decree. When the late King of Pop fled there in 2005 after being acquitted of child molestation charges, the Khalifa family provided for him in exchange for a private show and a recorded album.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan
While we’re on the subject, can we talk about why some pop stars start dressing like dictators?

While the singer took the money from the dictator, he never made good on the promise of a performance or a recorded album, so maybe Jackson was performing a service by swindling the monarch.

5. Sting – Karimov’s Uzbekistan

In 2009, Sting performed for a man who’s best known for boiling his enemies alive. Islam Karimov’s rule was celebrated via a festival funded and planned by his daughter, Gulnara Karimova, the “Uzbek Princess.”

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan
Uzbek dictator Islam Karim shaking hands with one of the few guys on the planet who scare him.

The Uzbek regime is the dictatorship likened closest to North Korea. Karimov is so power mad, he sees his daughter’s popularity as a threat, jailing her and her family in her home. Sting accepted a $2 million payment for his performance. Sting refused to apologize, saying he believed that boycotts only isolate dictator-ruled countries. Karimov banned Sting’s music shortly afterward because the Police alum called him a dictator.

6. Lionel Richie – Qaddafi’s Libya. Again.

Richie was the first to perform for the dictator’s family inside Libyan borders, though it was a celebration of Qaddafi surviving a U.S. attack on his compound in Tripoli, in front of the bombed-out compound which Qaddafi never rebuilt. The singer has never spoken about the performance.

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Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?

7. James Brown, B.B. King, Bill Withers – Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire

Sese Seko put on a festival celebrating his rule in what he called Zaire (now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1974. The dictator, who would go on to embezzle $5 billion, put up the cost of the Zaire 74 Festival, which was promoted by famed boxing promoter Don King as part of the build up to the Mohammed ali-George Foreman fight (dubbed the “Rumble in the Jungle”).

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8. Kanye West – Nazarbayev’s Kazakhstan

The rapper was hired to perform at the wedding of Kazakh dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev’s grandson. The former Russian Soviet Republic is sharply criticized by human rights organizations for its serious violations and deteriorating situation.

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If there’s any pop star who actually has a personality cult like a dictator, it’s probably Kanye.

Yeezy was paid a reported $3 million for his appearance, which was recorded on Twitter and Instagram. Kanye West was able to express himself at the mic, unlike the rest of Kazakhstan, a nation suffering a harsh and unprecedented crackdown on freedom of expression and political plurality with the imprisonment of outspoken opposition and civil society activists.

9. Mariah Carey – José Eduardo dos Santos’ Angola

Yeah, same dictator, same place. Carey performed in Angola in 2013 at the behest of her manager, Jermaine Dupri, whom she would fire the next year.

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This wasn’t the first time Carey performed for a dictator. In 2010, she publicly apologized for a 2008 New Year’s celebration performance, which is a nice segue to . . .

10. Mariah Carey – Qaddafi’s Libya

She was paid an undisclosed sum for performing for the Qaddafi family at a private residence in St. Barth’s. As part of  her penance, she reminded everyone how much money she regularly gives to charity even as she pocketed her payment and released a statement:

“I was naive and unaware of who I was booked to perform for, I feel horrible and embarrassed to have participated in this mess. Going forward, this is a lesson for all artists to learn from. We need to be more aware and take more responsibility regardless of who books our shows. Ultimately we as artists are to be held accountable.”

Indeed.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Ten Questions with Rod Lurie, Director of Operation Enduring Freedom film ‘The Outpost’

Rod Lurie is a West Point graduate and former Air Defense Artillery officer in the US Army. After his time in service he worked as an entertainment reporter and film critic. He then transitioned into film making by writing and directing his first feature film Deterrence, which is a political thriller. Rod also directed The Contender, The Last Castle, Nothing but the Truth, and Straw Dogs. Most recently, he directed The Outpost, the story of the 53 U.S. soldiers who battled a force of roughly 400 enemy insurgents in north-eastern Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.


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James Mardsen, Hunter Lurie, Kate Bosworth, Rod, and Paige Lurie during the filming of Straw Dogs (2011)

Tell me about your family and your life growing up?

Currently I live in Studio City with my wife Kyra who is a New York Times bestselling novelist. I have one stepson Isaac and a daughter named Paige where we have a family dog named POTUS. My son Hunter passed away two years ago today. The Outpost is dedicated to him where since he died so young his passing to me relates to the young soldiers who died at the Battle of Kamdesh.

My family growing up consisted of my father, mother and three brothers. At age five, my family moved from Israel to Connecticut and then to Hawaii. My father is a military veteran of Israel and he worked as a political cartoonist, which includes illustrations for LIFE magazine where he is “the most widely syndicated political cartoonist in the world”, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. My mother Tamar is still the most successful real estate agent in Greenwich, Connecticut.

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Rod at West Point during his plebe (first) year.

What is the most distinct memory of your mother and your father?

My father focused on two things for me: creativity and sticking up for myself and our Jewish heritage. He is a wildly creative person and he told us to never stop creating where he reminded us about how God had created in the Bible. My mother was a voracious athlete where she encouraged me and my sibling to really push ourselves athletically. She is truly kind, and she raised us with empathy as well.

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A picture of Caleb Landry Jones as Medal of Honor recipient Specialist Ty Carter in The Outpost.

What challenges did you face at school and in the community?

The challenge for any Jewish person in that era and in that part of the world was anti-Semitism. We had immigrated from Israel where, of course, we never faced that within our own communities.

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Rod Lurie interviewing acting and film legend Paul Newman.

What values were stressed at home?

Creativity, Righteousness and Athleticism. We had a strong sense of morality in our home where ethics are what society expects and morals are what we expect of ourselves.

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Rod at his West Point Graduation in 1984.

What drew you to film and media while growing up?

Growing up I saw a movie on a little TV named Ben-Hur. I couldn’t believe my eyes because I did not even know movies were made where my understanding was that they were just kind of there. I was so thrilled with film I decided my goal was to be somehow involved. Because of my lack of knowledge of the film making process I was most impressed with film critics. Roger Ebert and Pauline Kael were my idols where I wrote to them and they wrote me back. In the end, no motivation was greater than for me than to be a filmmaker. One of my beliefs is that you shouldn’t go to film school where you should go to study what you want to make movies about. The USMA is a place of leadership, which is what I want to make films on. My dream one day is to make a movie about West Point where I made a deal with Universal to make such a movie on the academy titled Heart of a Soldier with Paul Walker and Jessica Alba. Unfortunately, the film fell apart once the Iraq War broke out.

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Scott Eastwood as Medal of Honor recipient SSGT Clint Romesha in The Outpost

What made you want to attend West Point and is the best lesson you learned while there at the academy?

My political awareness from an early age because of my father’s political cartoonist work influenced me to go to West Point where it seemed like a natural fit for me. The best thing I learned from West Point; when you think you have exhausted everything you have you really have only used 10% of your capabilities. This was said to me before I went in to SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) school.

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Orlando Bloom, Cory Hardrict, Jacob Scipio, Bobby Lockwood, Alexander Arnold, Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones, James Jagger, Celina Sinden, Jack Kesy, Taylor John Smith, and Milo Gibson in The Outpost.

What did you enjoy most about your service as an Army officer?

What I enjoyed most about my time in service were the friendships and comradery of the people I served with. The best friendships I have had in my life were from West Point and from the service where nothing will ever top that. Another enjoyable part about my time in the Army came from the confidence generated in the team-based atmosphere. Many people think the most stressful time of a cadet is when you are going through Beast Barracks when in reality the toughest time is when you are taking your exams. I am on my own when taking those tests. When going through things with your fellow troops you are going through it together. There is something about the concept of if we all work together, then we can succeed. It creates a quiet calmness.

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Rod as a cadet at West Point.

What leadership lessons in life and from the service that have helped you the most in your career in Hollywood?

Problem solving and Teamwork. The film was an exceedingly difficult movie to put together because of budget and time constraints. On The Outpost, as the boss and being a military veteran we had some actors that were veterans where I insisted on having them for a couple of reasons. One is that for all of us who have worn the uniform we can always say I have been in a tougher scrape than this. No matter what we come across we know we can solve this problem. Another part of having veterans as part of the production was realism where I had several vets that were also Technical Advisors. Because of the calm problem-solving skills and real-life team-based experiences, we functioned as military veterans; smoothly and without panic. We stayed grounded and focused unlike how it may have been on other sets where anxiety and fear set in due to such tight restrictions.

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Taylor John Smith as Distinguished Service Cross recipient First Lieutenant Andrew Bunderman and Orlando Bloom as Bronze Star recipient First Lieutenant Benjamin D. Keating in The Outpost.

What did you enjoy most about filming The Outpost?

There is a great satisfaction in knowing that we are doing good on this film. There are many families that lost their loved ones in the Battle of Kamdesh which were sons, brothers, and fathers. The fact that we can give to these people and families, not just closure, but a promise that their loved ones will have their names repeated and spoken forevermore is very satisfying. When my son died, I realized the obligation we had to these families. The friendships and comradery on set were amazing because of this shared mission. The crew all got so close on the film because of its importance, especially since it was something we were going through together in a tough situation.

10 questions with Kevin Kent: From Navy SEALs to Jack Ryan

Scott Eastwood as SSGT Clint Romesha in The Outpost.

What is the main message you want people to remember about The Outpost?

My goal is to get people to daily remember the military currently serving abroad. The service members need to be remembered where I believe that people just don’t think ever about the soldiers that are serving overseas right now. In previous wars like WWII, Korea, and Vietnam they were on our minds and now we don’t give it a second thought. In WWII, every soldier also had the same mission; we are going to stop Hitler. Today the answer is most likely mixed with why we are there in the Middle East, which makes their service even tougher. It is just not cool that soldiers currently in the fight today are forgotten. People must understand what these soldiers went through and that their sacrifices matter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Everything you need to know about all those Marvel announcements

“It was inevitable.” After breaking the internet with a twitter storm of announcements, Disney finally dropped the next projects coming from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Phase Three wrapped itself up with Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far from Home and now, my friends, it’s time for Phase Four. 

1. WandaVision

Marvel has been teasing its unusual launch into Disney+ streaming series, which will begin with WandaVision on Jan. 15, 2021. On Dec. 10, Marvel Studios released a second trailer for the show, which places Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch in some kind of alternate dimension that opens in a 50s sitcom and progresses through the next few decades. The fate of Vision seems sealed after Avengers: Infinity Wars, but Wanda is set to make a showing in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Speaking of which…

2. Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

Set to debut on March 25, 2022, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange will return to the big screen alongside an incredible cast that includes Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Xochitl Gomez, who will play America Chavez, a new fan-favorite from the comics.

3. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson finally have a fun trailer for fans to enjoy. It has some banter, some levity, and its own take on a canyon flight sequence. At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Captain Steve Rogers gave the mantle of Captain America to Sam Wilson, who must now learn how to carry its legacy. Meanwhile, Barnes is fresh out of therapy in Wakanda and ready for adventures with his new buddy.

4. Black Widow

Originally set to premiere in the summer of 2020, Black Widow is now set to be released on May 7, 2021. There are a few MCU pieces that feature heroes who have since died in the timeline, and Black Widow is one of them. When we first met Natasha Romanoff, she had “red in her ledger” and was trying to make her past right. In sacrificing herself for her friend, and for everyone Thanos snapped out of existence, she did just that. 

Now, her feature film will give us a little more insight into that ledger of hers.

5. Loki

Loki is another character who was killed in the Infinity Wars; a trickster demi-god who wormed his way into our hearts…and then stole the Tesseract in an alternate timeline and ended up…well…in his own series coming to Disney+ in May 2021. 

Dead Loki is in a strange dimension. Dead Vision and living Wanda are in a strange dimension. Doctor Strange will be in a Multiverse of Madness. I’m sensing a trend in Phase Four. 

6. What If…?

“Why stop at one world when we can show you all of them?” asks Yondu Udonta, the adoptive father of Peter Quill aka Star-Lord aka Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy. What If…? Will explore alternate Marvel Cinematic Universes where one tiny thing changed the whole world. “For instance, what if it was Peggy Carter who received the Super Soldier Serum instead of Steve Rogers? What if T’Challa traveled the galaxy as a young boy with space outlaw Yondu and was the man who became Starlord?” poses Polygon.

Of all the trailers and announcements Disney dropped this week, this one has the most amount of Easter Eggs to look for. 

7. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi is an incredibly advanced martial artist with proficiencies in many different weapon types. In the comics, he also has the ability to duplicate himself, leading him on a path to the Avenger Initiative. Simu Liu (Blood and Water) plays the titular character in the film, which is now set to be released on July 9, 2021.

8. Ms. Marvel

“Ms. Marvel is a new kind of superhero but at the core of it, she’s so universal,” observed Bisha K. Ali, the showrunner and head writer for Ms. Marvel. Played by Iman Vellani, Kamala Khan is a Muslim Pakistani-American teenager from New Jersey with latent Inhuman lineage. The series will follow the young superhero-to-be as she transforms with her powers.

Take another look: 

9. Captain Marvel

Iman Vellani will reprise her role as Kamala Kahn in Captain Marvel 2, directed by Nia DaCosta (Little Woods). Here’s what we know about the film so far: ummmm not much. Brie Larson will return and Teyonah Parris will reprise her upcoming WandaVision role of a grown-up Monica Rambeau, the child of Carol Danvers’ best friend and wingwoman.

10. Eternals

Eternals is going to be a fun one to look out for. Not only is the cast fantastic (an MCU standard at this point — major props to Sarah Finn Casting) but the director Chloé Zhao is fresh off a successful critical run of Nomadland so we can expect great things from her. According to Marvel, this film will “feature an exciting new team of Super Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, the Deviants.”

11. Hawkeye

Hawkeye is cool but are you familiar with Kate Bishop? Hailee Steinfeld will make her Marvel debut as the fan-favorite superhero. We’ve seen images of Hawkeye in production and we know it’s set to release in late 2021, but other than that, the show is pretty much a mystery.

12. She-Hulk

Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) will officially portray Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk and Mark Ruffalo will join her as the Hulk. Directed by Kat Coiro and Anu Valia with Jessica Gao listed as the head-writer, She-Hulk definitely makes it clear that Marvel is getting the message that women want to tell women’s stories. Can’t wait to see this one.

13. Moon Knight

Moon Knight is another grittier Marvel character. Marc Spector struggles with multiple personalities and amoral inclinations — this makes sense given that he’s also a U.S. Marine (wink). In the comics he was also a CIA operative before turning to a mercenary path that would lead him to his dark alias.

TEASERS:

Marvel wasn’t done yet. With not much more information than a title announcement and maybe some cast members, here are some more projects we can see down the line from the MCU: Secrete Invasion, starring Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn’s Skrull Talos; Ironheart, a story about the inventor Riri Williams, whose suit of armor might even compete with Iron Man’s; Armor Wars, starring Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes aka War Machine; I Am Groot, an original series of shorts starring Baby Groot and several “new and unusual characters;” Thor: God of Love and Thunder just announced its new villain: Gorr the God Butcher — and don’t forget that Natalie Portman is slated to play Lady Thor; Blade, a new feature film about the daywalking vampire slayer played by Mahershala Ali; Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathryn Newton as Cassie Lang, and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror; Black Panther 2, which will explore the world of Wakanda without recasting the role of T’Challa, played by the late and remarkable Chadwick Boseman; Fantastic Four — yes, another one.

And last but not least, it’s true: there will be a Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special directed by James Gunn. Because why the hell not?

MIGHTY MOVIES

4 fictional countries America should invade

Ever since a 2015 poll revealed that a certain slice of Americana supported bombing Agrabah, the fictional city Disney’s Aladdin calls home, it’s been interesting to consider what other fictional countries have actually messed with the United States and totally gotten a pass. Agrabah didn’t actually damage its relations with the U.S., presumably because the U.S. either doesn’t exist yet in that world, or because they don’t have oil.


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Or because Magic isn’t considered a WMD… yet.

Meanwhile, a number of other countries have attacked America and/or its American heroes and haven’t yet met the full-on retaliation they deserve.

1. Pottsylvania — “Rocky and Bullwinkle”

These guys have been sending special agents to try and kill American heroes FOR YEARS. Pottsylvania is populated entirely by special agents and saboteurs.

Their children are taught assassination techniques and espionage practices from an early age, their highest medal is the Double Cross and their mysterious dictator (known only as “Fearless Leader”) makes Kim Jong-Un look like a teddy bear. Their two most active agents are skilled infiltrators and have never been captured.

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They are pictured on this surveillance photo, planting an IED.

2. Bilya — “Iron Eagle”

Bilya is supposed to be a fictional Arab state in the Middle East. These guys had the balls to shoot down an American F-16, capture its pilot, and then sentence him to hang in a show trial.

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This is not the face of someone who is just going to let that happen.

Luckily, the pilot’s 16-year-old son Doug (an Air Force Academy reject) and Chappie, an Air Force Reserve pilot, steal two F-16s of their own and fly off to Bilya to rescue him. What should have happened was America launching an all-out raid on Bilyan infrastructure and military targets. Then, after they released the American they took for no reason, the Bilyans would pay us back the $18 million they owe us for shooting down our F-16.

3. Val Verde — “Commando,” “Predator,” and “Die Hard 2

This nondescript South American country has more coups than a flock of pigeons (say that sentence aloud for the full effect). For some reason, all of their worst representatives seem to end up in the United States, ready to coerce American heroes to do their bidding.

Fortunately, John Matrix lives inside an unlimited ammo cheat code world.

In “Commando,” a deposed dictator named Arius kidnaps John Matrix’ daughter to force him to kill the current president (of Val Verde). Spoiler Alert: he doesn’t even make it to Val Verde. Instead, he ices every single person who came near his daughter.

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I hope Val Verde at least has good veteran’s hospitals.

In “Die Hard 2,” terrorists hit an airport to free another captured dictator, ruining John McClane’s Christmas, everyone’s flight schedules, and never taking any blame for what they do.

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And that is United Airlines’ job.

In “Predator,” Dutch Schaeffer’s commando team has to mount a hostage rescue from guerrillas in Val Verde. You might know what happens next (hint: it has something to do with an invisible alien).

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Seriously, how many times do they get to mess with America before we do something about this? Who is the President in this movie universe? And I am dying to know more about this place – what are the exports, other than terrorism and contras?

4. Latveria – Marvel Comics

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Latveria: a perfectly normal country.

Latveria is an Eastern European nation tucked back into the Carpathian Mountains, led by a guy whose name is freaking Dr. Victor von Doom. Even George W. Bush could convince the world that this guy needed to be ousted, and he wouldn’t have to throw Colin Powell under a bus to do it.

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Besides, Russia already has a Dr. Doom.

Dr. Doom is obviously a state sponsor of terrorism. Doom is responsible for the proliferation of chemical weapons, attempted assassinations of allied heads of state, and oh so many crimes against humanity.

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And like many 20th century dictators, Dr. Doom got the Henry Kissinger seal of approval.

The Fantastic Four can bring down Hitler, a being who eats planets, and the Prince of Darkness, but can’t seem to overthrow this tiny country and oust its metal-faced dictator? It’s time to send in the Marines.

MIGHTY CULTURE

America’s Got Talent is collaborating with We Are The Mighty to give you a special chance to audition

Calling all singers, dancers, performers and musicians! If you’ve ever thought about auditioning for AGT, now’s the time! This year, America’s Got Talent auditions are going virtual. We know our military community has lots of talent and are ecstatic to offer an audition opportunity for WATM readers, veterans, military spouses, and active duty service members. 

Not sure if you have what it takes? Check out this list of military community members who made it pretty far. Take a look at their auditions  to help you prepare yours.  

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(America’s Got Talent)

Season 3

Daniel Jens is a native of Milwaukee. He joined the Army after 9/11 and deployed to Iraq in 2006 with the 1st Cavalry Division. He auditioned for Season 3 with Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be,” while playing the guitar. Despite forgetting the song’s lyrics during the Vegas Round, Jens advanced to the Top 40 Quarterfinal, where he sang The Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” Jens was eliminated in Part 1 of the Semifinals after performing Lonestar’s “I’m Already There.” 

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(America’s Got Talent)

Season 8

American Military Wives Choir, previously known as Homefire, helped give military spouses a voice through music. Their first single, “The Promise,” was commissioned by famed Producer David Foster and written by Charlie Midnight (“Living In America”), Jay Landers (head of A&R for Universal Music) and Bernie Herms (writer and producer for Natalie Grant).

The group came together after rigorous and quick casting at the request of Foster, who had a performance scheduled at the Kennedy Center and wanted to include a choir of military wives. Foster contacted CAMMO (The Center For Military Music Opportunities), and they quickly answered the call with an exhaustive search. The day after they met – and with only one rehearsal – these spouses found themselves on the Kennedy Center stage with Jewel, Chaka Khan and Chris Botti as the finale to a star-studded show of David Foster and Friends.

AWM auditioned for season 8 with a choral version of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” The group made it to Week 2 Semifinals but didn’t receive enough votes to be sent to the finals. 

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(America’s Got Talent)

Season 12 

In the Stairwell was formed in 2004 by a group of freshmen at the Air Force Academy. Because of their rigorous coursework and other duties, the group could only sing “in the stairwell” – which is how the group got their name. The a cappella group was featured on Season 12. Now an official club at the Air Force Academy, cadets have dedicated time to practice each week. In the Stairwell’s audition was One Direction’s “Drag Me Down.” The judge’s reactions to the audition were mixed, but ultimately the group got enough yes votes to move forward in the competition. The group was cut in Week 2 of the semifinals

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(America’s Got Talent)

Season 14

Voices of Service were a vocal group act from Season 14 of AGT. They finished the competition in 5th place overall and returned to AGT: The Champions 2, where they were unfortunately eliminated in the primaries. Voices of Service includes Master Sgt. Caleb Green, Staff Sgt. Ron Henry, Sgt. Maj. Christal Rheams, and Sergeant First Class Jason Hanna. Voices of Service represents the diversity and excellence within our military and veteran communities and is an inspiring example for the nation that they serve, have served and continue to service through music. They have performed at the Canadian Embassy, American Legion Convention, the Joining Forces event at Vice President Joe Biden’s home, and many more. Check out their audition video to get some ideas of what the judges might be looking for this season. 

A special submissions portal has been created for all WATM readers and will go live November 10. Be sure to follow our Facebook page to see FAQs and get the live link! Casting producers will be reviewing these submissions to select the right person to appear in a live remote virtual audition and the chance to participate in Season 16 of this hit show. 

MIGHTY MOVIES

Chris Pratt will star in new Navy SEAL TV show ‘The Terminal List’

Chris Pratt hasn’t been a series regular on television since his breakout role in Parks and Recreation. Since then, he’s transformed himself from goofy sidekick to leading man. From Zero Dark Thirty to Guardians of the Galaxy to Jurassic World, Pratt has proven that he can play a badass with specialized training and skills, and now he’s putting them to good use.

Returning to the role of Navy SEAL, Pratt will star as James Reece in former Navy SEAL Jack Carr’s The Terminal List, a conspiracy thriller with a straight-to-series order on Amazon.

Perhaps even more exciting is that, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “Producers plan to assemble a writing staff where half the scribes are either veterans themselves or have veterans in their families. [They’ll also have] vets and their families as part of multiple aspects of the show.”

Based on a novel by the same name, The Terminal List follows James Reece after his team was ambushed during a covert operation and he uncovers a conspiracy that runs to the highest levels of government.

Pratt partnered with executive producer and director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Magnificent Seven, The Equalizer) to pitch the series, with David DiGilio (Strange Angel, Traveler, Eight Below) currently primed for writing.

Pratt took to Twitter to acknowledge the announcement:

Such a misleading picture to announce what is guaranteed to be the most intense and violent character I’ve ever played. Careful TVguide or you’ll end up on James Reece’s List.https://twitter.com/tvguide/status/1257816640839995393 …

twitter.com

Author Jack Carr pictured Pratt for the role of James Reece even before Pratt’s film career took off. “The crazy part is, usually you think of Mark Wahlberg or somebody who’d done these kinds of [roles] before but I thought of Chris Pratt. All he’d done is Parks and Rec. He had a small role in Zero Dark Thirty where he plays a SEAL…and for some reason I thought, ‘That’s the guy.’ It wasn’t the obvious choice back then…but I thought ‘this seems like a likeable guy,'” Carr shared on the Joe Rogan Experience.

Carr goes on to talk about a fellow SEAL who reached out to get an early copy of the book specifically for Pratt, who read it and optioned it right away. Years later, the adaptation is becoming a reality.

“Usually they want to get rid of the author right away when they option something but Chris wanted me involved so I got to help out on the pilot script — and it is so good,” Carr gushed.

Check out Carr’s conversation with Joe Rogan in the video below:

How Navy SEAL Author Jack Carr Got Chris Pratt’s Attention

www.youtube.com

MIGHTY MOVIES

The first ‘Dune’ trailer is here – get your crysknife ready

Dune is a legendary sci-fi/fantasy novel that has just been waiting for the right filmmaker to bring it to life (much like The Lord of the Rings). Many have tried. All have failed (sorry, David Lynch). Frank Herbert’s novel built a rich world with fascinating characters but — for modern readers who have honed their tastes on Patrick Rothfuss and even Orson Scott Card — Dune is boring dense, yo.

And I’ll just say it. The Lord of the Rings was dense, too. The pacing of these novels do not hold up for readers — but, as Peter Jackson proved, they can still make for epic films.


Enter Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049). The Oscar nominee will direct the latest adaptation of the iconic film — and I gotta say, based on the trailer, I’m feeling hopeful:
Dune Official Trailer

www.youtube.com

Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides (played by Little Women’s Timothée Chalamet), a young man destined to rule the most dangerous planet in the universe, where forces battle over a substance with the ability to unlock humanity’s greatest potential. When betrayal leaves him and his gifted mother exiled in the unforgiving sands of Arrakis, only their unique powers — and their mastery over the mind-killer — can save them.

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Warner Bros. / Legendary Pictures

Villaneuve set himself up for success with an absolutely killer cast: obviously, Chalamet is super hot right now, as are Zendaya (Euphoria, Spider-Man: Homecoming), Oscar Isaac (Star Wars Episodes VII-IX), Marvel alumni Josh Brolin and Stellan Skarsgård, and Rebecca Ferguson (Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, Mission: Impossible – Fallout).

Oh, and Jason Momoa, baby.

Hebert’s book is so detailed that the film will be told in two parts, with the first set to release in theaters December 2020 (if humans can survive that long). Villaneuve’s adaptation has been a massive undertaking — he spent a year on the design of the iconic sandworms alone.

“We talked about every little detail that would make such a beast possible, from the texture of the skin, to the way the mouth opens, to the system to eat its food in the sand,” the director told Empire magazine for the publication’s Summer 2020 issue. “It was a year of work to design and to find the perfect shape that looked prehistoric enough.”

Check out the trailer above to see one in action and to behold the glory of Arrakis.

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Warner Bros. / Legendary Pictures

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QUIZ: Who said it, Joseph Stalin or Bob Dylan?

Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan and Soviet political leader Joseph Stalin are famous for different reasons.


Dylan has been influential in popular music and culture for over five decades. Stalin, on the other hand, governed the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953.

Despite, their differences, when it comes to influencing people, they are both masters of poetry. We gathered some of their most famous quotes to make this quiz. Did the dictator or the folk singer say these things?

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