Ryan Phillippe stars in USA Network's conspiracy series, Shooter

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16 July 2016


EDITOR'S NOTE: Shooter was originally scheduled to debut July 19, but was rescheduled to air July 26 due to the police shootings in Dallas.

By Lori Acken

Yes, USA Network’s Shooter is inspired by the 2007 Mark Wahlberg thriller culled from Stephen Hunter’s 1993 novel Point of Impact. Yes, Wahlberg’s back — this time as an executive producer with Ryan Phillippe (Secrets and Lies) taking over the role of retired star Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, who is lured into a mission to save the president, which goes horribly awry. From there, Swagger’s story gets a 2016, update at the hands of John Hlavin (The Shield), who wrote the pilot, and his team.

Swagger’s now an Afghanistan war vet and, instead of a mountain-man recluse, he’s a married dad who just wants some peace. While Swagger comes out of retirement to aid Secret Service agent Isaac Johnson (Omar Epps, House), his former commanding officer, the conspiracy story that results when Johnson’s plot leaves Swagger on the run and bent on justice is ripped from today’s headlines.

“Although we take the spirit of Stephen Hunter’s book, we adapted it to have to do with Russia and Ukraine and geopolitics — specifically where it revolves around the use of private military contractors and present-day Eastern European politics,” Hlavin explains of the series, which premieres Tuesday.

Intent on getting the details right, Hlavin employs Army and Air Force vets in his writing room, and former Marine sniper Steve Seapker to ensure that Swagger lives, walks, talks and shoots pure USMC.

“He keeps us really honest with respect to almost every aspect of Marine life,” Hlavin says. “When you’re inside Swagger’s gun shack in the pilot episode, everything you see on the walls, that’s real Marine stuff. All the Afghanistan flashbacks stuff that comes later in the season was all designed around authenticity.”

Hlavin says Phillippe made Seapker’s job easy. “Ryan hit a 12-inch target at 883 yards — in about his second shot,” he marvels. “He’s in 90 percent of the action scenes, and it’s actually Ryan performing the action or doing the stunt!”

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