More on Dale Dye’s new movie

1 08 2008

No Better Place For Dale Dye
by Jeff Stoffer

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QUOTE: Q: What was it like, as a 42-year-old neophyte, to walk onto your first movie set? 

A: The very first film I did was a remake of a science-fiction classic called “Invaders from Mars.” And it was directed by Tobe Hooper. A friend of mine from Vietnam was the storyboard artist on the film. He got me the job. In this particular remake, the Marines kill the Martians and save the day. I wrangled my way onto the set as the guy who was going to run the Marines against the Martians. What I really did was go to school. I went to school on every department. I learned what cameras are about, what lighting is about, what grips are about, what acting is about and so on. Through that school, that little film, I found out how to sell myself, how to say what’s wrong and fix it. 

Q: “Invaders from Mars” was not the blockbuster the second film was. 

A: The second one was “Platoon.” Four Academy Awards. Up until that time, I had trouble selling Hollywood on my methods and my way of doing things. They said to me, “We’ve been making war movies forever, and we’ve been making money on them. Why should we pay you to come in here and upset the apple cart?” Well, Oliver Stone was not like that. 

Oliver Stone was, himself, a combat veteran. He said, “You know, you are right, and we need to fix this.” So he gave me a shot to do it my way. We won four Academy Awards, and at that point, Hollywood didn’t challenge me anymore. 

Q: Did you participate in every part of that film? 

A: Every part. Oliver has been a very, very good friend, and believes in me and believes in what I do. He has taught me a lot of stuff. Hollywood – and a lot of people – may not like him because of his political views and everything, but that doesn’t have anything to do with him as a human. He has been a good friend to me and has helped me advance my career. We did “Born on the Fourth of July,” “JFK,” “Heaven & Earth,” a number of films together. Then I sort of began to spread out in movie-making. I formed a company, and we did entertainment at amusement parks, we did music videos, we did all kinds of things that had military attachment. 

Q: The war films you have advised seem to inject a deeper realism than earlier war movies, right down to the anguish on the faces of soldiers. How do you accomplish that? 

A: That’s one of the reasons we have a system of training people before we ever, ever allow them on film. We need to explain the heart and psychology of the soldier. Look, you take actors today. Actors, just by nature, grow up thinking the sun rises and sets on their posteriors. “How many lines do I have?” – that’s really what they care about. Well, you can’t do passionate war movies that are truthful and accurate, and you can’t get actors to do accurate portrayals, unless you are willing to spend some time walking in the other guy’s boots. So, we spend a lot of time getting their hearts and minds right before we ever put them on film. 








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