Feature Film Crew On Board For Action Thriller
USS Abraham Lincoln welcomed aboard
more than 80 people from Columbia Pictures and Backbreaker Films,
actors Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Sam Shepard and
director Rob Cohen for the filming of the major motion picture,
"Stealth," in June.
Abe's flight deck hosted 12 squadrons for carrier qualifications
and the film crew, along with a 53-foot-long futuristic stealth
fighter named "Talon."
"Filming a major Hollywood movie during flight (operations) is a
very tricky and different thing," said Cohen. "This is real life
out here, and it’s amazing that the Navy is allowing us to be
here and bring our own aircraft on the ship."
Cohen also acknowledged the Navy for allowing the current movie
to see the light of day. "I’m very grateful to the Navy for
this. The Navy passed every page of the script, so they feel good
about it, and I feel good about what this film will say about the
In the film, Navy officials decide to use an unmanned version of
the "Talon," but when one of the planes begins attacking friendly
forces, Navy pilots are called in to save the planet from
Although the plot may sound far-fetched to some, Cohen found out
firsthand that filming aboard Lincoln is very real.
"I have a deeper appreciation for what (the crew) does on the
Lincoln," Cohen said. After spending his first night aboard the
warship, Cohen had a startling experience that awoke him from a
"They primed the catapults about two in the morning, and I
thought, 'Oh my God, we’ve been torpedoed!' I jumped so high
out of my bunk that I hit my head on the shelf," he said.
Adjusting to life on the 97,000-ton carrier also proved to be
difficult for some of the cast.
"I’ve been lost every day," Biel said. "I still
can’t get to my room. I have to ask people all of the time
just to help me find the bathroom, but it’s been incredible
how helpful everyone has been."
Biel, who plays Lt. Kara Wade, the only female pilot in the
stealth squadron, also expressed her appreciation for the hard work
of Abe’s crew. "You really have no idea how hard everybody
works until you come on to a carrier," Biel said. "The teamwork on
this ship is absolutely amazing."
Teamwork seemed to be the word of the week, as both the movie
and ship’s crews worked together to complete the ship’s
mission and lend a hand in the production.
Abe Sailors were given numerous opportunities throughout the week
to be extras in the film and share the spotlight with the Hollywood
lineup. Donning float coats and cranials, the Sailors, producers
and actors looked alike on the flight deck as the cameras
"In my 16 years in the Navy, this is one of the top things
I’ve done," said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW) Anthony
Whetstone, of Abe’s safety department.
Whetstone, an Alexander City, Ala., native, was an extra with a
speaking role during one of the production’s night scenes,
and was grateful to have such an opportunity. "Nothing like this
has ever happened to me before," he said.
Foxx, who plays the role of Lt. Henry Purcell, said Abe’s
crew was a big help during the filming and commented on their hard
work. "This really changes your perspective on things, when you get
a chance to see from the ground up how hard these men and women
work," he said.
"The crew was really down to Earth," Whetstone said. "I was
surprised to find out that they were just like us."
Whetstone’s thoughts seemed to be echoed by Abe’s
crew throughout the week.
Meanwhile, the film crew couldn’t seem to give enough
praise to Lincoln Sailors.
"Thank God for these decent people that are on this ship doing
the job they do," Cohen said. "I have a deep appreciation for
Sailors and what (they) do for people like me who live in the
freedom (they) secure."
(ANN salutes Journalist Seaman Michael Cook, USS Abraham
Lincoln Public Affairs)