Submariners surface for Hollywood movie premier

Members of the Royal Navy Submarine Service surfaced recently for an extra-special advanced showing of Hollywood movie ‘Hunter Killer’.

Over 200 submariners were invited by Lionsgate Entertainment to watch the film at a specially organised viewing at the Home of the UK Submarine Service at HM Naval Base Clyde. 

The Armed Forces premier was on 18 October, the day before the film was released to the general public, which was in the same week as Trafalgar Day, when the Naval Service celebrates Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson’s historic victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The action-packed movie, which stars Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman, tells the story of a US Navy Hunter-Killer submarine, called into action to rescue the Russian President when he is captured by his own Defence Minister during a visit to a Russian Naval Base.

Butler plays submarine Commander Joe Glass who is sent into Russian waters to help rescue the President and prevent a global conflict.

I think the work you all do is incredibly inspirational and I want to thank you for that.

Gerard Butler

The Paisley-born actor, who is a supporter of the armed forces, was keen that the real submariners had a chance to see the film and even recorded a special message for them which was played before the movie.

“We were thrilled when Lionsgate got in touch with us and said that they and Gerard Butler would like to give us an advanced showing,” said Rear Admiral John Weale, Head of the Submarine Service.

“As you can imagine there was quite a lot of excitement among the submariners at having a chance to see ‘Hunter Killer’ before it was released.  During a submarine patrol, movie nights in the mess become important.  It’s a way of relaxing between watches and, as you can imagine, there’s much debate about which are the best submarine movies.

“I’m glad to say they gave ‘Hunter Killer’ the thumbs-up.  We were particularly thrilled that Gerald Butler went to the effort of filming a message.  It was a special occasion for the Submarine Service.”

A copy of the film was whisked, under special guard, to HM Naval Base Clyde for the viewing at the site’s Warrant Officers’ and Senior Rates’ Mess.   Popcorn at the ready, the eager submariners then settled down to watch the big-budget movie and message from star Gerard Butler.

During his address the actor said: “I think the work you all do is incredibly inspirational and I want to thank you for that.”

Petty Officer Ian Brown said “As a submariner, while accepting that it was a hollywood movie, I was really impressed by how realistic the film was.”

Warrant Officer 1 (WO1), Andy Knox, Command Warrant Officer, Submarines said “There was something extra special about watching the movie in the company of fellow submariners at the home of the UK Submarine Service here in Scotland – especially given the early scenes depicting Faslane as the base is commonly known.”

HM Naval Base Clyde is the Home of the UK Submarine Service, base port for three Astute-class hunter-killer submarines – HMS Astute, HMS Ambush and HMS Artful – and the UK’s ballistic submarines which maintain the nuclear deterrent – HMS Vanguard, HMS Vigilant, HMS Victorious and HMS Vengeance.

From 2020 HM Naval Base Clyde will host all of the Royal Navy’s attack submarines and will be the future home of the Dreadnought-class of the nuclear deterrent submarines.

The development of the site will see numbers at Clyde rise from the current figure of 6,800 to an eventual population of around 8,500.

“Hunter Killer” will be in cinemas from today.