YEAR: 2005

ROLE:  Capt. George Cummings, US Navy

DIRECTOR:  Rob Cohen

US PREMIERE: July 29, 2005

Plot Summary

U.S. Navy pilots Ben Gannon (Lucas), Kara Wade (Biel) and Henry Purcell (Foxx) are part of a close-knit elite division of test pilots flying highly classified stealth fighter jets, referred to only as Talons. They're the best of the best and they know it. Then their commanding officer Captain George Cummings (Shepard) introduces the team to their new wingman -- an artificial intelligence-based UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle), nicknamed "EDI."

Although Ben is hesitant about taking "the human pilot out of the equation of war," Cummings orders the team to execute their first real mission alongside "EDI." To their amazement, "EDI" proves to be a cracker-jack wingman and they successfully eliminate their target. But on the return trip to their base aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson, "EDI" is struck by lightning. The drone's brain expands in ways its creators could never have predicted. Despite Ben and Henry's reservations, Cummings declares "EDI" ready to rejoin the team in the air.

On their next mission against a nuclear-armed warlord in a remote Chinese province, "EDI's" seriously compromised circuitry problems only get worse and danger escalates when "EDI" decides to execute a top-secret mission.

Film Details

Josh LUCAS......................Lt. Ben Gannon
Jessica BIEL.......................Lt. Kara Wade
Jamie FOXX...................Lt. Henry Purcell
Joe MORTON.................Capt. Marshfield
Sam SHEPARD...............Capt. Cummings
Richard ROXBURGH.......Dr. Keith Orbit
Ian BLISS.............................Lt. Shaftsbury

Movie Stills
Production Notes

Over the past few years, writer/director Rob Cohen had been thinking about making a movie about Navy fighter pilots. He was fascinated by a recent technological advance called Tergen developed by Digital Domain, which would give him the ability to create virtual backgrounds.

In preparation Coehn worked on the designs for EDI and the Talons. Working with two senior designers at North Aviation, he came up with the first prototype Talon. With his production desiger, J. Michael Riva,and a team of industrial engineers, they refined it and came up with a sexier Talon, which would be flown by the three main pilots in the film.

Cohen thought Australia would be the perfect location for Stealth. They used Fox studios because of the amount of space they needed. In addition, they needed locations to double for Alaska, North Korea and Asia.

The film begins in Nevada, for which they used Australia's Flinders Ranges mountains. Sdyney's Blue Mountains were used for North Korea's rugged mountainous terrain. New Zealand was used for some of Alaska's shots. They recreated Myanmar (formerly Burma) in an area called Zetlands in Sydney and brought in more than 100 Burmese as extras and also put together a platoon of Korean soldiers.

Following completion of photography in Australia, the production moved to Northern Thailand for three weeks, followed by a week at sea off the coast of San Diego on the USS Carl Vinson, an active aircraft carrier.

Photos - Rob Cohen directs his cast:

Co-star Josh Lucas said the best reason for doing "Stealth" was to work with Sam Shepard


Roger Ebert - Rating 1.5 out of 4:
Navy fliers have been chosen to pilot a new generation of stealth fighter-bombers. They're all aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in the Philippine Sea, under the command of Capt. George Cummings (Sam Shepard, who played the test pilot Chuck Yeager in "The Right Stuff"). In a movie like "Stealth," you're asking for trouble if you remind people of "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Top Gun" and "The Right Stuff."

Kenneth Turan, LA Times:
If you're going to steal, you might as well steal big. "Stealth" has pilfered from "Top Gun," "2001: A Space Odyssey" and a few other places to produce a slick piece of summer entertainment that is counting on elaborate special effects to make its derivative, convoluted story line all but irrelevant... The trio of pilots, looking good in the requisite slow-motion flight-suited walk down an aircraft carrier deck, are prouder than punch to be flying top-secret stealth fighter jets called Talons for Capt. George Cummings (Sam Shepard, always a treat in military roles).

Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Shepard is convincingly dyspeptic as the venal Cummings. But the best performance comes from Roxburgh, whose take on Orbit is so intriguingly eccentric that the character seems to have parachuted in from a different, better film. Occasionally, "Stealth" seems poised to make a statement about the absurdity of war and the dubious morality of those who wage it. But again and again, the impulse to address the situation in depth is pre-empted by the urge to blow something up. It's as if the filmmakers were afraid to follow through, opting instead for cheap thrills. Not that there's anything unusual about that.

Tyler Hanley, Palo Alto Weekly:
Shepard fills his officer shoes admirably but commonplace double-crosses and unrealistic scenarios make his role feel all but worthless.  Biel is an attractive draw, but more for sex appeal than performance reasons, and Foxx just seems out of place after reaching best-actor status in Ray. EDI -- a shameless mockery of HAL from "2001: A Space Odyssey" -- offers some interesting moments, but again not until the film's finale. Visuals waver from stellar (hyper-kinetic flight scenes) to superfluous (a graphics-heavy world map). A strained romantic angle between Lucas and Biel does nothing to quicken the pace.

Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle:
Sam Shepard plays Capt. Cummings, lending gravity by his presence... Beyond mind-numbing explosions, Stealth's effects are good, especially the whooshing flight scenes. But as Eddie shows, humanity matters, and computer wizardry won't fill an empty plot.

John Wirt, The Advocate:
Stealth's hazy subplot touches on the arrogance of power. Rushing an unmanned combat aerial vehicle into action, a Navy captain ignores simple common sense, not to mention science. Crusty Sam Shepard fits the bill as the hardheaded military man who won't see the writing on the wall.

Bill Muller, The Arizona Republic:
The fliers train under Capt. Cummings (Sam Shepard), who introduces their fourth wingman, a sophisticated jet piloted by a computer instead of a human. Shepard is always great as the Slightly Loopy Guy in Charge, especially if you can't find Donald Sutherland or Chris Cooper.

Kyle Smith, NY Post:
A Pulitzer-garlanded playwright can't blame his agents for hooking him up with a script that gives him lines like, "All I want to hear out of that plane is 'Yessir!'...His noble mug is a painful reminder of glory past: The scene where a pilot bails out in "Stealth" is so over-painted with CGI that it doesn't look as real as the sequence starring Shepard that inspired it in "The Right Stuff," a movie made with model airplanes.

NY Daily News:
The best acting comes from Shepard, although it's deflating to see him ordering these young pups to do what he did with more charisma as maverick pilot Chuck Yeager in "The Right Stuff." "Stealth" is flimsy and forgettable, but it does have a few worthy action and special-effects sequences.

Christine Toto, The Washington Times:
Stealth" flies into theaters a bit late in the summer season, but it's got summer stamped all over it. Big, bold action. Beautiful stars who could double for Bally's "after" models. Dialogue that will never make it into any AFI quotation list.It's Rob Cohen country. The director behind "The Fast and the Furious" and "XXX" steers his action sequences with the steady hand of a safecracker, so who cares if characterization gets short shrift?

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune - Rating 2 out of 4:
Shepard swaggers amusingly as the villain Cummings, and the other actors (including Joe Morton and Richard Roxburgh) are pleasant enough. But they can't really make much of the mad rambles of EDI and the vaulting excesses of the special-effects team. Cohen, 56, achieved his movie success relatively late, but his errors sometimes suggest the follies of youth. He mounts a lavish production, casts good actors, hires a good writer (Richter) and tries interesting angles but he also gets overly tangled up in technology and blind to logic.