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Seal of Approval
John V. Campbell | Photo: Robert Benson | March 28, 2013
Rancho Santa Fe’s former Navy SEAL, Mitch Hall, is on Hollywood’s front lines.
“An Oscar-nominated film as my first project is more than I could’ve asked for,” says Mitch Hall. The Rancho Santa Fe retired Navy SEAL didn’t set out for Hollywood stardom, but he’s fast becoming an A-list consultant, tapped by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty and for Mark Wahlberg’s forthcoming Lone Survivor. For Zero Dark Thirty, he transformed actor Chris Pratt into a believable SEAL-worthy machine, training him near the Navy’s Coronado HQ.
“We talked about the mindset and physical demands of being in the teams,” says Hall, who likened the actor’s transformation to Natalie Portman’s ballerina in Black Swan.
With nine deployments, the 40-year-old surely knows a thing or two about covert operations and combat. He’s hunted war criminals in Bosnia, rescued hostages in Afghanistan and prosecuted terrorists in Iraq. His war chest includes a Bronze Star and Silver Star. He was also the Navy’s top triathlete and has three Hawaii Ironman world championships under his belt. When he’s not hanging with Wahlberg and his real-life entourage, he spends time with his wife and 8-year-old daughter, who speaks fluent German and toughs it out on bike rides with Dad. Hall’s other consulting gigs include Nike, UnderArmour and Activision’s popular Call of Duty video game franchise (he recently attended a three-day creative summit for the newest installment).
“They want to know what we say, how we say it and the overall posture while we’re doing it,” says Hall. Yet there’s a limit to what he can divulge. “In so many cases, I cannot provide every detail.”
Sorry, people. They’re top secret for a reason.
Fried chicken at Craft & Commerce, Kathryn Bigelow’s demeanor on set, Joe Biden’s slip-ups, Arc’teryx outerwear in combat, DARPA, Air Jordan kicks, Mille Fleurs dinners with my wife
Bicyclists who piss off drivers and give the sport a bad rep, false consumer statistics that need to be myth-busted, IKEA, counting calories