When watching an action film about a mentally disturbed killer on the loose, it usually helps to remind yourself, "This is only a movie. It won't happen to you. Remain calm." Well, though survivalist teacher Tom Brown Jr. says there's definitely some Hollywood-style exaggeration in The Hunted (opening Friday), he did his part to make the pic as chillingly true to life as possible.
"Basically, the storyline of The Hunted is fabricated to a degree, but parts of it happened in my life," says Brown, who trained the actors in his primitive survival techniques and is the model for Tommy Lee Jones's character. In the movie, Jones must find his former student (Benicio Del Toro), a Special Forces soldier-turned-psychopathic killer.
"I had a guy I trained that went bad, and I was forced to track him down," he explains. "When you track one of your own, who knows your skills, it's the war of the titans because you start playing this deadly chess game." Ultimately, the student shot Brown in the back, was arrested and then mysteriously disappeared. (Don't worry, that wasn't a spoiler.)
Since then, Brown has been a little more careful screening the participants of his Tracker School, which teaches people to live comfortably in the wilderness with nothing but the clothes on their backs. In fact, one of the contestants of the first Survivor, Greg Buis, is an alum. "If he could ever break his vow of secrecy, the stories he could tell about what he did to that poor [Survivor] camera crew," Brown laughs. "He would get them lost purposely, and then [producers] would have to come out there with a helicopter to get them."
But for the rest of the whiney castaways, he has nothing but scorn: "They're all sitting around, and they're on this beautiful island surrounded by more food than [they could eat]," he says. "And they're moaning and complaining!"