Rod Lurie, Rita Wilson and Larry Groupe (‘The Outpost’): Their song ‘Everybody Cries’ resonates because ‘death is universal, tears are universal’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“Death is universal, tears are universal. Everybody cries, everybody dies,” laments “The Outpost” director Rod Lurie about “Everybody Cries,” the song that he co-wrote with the film’s composer Larry Groupe and actress/singer/songwriter Rita Wilson.

The song features prominently throughout the film as an expression of grief and sorrow and ultimately acceptance of the inevitable need to move forward. It was particularly personal for Lurie, who tragically lost his son Hunter Lurie, who suddenly died during filming at 27 years of age, the same age as many of the men depicted in the film who were killed in action. “This is the defining moment of my life. For the rest of my life I’ll be finding purpose for my son,” Lurie admits when talking about how that profound loss will always be with him. Watch our exclusive video interview with the trio above.

SEE Exclusive Video Interview: Lorenzo Senatore (‘The Outpost’ cinematographer)

In “The Outpost,” a unit of 53 U.S. Army soldiers are stationed at an outpost based deep in a dangerous and remote valley in Northern Afghanistan. Widely regarded as a death trap because of its location and exposure to the mountains surrounding it, the soldiers are under constant fire by Taliban insurgents, culminating in the deadly Battle of Kamdesh on October 3, 2009. On that fateful day, hundreds of Taliban fighters vastly outnumbered and surrounded the soldiers in a day-long coordinated ambush attack. The battle stands as the bloodiest American engagement of the decades-long war in Afghanistan, as eight U.S. soldiers were killed and another 27 were wounded.

The film was adapted by screenwriters Eric Johnson and Paul Tamasy from CNN anchor Jake Tapper’s book “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor.” It became a surprise streaming hit over the summer, despite it missing out on its intended summer tentpole release across multiplexes at the outset of the global coronavirus pandemic. While “The Outpost” shot to the top of various streaming charts, critics have also lavished praise on the film, currently scoring a 92% “fresh” rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

“I always knew that there would be some song that the guys would have and the idea would be that I would plant it a couple of times in the film, sung by men,” Lurie explains on how the song came to be. “Then a the end of the film we would come in with this beautiful, mellifluous female voice,” he says about how Wilson ultimately became involved. “I immediately responded to it because how truthful it was and how raw it was,” Wilson reveals about when she as approached to sing the song and also contribute to its music and lyrics. “In so many cultures, music is played to allow people to grieve in a way to allow the music to speak for what they can’t say,” she says. Groupe, who fleshed the song out from its original acoustic aesthetic to a fuller, more orchestral sound, was also keen to honor Lurie’s personal vision, responding to “the sincerity and the emotionality,” he says. “I very much knew what was happening with Hunter so when I received it, the full impact was there.”

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