September 1, 2013

Exclusive: Dan Bilzerian Talks To SOFREP “For The Record”

The Hollywood Reporter came out with a story earlier this week that hit a nerve in the SEAL community.  Former BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) trainee-turned actor Dan Bilzerian was suing the producers of Lone Survivor regarding a reported $1 million he put into the project in return for a role in the movie.

“According to the suit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, producers Randall Emmett and George Furla agreed Bilzerian could play the role of Sr. Chief Healy in the Navy SEAL drama, and that he would “appear recognizably” in the film for at least eight minutes and speak at least 80 words of dialogue. But Bilzerian says he appears in the film for less than one minute and has just one line.” from the Hollywood Reporter

For those of you not familiar, Lone Survivor is a movie based on the best-selling book written by former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell.

Our first coverage on the lawsuit blew up in more ways than one, the SOFREP Facebook page turned into a complete shit show, and out of respect for fallen Navy SEAL Dan Healy we yanked the post.

We received a number of reports from the SEAL community about Bilzerian when the Hollywood Reporter article came out, some of which stated he was a DOR (Drop on Request).  I also received a message on Twitter from Dan asking for a phone call. When we spoke on the phone, he asked SOFREP set the record straight about his BUD/S training, and gave us the following statement:

“I completed hell week in 229, got rolled then dropped 3 weeks after for compound stress fractures.  Went back in 238, made it 2 days before graduation on the island and, got rolled back to beginning of second phase with 239, got a couple of weeks before graduation and got admin dropped for no real good reason.  The producers begged me to put the million dollars into Lone Survivor as they couldn’t meet their budget, and had I not done so, the movie prob wouldn’t have gotten made.  I requested to play Dan Healey as he was the guy who pulled my friend Laz Cor off the chopper and took his place.  He died trying to save Marcus, and they weren’t even going to mention him in the movie.  He died not because he was ordered to, but because he demanded to go.  I met with Dan’s mother, visited his memorial, and the family was happy he was represented in the movie, after all he gave his life, I think a cameo is the least they could do for him.  The producers and directors promised me eight minutes of screen time, and for Dan to have a memorable role in the movie, this was not honored, so they will be sued for a breach of contract.” -Dan Bilzerian

I’ve verified that Dan was in BUD/S 229, 238, and 239 before being dropped from training with class 239 for a safety violation on the shooting range. To address the “no good reason” comment from Dan, in my opinion it’s likely that his instructors felt that he wasn’t a good fit for the SEAL community and were looking for any excuse to drop him from training.  This why we call it a “selection” process, and it doesn’t end, even when you get to your SEAL Team. Dan, as a former instructor myself, I know that your instructors did have a good reason. Reflect on the reason and become a better man for it. After all, you did complete 99% of one of the hardest military selection courses in the world.

I’d encourage you to read the full legal complaint here.

About the Author

is a former U.S. Navy SEAL with combat deployments to Afghanistan, and Iraq. During his last tour he served as the west coast sniper Course Manager at the Naval Special Warfare Center. He is Editor-in-Chief of, and a New York Times best selling author (The Red Circle & Benghazi: The Definitive Report). His writing has been featured in print, and digital media worldwide. You can follow him on twitter here.

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  • triathlete98

    Virginstateofmind I guess I didn't catch that.  I personally don't think its a big deal. But i wasn't  there or involved so perhaps that would piss some people off and that is their right.    I was very impressed the lengths he went to get the movie as right as possible.  He seemed very respectful of all those involved from the the support to the main players in "Lone Survivor".

  • triathlete98 why Peter Berg is first class all the way.

  • JHR

    Wingman big_hatdance Thats a good summation. A person is a but a part of their sums. Take away humility and several other factors and the ability to become a true warrior is lost. Dan seems to be living the life he choses; that is his choice. I don't see bad or good in Dan, I just see a man whose choices are different than that of a true warrior and hero.

  • Wingman

    big_hatdance I think I am hearing that by virtue of enduring a grueling selection process (in order to be a SEAL), that makes him a good person.  Just as if he had climbed Mt. Everest or spent a winter in the Antarctic or won the Olympics, achieving those things means you have the ways, means and physical capability to be a high achiever in that sort of a test. Whether or not you are a good person only depends on one thing - that you are a good person.   I strongly believe the kind of misogyny he expresses is an important indicator of moral deficit.  If he was saying the same about other men or different races, cultures, ethnicities it would be just as indicative of his lack of values toward other human beings. I wouldn't want that guy watching my back or making decisions that impact on my life or those that I'm responsible for. Under any circumstance but especially when the shit starts to fly. Who publicly broadcasts gambling away that sort of money? I don't think what he's saying and acting out is illegal but it's more than just wasteful, it's lacking good judgement.  In a true test of survival, people who demonstrate those attitudes are selected against. They will take down those around them with their inflated ego judgements and careless, reckless nature.  No doubt it was loud and clear to the SEAL selection process because guess what? They got rid of him. It took some doing, a number of attempts but they finally made him go away.  I wouldn't want him on my team and all I had to do was read his own words and scratch beneath the surface. That's one of the great things about technology. People can show who they are in no uncertain terms. Kind of like Anthony Weiner,  this guy has exposed himself to be all that he can be. It's hard to refute what you are made of when you put it all out there on the internet. I think his personal attitudes, social behavior and business dealings say a lot about who he is in the moral sense. Just because you can endure  extreme physical and mental duress, that's only part of the package. A moral substrate is very important.

  • Recon6

    big_hatdance   bhd, when I read your comment it gave me pause, you had taken a tact I had not seen previously and I rec'd it for sure.  However, your follow on comment, not so much bro.  I applaud your initial stance for a different perspective as J says below "made points and opinions" and yours is definitely Different. Many of 'us' feel Dan is a douche and as J supplied corroborating 'tweets' as some justification, there is considerably More in the thread.  IMO having a scum bag "admire' an operator is Not flattery, perhaps to you it is?  Dan is still a scum bag, imo....6