TV Critics Tour: Marines Give Thumbs Up to ‘Generation Kill’

Beverly Hills, Calif.—U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton responded well to Generation Kill, the HBO miniseries about the 2003 invasion of Iraq, during a screening at the base this week, officials said Thursday.

Generation Kill, which debuts July 13, is a gritty seven-part miniseries based on a book by Rolling Stone reporter Evan Wright, who was embedded in a Marine unit during the invasion. It was executive produced and co-written by David Simon and Ed Burns of The Wire.

During a session on the miniseries at the Television Critics Association summer tour, Wright said Generation Kill had been shown Wednesday at the Marine base just north of San Diego.

“There were several hundred Marines,” Wright said. “It was f---king awesome…That audience totally got exactly what David and Ed and I were all doing on this project. They laughed at all the right jokes…It was the most gratifying moment of the whole production, to see these guys laughing and nodding their heads with recognition, especially as controversial as it was in some quarters.”

Panelist Simon added that the airing at Camp Pendleton was what everyone cared about.

“We screened this at Camp Pendleton,” said Eric Kocher, a former Marine and military advisor for Generation Kill. “We screened it to the real Bravo 2 Marines and the biggest comments they say are, you know, the dialog is excellent,” Kocher added. “It hits exactly the way Marines talk, and the atmosphere is visually what you see, what you hear in the background. Everything is it. It hits Iraq…That’s the biggest comments that everyone tells me, especially in the Marine community.”

At the Generation Kill panel, HBO Films president Colin Callender denied that the miniseries was cut down to seven episodes from eight because of fear that it would not perform well, since many TV shows and movies on Iraq have flopped. 

“It was a budget issue,” he said. “It wasn’t an editorial decision.”

During the network’s executive session earlier Thursday, HBO officials argued that Generation Kill really isn’t about the politics of the war, but about the young soldiers sent in as part of the invasion.

“It has nothing to do with politics,” HBO co-president Richard Plepler said. “It’s really the story of this particular Marine reconnaissance unit as it came into Iraq…it is the emotional truth, the psychological truth of what those kids experienced.”

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