Generation Kill is an American seven-part television miniseries produced for HBO that aired from 13 July to 24 August 2008.
It is based on Evan Wright’s 2004 book about his experience as an embedded reporter with the US Marine Corps’ 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, adapted for television by David Simon, Ed Burns, and Wright.
The miniseries was directed by Susanna White and Simon Cellan Jones and produced by Andrea Calderwood. The ensemble cast includes Alexander Skarsgård as Sergeant Brad ‘Iceman’ Colbert, James Ransone as Corporal Josh Ray Person, and Lee Tergesen as Wright.
A Rolling Stone reporter, embedded with The 1st Recon Marines chronicles his experiences during the first wave of the American-led assault on Baghdad in 2003.
There are 28 starring cast members with a large supporting cast. The majority of the characters were drawn from the Second Platoon of the First Reconnaissance Battalion’s Bravo Company. Lee Tergesen played embedded reporter Evan Wright. Wright was assigned to the lead vehicle of Bravo Company, which he shared with Staff Sergeant Brad “Iceman” Colbert, played by Alexander Skarsgård, Corporal Josh Ray Person, played by James Ransone and Lance Corporal Harold James Trombley, played by Billy Lush. To prepare for their roles as Recon Marines, the cast attended a six-day boot camp led by Eric Kocher and Rudy Reyes.
Other starring characters, from 2nd platoon include:
- First Lieutenant Nathaniel Fick, played by Stark Sands.
- Gunnery Sergeant Mike “Gunny” Wynn, played by Marc Menchaca.
- Sergeant Antonio “Poke” Espera, played by former US Air Force airman, Jon Huertas.
- Sergeant Leandro “Shady B” Baptista, played by a US Army soldier, Mike Figueroa.
- Sergeant Larry Shawn “Pappy” Patrick, played by Josh Barrett.
- Sergeant Rodolfo “Rudy” Reyes portrays himself.
- Directing staff in the reality TV series ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins‘ from series 07 (2022).
- Hospital Corpsman Second Class Robert Timothy “Doc” Bryan, played by Jonah Lotan.
- Corporal Evan “Q-Tip” Stafford, played by Wilson Bethel.
- Corporal Walt Hasser, played by Pawel Szajda.
- Corporal Gabriel “Gabe” Garza, played by Rey Valentin.
- Corporal Daniel Redman, played by Sean Brosnan.
- Corporal Jason Lilley, played by Kellan Lutz.
- Corporal Anthony “Manimal” Jacks, played by Rich McDonald.
- Corporal James Chaffin, played by Eric Ladin.
- Private First Class John Christeson, played by Daniel Fox.
- Major General James “Chaos” Mattis, commanding officer of 1st Marine Division, played by Robert John Burke.
- Lieutenant Colonel Stephen “Godfather” Ferrando, commanding officer of the First Reconnaissance Battalion, played by Chance Kelly.
- Major Todd Eckloff, executive officer of the battalion, played by Benjamin Busch.
- Captain Bryan Patterson, commanding officer of Alpha Company, played by Michael Kelly.
- Captain Craig Schwetje, commanding officer of Bravo Company, played by Brian Patrick Wade
- Captain Dave “Captain America” McGraw, the erratic commanding officer of 3rd platoon, Bravo comp.any, played by Eric Nenninger.
- Sergeant Major John Sixta, a loudmouth Battalion SNCO, played by Neal Jones.
- Gunnery Sergeant Ray Griego, Bravo Company’s operations chief, played by David Barrera.
- Sergeant Eric Kocher, a long-suffering team leader under the command of “Captain America”, played by Owain Yeoman.
- The real-life Eric Kocher portrays another Marine (Gunnery Sergeant Rich Barrott) who drives Captain Patterson’s command Humvee in Alpha.
- Corporal Jeffrey “Dirty Earl” Carazales, played by J. Salome Martinez Jr.
- “Meesh”, the battalion translator, played by Nabil Elouahabi.
David Simon and Ed Burns co-wrote and executive produced the miniseries alongside Company Pictures’ George Faber and Charles Pattinson, and HBO’s Anne Thomopoulos. Andrea Calderwood was the producer; Nina Noble served as co-executive producer; author Evan Wright was credited as a consulting producer; Susanna White and Simon Cellan Jones directed the episodes; and two former US Marines, Eric Kocher and Rudy Reyes, served as the production’s military advisors as well as starred in the series.
The cable channel HBO gave the go-ahead to a seven-part miniseries, based on Evan Wright’s book about his experiences as an embedded reporter with the US Marine Corps’ 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the Iraq War’s first phase. The series is set during the invasion of Iraq, from late March to early April 2003. The miniseries was shot over a six-month shoot from mid-to-late 2007 in South Africa, Mozambique, and Namibia. The primary production value aspired to was authenticity. The miniseries was produced on a budget of $56 million.
Although the series has no score, it features a large collection of music, much of it songs that were popular among the American populace in late 2002 and early 2003. The newer music (in the show’s context) serves to illustrate pop culture during the time of the invasion. All of the songs are sung a cappella by cast members, with the exception of Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” and Josh Ray Person’s “Re-Up Time”.
Generation Kill was nominated for 11 Primetime Emmy Awards and won three in 2009, in the miniseries categories. Nominations included Outstanding Miniseries, Outstanding Directing (Susanna White for “Bomb in the Garden”), and Outstanding Writing (David Simon and Ed Burns for “Bomb in the Garden”). It won for Outstanding Special Visual Effects, Outstanding Sound Editing, and Outstanding Sound Mixing. It was nominated for two awards by the Visual Effects Society in the categories of Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie or Special and Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Broadcast Program or Commercial.
The miniseries received very positive reviews from critics.
A red carpet screening of Generation Kill was held for US Marines at Camp Pendleton in California, where the series was favourably received.
Generation Kill Series
- Episode 01: Get Some.
- Episode 02: The Cradle of Civilisation.
- Episode 03: Screwby.
- Episode 04: Combat Jack.
- Episode 05: A Burning Dog.
- Episode 06: Stay Frosty.
- Episode 07: Bomb in the Garden.
Production & Filming Details
- Susanna White … (4 episodes, 2008).
- Simon Cellan Jones … (3 episodes, 2008).
- Ed Burns … executive producer (7 episodes, 2008).
- Andrea Calderwood … producer (7 episodes, 2008).
- George Faber … executive producer (7 episodes, 2008).
- Jonathan Haren … post-production producer (7 episodes, 2008).
- Carol Hughes … line producer (7 episodes, 2008).
- Nina K. Noble … co-executive producer (7 episodes, 2008).
- Charles Pattinson … executive producer (7 episodes, 2008).
- Lance Samuels … line producer / line producer: South Africa (7 episodes, 2008).
- David Simon … executive producer (7 episodes, 2008).
- Greg Spence … associate producer (7 episodes, 2008).
- Anne Thomopoulos … executive producer (7 episodes, 2008).
- Evan Wright … consulting producer (7 episodes, 2008).
- Ed Burns … (7 episodes, 2008).
- David Simon … (7 episodes, 2008).
- Evan Wright … (7 episodes, 2008).
- Ivan Strasburg … (7 episodes, 2008).
- Jason Krasucki … (3 episodes, 2008).
- Oral Norrie Ottey … (3 episodes, 2008).
- Tania Reddin … (1 episode, 2008).
- Production: Boom, Blown Deadline Productions, Company Pictures, and HBO Films.
- Distributor(s): HBO.
- Release Date: 13 July 2008 to 24 August 2008.
- Running Time: 470 minutes (total running time).
- Rating: Unknown.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.