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"The Hunted"

Article from True Tracks about The Hunted
Paramount's 'The Hunted' called upon Tom Brown for expertise, authenticity

By Dan Hirshberg

When "The Hunted" hits movie theaters nationwide on March 14, Tom Brown, Jr. can bask in the knowledge that he played an integral part in making this the most authen­tic film ever about tracking and sur­vival.

"The Hunted," a Paramount Pictures release, is about a top spe­cial-forces assassin (played by Benicio Del Toro) gone amok. His mentor, played by Tommy Lee Jones (a Tom Brown-like character), is brought out of retirement to help locate and capture his former expert student. The film is directed by William Friedkin ("The Exorcist," "To Live and Die in L.A."). It is rated R for strong bloody violence and some language.

Brown spent nearly a year in the Pacific Northwest working as a Technical Advisor to Friedkin.

"Billy and I go back many years," noted Brown. "Initially he wanted to make a movie about my life - that's how we met."

Indeed, Friedkin had been dreaming of making a film like "The Hunted" ever since he formed a friendship with Brown, but was con­cerned it would be too much like a documentary of Brown. And then he read a script by David and Peter Griffiths about a trained, Delta Force-style assassin who becomes a serial killer. That script became the basis for "The Hunted," which was rewrit­ten to focus more on the inner and outer conflicts of the Jones and Del Toro characters. Friedkin then per­sonally recruited Brown to train the actors and serve as a consultant throughout the shoot.

"The basis for the movie is very similar to a tracking case I had once been on," said Brown. "At first, I helped with the creating of the story idea. And then I was brought on as a Technical Advisor and from there it branched out, from assisting with things like character development, dialogue, set decorations, special effects and of course, skills training.

I was generally always next to Billy during shooting and that's because he wanted a certain authenticity that I brought to the movie. Billy's a per­fectionist. I've always liked that about him. He's constantly striving to make a story as authentic as humanly possible."

The movie is action-packed with excitement, but does not follow the usual shoot 'em up theory. Instead, the film focuses on survival tactics and features knives, not guns, as the weapons of choice.

In fact, the flint and steel knives used in the movie were cast in hard rubber from originals that Brown manufactured for fight scenes between Jones and Del Toro. Interestingly, an all-purpose knife designed by Brown that is currently for sale through The Tracker School, is prominently showcased in the movie.

Brown spent a great deal of time with both Jones and Del Toro, training them for their parts.

"Tommy Lee has a ranch down in Texas,” said Brown, who was assist­ed in the training by Tracker School instructor Bill McConnell. "There wasn't much training I had to do with him because he's already a hunter and good in the outdoors. Benicio was less experienced, but at the same time extremely easy to train. He spends a lot of time early in the movie in natural camouflage - mud, leaves, sticks. The camouflage was so good that we had to lighten it up so the cameras could see him."

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