By Debbie Gregory.
A former Army Ranger played a big role on the set of the recently released film “The Wall.”
Nicholas “The Reaper” Irving was responsible for making sure the film’s stars, John Cena and Aaron Taylor-Johnson stayed technically true to their roles as Army snipers.
“Having Irving on set really helped make sure that we were tactically in place do we didn’t do injustice to our service men and woman,” Cena said.
Irving is well qualified for his role as a technical advisor. He served as a direct-action sniper with the 3rd Ranger Battalion for most of his Army career, from 2004 to 2009, deploying multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan
“The Wall,” follows two American soldiers, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Shane Matthews (Cena) and his spotter, Sergeant Allen Isaac (Taylor-Johnson) who have been dispatched on a mission into the desert to investigate the killing of a group of contractors who had been working on a pipeline construction site.
Both of them are shot and trapped by Juba, an Iraqi sniper. Isaac takes cover behind an unsteady wall and tends to his wounds. Juba had previously taken a radio from one of his victims, and now uses it to communicate with Isaac under the pretense of being a high ranking allied soldier at another site. The deception allows Juba to get other useful information from Isaac.
Irving earned his nickname due to his 33 kills. He’s written two books about his experiences at war, “The Reaper,” and “Way of the Reaper.” NBC is currently developing a miniseries based on his battlefield exploits.
As for weapons training, Cena says he’s had the privilege of training with elite soldiers in the past.
“I’ve been lucky over the course of my career to be in some pretty wonderful situations with some high-skilled tacticians, and I’ve been able to go through some skills training and some range training with the U.S. military’s finest.”