Cast & Crew: Corkey Ford Remembers Platoon

30 04 2008

QUOTE: Twenty years ago, Corkey Ford took his mother to see a movie. It was a good movie, an Oscar-winning movie. Mom rather enjoyed it until, well… maybe Corkey should tell it.

She screamed and passed out. We had to carry her out of the theater. Tough to blame Mom. She had just seen her son tied dead to a tree. (…)

The original script seemed kind to Manny. He was the one with the lines that pulled guys together when things were in shambles. Stone sometimes described Corkey as the backbone of the group.
The problem is no one likes a four-hour movie. The script ran too long. Scissors were needed.

Corkey left the movie premier seeing red. Manny didn’t say one word. (…)

“Oliver tied me to a tree and didnt tell anyone where I was, Corkey says. The only direction he told the rest of the cast is, Hes out there somewhere. Find him. Youll know when you get there. Then he just let the cameras roll.

Actor Keith David was the first to spot Corkey dead. He puked.

read the whole article

“Stone sometimes described Corkey as the backbone of the group”? Which version of the script are they talking about?!? There was not that much of Manny in the final draft… 

… or did the author mixed up the group of characters in the story with the group of actors on the set… :-/

OS receiving Oscar for Platoon on YouTube

30 04 2008

I’ve never seen this before. In the auditory one can see OS’s mom, Tom Berenger and Dafoe (looking very young). I liked how Stone named the event: a Cinderella Ending. It made me recall those 10 years long story and all the obstacles Stone met before he could make the movie. I recalled the interviews from The Tour of The Inferno, how all the crew thought the movie was doomed because Top Gun being THE military movie in the theatres that year, and the not-so-good start just before Christmas… it was indeed a Cinderella Ending.

WWW Findings: If Oliver Stone Picked a Pseudonym…

29 04 2008

A HERO’S TALE (Word Trade Center)


OS: “If I could change my name like John le Carre does when he writes books, I would have done it years ago.” He’s even picked a pseudonym — Alex Miller. (…)

He’s also seriously considering a comedy.

Stone has been working on a script about the changes people go through from childhood to old age.

“In part, it’s based on my father and my sons and my wives — I’ve had three — and my grandmothers,” he says. “It would be even more personal than ‘Platoon.’ I mean this would be on a larger canvas. Of course, I worry that it would be viewed as self-indulgent and a vanity project.”

Sounds like the time to trot out Alex Miller.

The name Alexander seems to have a special meaning to him, maybe because of his childhood friend mentioned in Child’s Night Dream. There is also an Alexander in Break.

Spotted: A Girl with a Hangtag

26 04 2008

The little girl in the ville has a hangtag attached to her clothes. I always thought it was a kind of ID all Vietnamese had to show, some other villagers wear them also, but someone on said it was an ID for film extras.

Cast & Crew: Viggo Mortensen as Elias(2)

19 04 2008

A follow-up from here

Was re-watching The Indian Runner movie with Viggo Mortensen. He is playing Frank, a disturbed young man just coming back from Vietnam. (He is NOT disturbed BECAUSE of the war, btw)

Anyway, after ages of knowing the movie, a patch on his beret caught my attention. Then I realized that he was wearing a Cavalry patch (which I noticed at first watching) but on his RIGHT sleeve (that was new), while there was another one on his left.

Soon I could identify it as 12th Special Forces Group patch, so Frank was a Green Beret, (not really important for the movie, even if it tells a lot about Frank himself). But well, his former unit was AirCav. Like Elias’…

As mentioned here, he was about to play Elias and prepared for a whole year. His dedication to making his characters alive is legendary and I really wonder what Mortensen did dig out. In Platoon script there is actually only one little hint about Elias past in the Cavalry — it’s in the dialog about “Ia Drang in ’66.” The rest of Elias’ background comes from Stone directly. And I don’t think Mortensen discussed anything with Stone, because some years later, Stone didn’t recognized him at all.

There is also the title of the movie — INDIAN Runner. It has nothing to do with Frank himself, but there is an Indian legend present in the background, and Frank actually has some visions of an Indian. Damn, maybe he had Indian ancestors, but nobody noticed? Unfortunately there is no original script to be found on the net, as it could reveal the original ideas in the movie. I know, it has nothing to do with logic, but the word itself made me think of Elias being an Indian too.

Ah, what I wanted to say, in The Indian Runner movie Mortensen surely used some things he found out for Elias, and once I started to think about it, I could even say, he “smuggled” some of his Elias into Frank, even if Frank is more an antithesis of Elias – disturbed, violent, unpredictable, very dark, closer to Bunny than even Barnes. Hence the damn Cav patch on his right sleeve, because there is absolutely no meaning about in which unit he had been before going to the Berets. Oh, yes, Frank is a sergeant too.

Mortensen had also a very convincing scene where he is obviously stoned. His eyes… remind me of Dafoe’s eyes in “feeling good is good enogh”.

Frank Roberts’ (Indian Runner) medals I could identify from the ribbons he’s wearing on his uniform:
Bronze star
a. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who,(…) distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service (…)
b. Awards may be made for acts of heroism, performed under circumstances described above, which are of lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star.

c. Awards may be made to recognize single acts of merit or meritorious service. The required achievement or service while of lesser degree than that required for the award of the Legion of Merit must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.

Purple Heart
:a. The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed Force who, while serving with the U.S. Armed Services after 5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded (…)
Army Good Conduct Medal
: a. The Good Conduct Medal is awarded for exemplary behavior, efficiency, and fidelity in active Federal Military service. It is awarded on a selective basis to each soldier who distinguishes himself from among his/her fellow soldiers by their exemplary conduct, efficiency, and fidelity throughout a specified period of continuous enlisted active Federal military service. (…)

Vietnam Service Medal
a. Awarded to all members of the Armed Forces of the United States serving in Vietnam and contiguous waters or airspace thereover, after 3 July 1965 through 28 March 1973. (…)

Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
: The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal is awarded to personnel who meet one of the following requirements:
a. Served in the Republic of Vietnam for six months during the period of 1 March 1961 and 28 March 1973.

b. Served outside the geographical limits of the Republic of Vietnam and contributed direct combat support to the Republic of Vietnam and Armed Forces for six months.(…)

c. Six months service is not required for individuals who were wounded by hostile forces; killed in action or otherwise in line of duty; or captured by hostile forces.

Well, this set of medals would suit Elias much better than Frank.

The Bookshelf: Assembled Thoughts on Child’s Night Dream

15 04 2008

In general it was better than the German translation, but here and there I’ve got lost, as I’d got often lost in Hemingway or Conrad or Joyce, moments when after reading a page I had to stop wondering what actually is going on. It is a wild text, sometimes overdone, but at least it shows how well read young Stone was. To imitate (no matter well or poorly) other writers you have first to read them. It’s amazing what that 19 years old had in his mind.

It’s a pity I cannot read the original text, that one which landed in the East river in 1967, because just like with Platoon, I’d like to know the original ideas and know which details were added while OS was reworking the manuscript later. Because the text contains some strange coincidences:

The book was written originally before he went to war, and parts that deal with it are written in form of a future fantasy. The protagonist says, he started smoking in the army. And I know OS said in some interview that he indeed started smoking on his way to Vietnam.

In his fantasy he is in a unit near “Pleiku, 25th Infantry country”. Pleiku is a city in the north of South Vietnam. It was indeed a headquarter of 25th Infantry Division, and initially I thought the movie took place somewhere in the Pleiku area.

When the protagonist was a little boy, one of his vestiges didn’t come down and was surgically removed. Later he told everybody it was a war injury. Made me think of Chris after the final battle.

One of his fictional buddies was “Crazybush, (…) a half crazy Indian who sent his old lady all his money for Christmas before she ran away with the biker next door…” Definitely reminds me of Elias’ biography from the book and script.

A part of a dialogue: “They’ll be coming up the middle. Try to split both platoons, get us in a crossfire.” 

I immediately thought of Elias’ line from the movie: “Dinks get men in these holes, they got us caught in the crossfire.”

An old friend from the school named Alexander is mentioned. The name appears in Break.

In one of those what-the-hell-is-going-on moments in the story (it’s a battle scene but it gets lost in OS’s verbosity) he inserts a little sentence: “Standing now holding my head with pain. Above the left eye, inserting its knifepoint, working down the perimeter of my cheek, into my witching mouth muscles.”

Sounds somehow similar to the description of Barnes from the script: “The distortion from the jaw up the left side of his face to his forehead, punctuated by a severe indentation above the left eye where a bullet once penetrated his skull.” 

From an after-battle scene: “There must be hundreds of them lying at our feet. Little yellow men in green uniforms, swimming without motion.” Great description of the scene before Chris kills Barnes, isn’t it?

In one of the book’s the future fantasies, the protagonist has a daughter named Tara. His real daughter was born around the same time he was rewriting the novel. Her name is Tara. The ficitional daughter “loved that passage from Ecclesiastes, which went “rejoice in thy youth… and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes. Knowing that in all these things God will bring thee into judgment”. Well, well, well, here we have the full quotation from Ecclesiastes he used for the movie.

He also taught her a prayer “which I taught myself in a moment of trying to relieve my suffering, and which began: O, Lord, surprise me“. Nice.

“God holds out for us to see but goes unseen? Ask Ahab.” Hmmmm…

A sentence which could be very much written by myself: “I am not able nor willing to differentiate between people, for they are all the same to me, creatures to be met, interrogated and left behind. I am a lodestone without polarity, the mathematician who has reasoned out the odds and decided against. There is a forever hopeless resignation in my attitude of arriving alone, of leaving alone. And God, I swear there are times, there are times it’s as if I were literally starving. A want of something in my life. The things which make the world go round…”


Well, there are 4 possibilities:

1. Stone changed things while rewriting the novel, so they matched his life;

2. he’d foreseen some things, and his life was full of deja vu-s from his stories (I had one, it’s a little scary to find yourself in a situation you wrote for someone else);

3. he tried actually to live his story.

The first is the most natural thing, but somehow I can easily imagine the third. 🙂 The more I know about the guy the more I’m convinced he was a real weirdo as a young man. Damn well read one. It’s clearly visible that he was trying to write like Conrad, Hemingway, Joyce… Being a weirdo myself it only makes me more sympathetic to me.

Oh, yes, there is a fourth option: he is playing with his audience. It’s something that I myself intended to do with my never-to-be written pieces. I’ve always had a weird feeling that Platoon is a kind of a methaphysical riddle for me to figure out. I still have that feeling, so probably I haven’t solved the riddle yet. 😀

Stone on YouTube

5 04 2008

Watched some interviews with Stone on YouTube. Also a long speech he had at University of Regina. Well, sometimes he can speak clearly, I wish he would do this in the Platoon commentary. In his speech he quotes Roethke’s line: “In the dark time the eye beginns to see”, which is also a favorite quote of Viggo Mortensen, these were the first words he said in the Lord of the Rings documentary. Made me jump hearing these words unexpectedly.

Stone also mentioned that he’d dreamt of being ship merchant as a young man. This dream is described in his novel.

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