SAN DIEGO – Sailors attended an exclusive premiere of season four of the Turner Network Television (TNT) series “The Last Ship” alongside the show’s writers, producers and actors at Naval Base San Diego base theater July 23, nearly one month before the scheduled television air date of Aug. 20.
“Their mission is simple: Find a cure. Stop the virus. Save the world.” Working directly with various representatives and advisors in the Navy, writers of The Last Ship portray a post-apocalyptic world where a global pandemic wipes out eighty percent of the planet's population. It is based off the 1988 book of the same name by William Brinkley in which a lone Navy ship and her crew are leading the fight to prevent world chaos and humanity’s extinction.
The show has been modernized and dramatized for today's audience entertainment and to bring light to what the Surface Navy offers through its capable ships and Sailors.
Before the screening, Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet remarked on the importance of the show and the significance of the Surface Navy’s role.
“Thank you to the producers for your patience working with operational tempo; thank you to the ships and crews that opened their ranks to welcome and accommodate filming,” he said. “Although the story lines are fictional, the show portrays the actual grit and determination today’s Surface Warriors are famous for. Through four seasons, and as we work together with the cast and crew on season five and hopefully beyond, we have shown millions of Americans and people around the world what we, the Surface Force, are capable of.”
Steven Kane, one of the show’s writers and the executive producer, took the time to thank the Sailors for the more than four years of support and said this particular screening was memorable for the cast and crew.
This is a very special screening for us,” Kane said. “We have done this in D.C. for a number of years and it has been great, it’s been wonderful, but this is our home. As we are driving down the I-5 freeway to come here and shoot, we see the ships and always get that ‘AWE’ feeling deep in our bones.”
“This truly is an amazing family we have built over these last few years,” continued Kane. “Every ship, [commanding officer], [executive officer], command master chief, and the hundreds of officers and enlisted who went out of their way to welcome us, be with us, and share in this amazing experience with us; we just love you all.”
Attendees were also given an opportunity to meet and take photos with actor and producer Eric Dane, who plays the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Tom Chandler, and actor Adam Baldwin who plays the executive officer, Cmdr. Mike Slattery.
“I think I can speak on behalf of my cast and crew when expressing gratitude for all the support and resources you all have given us over the last nearly five years; it is second to none,” Dane said while addressing the attendants of the premiere.
“The experience has been unprecedented and unparalleled as far as I’m concerned,” Dane said. “I have been doing this for 20 years and I have never experienced anything like this. I can say with absolute certainty that we cannot make this show without you all. From the bottom of our hearts, I want to say thank you for that, thank you for your service and everything that goes along with that.”
Dane's father was an aviation boatswain's mate who joined the service in 1967 and was assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 46. Dane's father served in Vietnam and was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal.
“I feel a sense of responsibility to carry myself a certain way in this role, respectful of the Navy for everything they have given us to use, and, to be an emissary for the show so I can convey what the people who are actually making these sacrifices for a living do every day,” Dane said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for what they do. For me in a fictional role, the second you put on the uniform it gets easier, then the second you sit in the captain’s chair on the bridge it gets even easier; when the majority of the extras in the scene with you are active duty Sailors, it gets even easier. That equates to experiencing everything in the real environment which makes it that much richer and believable.”
The show centers on the crew of the fictitious ship USS Nathan James (DDG 151) and is filmed on various Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, often with active duty U.S. Navy Sailors participating as extras in addition to their daily duties.
“We all take an oath to service, but it is good to let the world get a small glimpse in the sacrifices we share in,” said Rowden. “Thank you to the Sailors for all you do, each and every day, whether the cameras are rolling or not.”
The Last Ship has been filmed on and in partnership with the crews of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97), USS Russell (DDG 59), USS Dewey (DDG 105), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Sterett (DDG 104), USS Pinkney (DDG 91), USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), PCU Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) and amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8).