Dark Side of Elias

30 11 2007

I took a little time before I noticed that: When Chris breaks up the rape, camera shows Elias standing nearby. Mostly viewers believe that he’d just noticed the incident, but to me the way he is standing indicates he’s been there for a while, observing. Users on the IMDB board were arguing about it… but, why Stone didn’t show him in motion, or at least the in moment he recognizes what’s going on? Few minutes earlier Elias had raised hell about Barnes actions in the village, Chris apparently was expecting some support from him also this time, but the only reaction is an angry, somehow annoyed: “get out of there!” Why?

Maybe Elias saw that Chris was taking care about it already… but even then, a rape was still a war crime, so why didn’t he wanted to courtmartial the rapists? Once a doubt was planted in my head I started to wonder: what if Elias’ actions were not that much fueled by his high morality standards, but by a personal vendetta against Barnes?

I reviewed the movie from this new perspective and suddenly there was much darker Elias. Someone who’s inclination for socializing covers a need to be admired, to be the “heart of the party”, or even a ruler of souls. He is like a guru of some strange sect and blowing smoke through the barrel of the gun — an initiation ritual.

I know, not many people would agree. But there is no need to shoot at me — it’s just a thought, a theory. Knowing Stone’s other works it wouldn’t surprise me if he indeed hid some twists in his story, showing that there is no such thing like pure goodness or pure evil.

Sidetracks: Watching Born on the 4th of July

30 11 2007

So finally I came to watch the new DVD which was collecting dust on my shelf. It was the first time I could watch the movie without dubbing. 

Surprise #1 — Tom Berenger as reincarnation of Barnes really steals the show. I remember I literally froze as I saw him, but now I noticed that something’s wrong. He doesn’t SOUND like Barnes! Or is it just me?

Surprise #2 — Spotted a recruiting poster hanging in a window. For a moment I thought I saw  the Polish movie poster for Platoon!

 Right away I wrote an email to the artist who designed the Polish poster, asking if he used the recruiting poster as an inspiration. He answered that he’d never seen it before. Isn’t it just a totally weird coincidence? Or — again — is it only me seeing ghosts? 

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find the Am. poster anywhere online, the screenshot is the best image I have.

Sidetracks: Photographs from Vietnam

29 11 2007

There is an excellent website with pictures made in Vietnam by Tim Page, “the crazy English kid photographer” — I think it was more or less how he was described in Michael Herr’s book Dispatches.


One of the photographs shows the same soldier which is on the title of my big NAM. The Vietnam Experience album edited by Page — it’s a strange feeling seing him again on another photograph. Makes it all more real. And I ask myself what happened to him.

Cast & Crew: Young Willem Dafoe

29 11 2007

A gallery whith a photo of young Dafoe from his time in the Performing Garage, his first theater. The next pic is his wife Elisabeth, and there is also Spalding Gray and Steve Buscemi! I didn’t know they worked on the same stage!


A little movie from Cannes reunion in 2006

29 11 2007


Behind-the-Scenes photos by Gordon J.Smith

29 11 2007

Found Behind-the-scenes photos made by Gordon J. Smith, the make-up guy from Platoon, great pics, including the Elias-as-Ghost picture from the deleted scene.
I NEVER saw them before. 

Cast & Crew: Viggo Mortensen as Elias

28 11 2007

It is probably quite well known that initially there were some other choices for Platoon cast. Kevin Costner for Barnes, Emilio Estevez (Charlie Sheen’s brother), Keanu Reeves and Kyle McLachlan for Chris. But not many people know that young Viggo Mortensen was considered for the part of Elias. 

Yes, there is a whole bunch of similarities between Mortensen and Dafoe, they even look like relatives. To me it seems a little bit odd that both were considered for the part, despite the fact that in the original script Elias was an Indian!


Rebel King
GQ magazine, April 2004

Quote: Oliver Stone cast Viggo as a sergeant in a war movie that he was making. Platoon. Then the financing fell through but Viggo knew that Oliver Stone would get the movie made in the end, and he would be ready as an actor had ever been. For the next year, Viggo read every book on Vietnam he could lay his hands on. “I researched that part as thoroughly as I f*****g could,” he remembers. “Mentally and in every way. Physically.” 

One day he heard that the film was going into production and that Oliver Stone had recast his role, giving it to Willem Dafoe. About ten years later Viggo met with Stone again, when the director was looking to make a movie about Manuel Noriega.  “Oh, it’s great to meet you,” the director told him. Viggo pointed out that they had met several times before (Viggo had also auditioned for a part in Salvador, in Spanish, for Stone).  “He didn’t seem to remember much of any of it at all,” Viggo reflects. “Pretty shocking because I took it pretty seriously.”   

Source: http://www.viggo-works.com/index.php?page=140&sid=


In Conversation With Viggo Mortensen
By Dorian Lynskey, Empire, March 2008

EMPIRE: Is it true you were originally chosen for the Willem Dafoe role in Platoon

MORTENSEN: Yeah, well, at that time Oliver Stone wasn’t such a big deal, and it was going to be a smaller budget. He was going around raising the money using my videotaped audition. Then he was able to raise more money with the requirement that he had someone known, and I was completely unknown. I can totally understand on a business level why it didn’t happen. It’s just that I laboured for a year or more under the illusion that I had the part, and so I spent a year reading every paper, every book, every essay, watching every film, every documentary about Vietnam. I don’t regret it because I learned a lot, but I was so ready to play that part. I prepared for that as rigorously as anything I’ve ever worked on and it didn’t happen. It was frustrating.” 



Sigh, it would be great to watch those old audition tapes. Actually, both articles are very disappointing: both interviewers changed the subject as soon as it started to be really interesting… 😦

Mortensen is a guy who traveled to Ural and studied Russian prison tattoos for Eastern Promises, he visits birthplaces of his characters to get the accent right, he is obsessed with getting his characters accurate, and giving them backgrounds. 

I have absolutely no doubts he would be good for the part but of course different, probably a bit darker. And younger, still don’t have the exact year when the first preproduction for Platoon started, I think some time 83 or 84, so Mortensen was 26 then, closer to the original concept of Elias, a 23 years old “kid”. BTW, I can hardly imagine what would happen if two “accuracy junkies”, Mortensen and Dale Dye met on the set. 🙂

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