Q&A: Lone Survivor Star Alexander Ludwig

‘Lone Survivor’ Star Alexander Ludwig tells M&F about Navy SEALs training, working with Mark Wahlberg and his favorite workout threads.


Lone Survivor star Alexander Ludwig runs us through the Navy SEALs training from the set of Lone Survivor and shares the wildest moments from working with lead actor Mark Wahlberg. This 21-year-old athletic actor grew up a competitive skier and now represents the fitness apparel brand RYU, (we love them too). For his role in the box office war film, he packed on a lean 30 pounds in a few months. Catch Ludwig play real-life Navy SEAL Shane Patton in Lone Survivor and stay tuned to M&F for more from this rising star.

M&F: How did you get involved with Lone Survivor?

Alexander Ludwig: While filming Grown Ups 2 I got a call from my agent telling me there was this amazing role in this great epic war film based off a book called Lone Survivor. Whenever I had my break from filming, I went into my trailer and I put myself on tape for Lone Survivor. Within that week, I got a call saying Pete Berg, the director, wanted to Skype with me so we had this great conversation about the role and what he was looking for in it. Next thing I knew I was heading to Albuquerque, New Mexico to film Lone Survivor.

What was your initial reaction when you were informed that you would be cast?

I was so excited and flabbergasted to be a part of such an incredible story. It was about telling a story and really honoring the people who fight and die for this country on a regular basis. We wanted to do a great job at depicting how it actually is over there and Pete put all his effort into doing that.

Tell us about your character in the movie, Shane Patton.

Shane Patton is the youngest of the Navy SEALs in this group and Mark Wahlberg’s apprentice/little brother. In real life, Marcus Luttrell and Shane had a very good relationship and Shane was Marcus’ apprentice. He was this fun, loving character from Nevada who loved his rock and roll music, had a good heart and was eager to go on missions with the guys. He doesn’t get to go but he does wind up being one of the main reasons the whole squadron goes to save the four guys. Shane serves to show the innocence and humanity in the movie.

How did you train before filming Lone Survivor?

I wanted to make this real for my character and I wanted to look like a Navy SEAL so I put on about 30 pounds of muscle, going from 195lbs to 225. I did a lot of heavy lifting and ate like a caveman: steak, vegetables, and lots of protein. I incorporated my own personal ab routine. While lying flat on the floor, do 30 reps of medicine ball V ups. Then, without rest, do 30 Russian twists, left and right is one rep. Keeping your legs up, lie on your back, and do 30 crunches with the med ball on your chest. Repeat the circuits 3 times with a 30 second break in between circuits. I do that everyday. Then, I did a YouTube workout called 8-minute abs for its variety of workouts. I would also swim a lot and do lifts like benching and shoulder presses. For upper body, I did back/biceps one day and chest/triceps another day, alternating for six days a week with Sunday off. 

Next: Ludwig talks about his craziest stories from the set of Lone Survivor >>