Kevin Dillon tells story of filming Oliver Stone’s Platoon on 30th anniversary

5 02 2019

“I was changed, I had to actually learn how to behave again and not curse in front of my parents,’ he said. ‘We were so in-character while we were out there that I couldn’t get comfortable in a warm bed anymore, they were too soft.”

I’m not a fan of Daily Mail, but the interview has some interesting, new titbits.

Here is the link

Re: How did they create Barnes facial scars?

17 08 2008

Reposted from IMDB to safe it from disappearing…


Me: Watching the movie for the first time (or even first few times) I was wondering if the scar is real. I think it was the first time ever I considered a possibility of movie make-up being a real thing. ūüôā

There is not much information about the way of making scars:

You could read through the articles’ section at Gordon J. Smiths (Platoon’s make-up artist) website (caution: gory images!), but he gives no real details away…

…nor do those folks talking about movie make-up…

Here is a similar case with the most detailed description I could get.

Probably the best way is to buy a scar kit and try it out ūüėČ

Here is a hi-res picture of Berenger’s face with the scar

I¬†suspect they make a kind of concave plastic profile and glue it to the skin wrapping it around so it builds a dent… dang, my English is not good enough to describe what I mean… it’s a guess, so it doesn’t matter that much anyway, lol.

In any case it doesn’t seem to be made by applying big silicon¬†prosthetics¬†covering whole half of Berenger’s face with the scar carved in it (like e.g. in Terminator).

ARCHIVE FILE | Soldier’s perspective in Platoon

5 08 2008

Platoon shows the POV of an infantry soldier” — similar statements can be read in almost every review. But not often it is mentioned that this line can be taken literally.

Actually there are only two takes in the whole movie filmed from a crane: a very short glimpse of soldiers entering the village and a longer sequence of the soldiers leaving the burning place behind. All other takes are literally filmed from a POV of a soldier: walking, crawling, sometimes flying on a helicopter. IMO this choice is a part of the claustrophobic mood that seems to enclose the viewer and of the I-was-there feeling I remember so well from the cinema.

Often the camera seems to be another actor participating in the dialogs. Sometimes the characters speak almost directly to the camera like Rhah in the Underground scene. In the “First time” dialog Elias looks, talks and points his gun directly at the viewer (maybe that’s why the moment is so intimidating, at least to me).

For years now I plan to observe other movies regarding their POVs, but I still forget about it.The only confirmation of this being a deliberate choice is the commentary on Born on the 4th of July where Stone talks of using the POV of the wheelchair to underline the claustrophobic feeling despite the widescreen format he used for the movie.

Regarding Barnes’ Body Height And Why He Seems To Be Larger Than Life:

22 07 2008

Exchanging emails with a friend and a fellow Platoon addict we came to the same observation: In memories¬†we’ve had of the movie, Barnes seemed to be towering above everyone else. But Tom Berenger is not that tall.

So I (again) took a look at the movie to examine which possible tricks could make us believe this. Well, some takes indeed suggest that Barnes is taller than others, but they are fewer than I assumed: 

Photobucket(click for bigger images)


Others just show him as he is…



Or even make him smaller…¬†



Those shots below CAN suggest size difference, in the first row it’s different camera angle, in the duelling scene Barnes’ face is placed slightly higher, and the last shot just uses perspective.


So it must have been the personality that makes us think Barnes was the biggest guy in the bunch…¬†

Spotted by the way: In this shot a black dressed figure is running through the field…¬†




Deleted scenes from 20th Anniversary Edition DVD

8 01 2008

To be honest I was hoping for more. I’m not sure for what exactly, though. Knowing the actual script I also knew there couldn’t be that much to delete.

So what do we have?


Chris’ First Time

A little more of the dialog between King, Crawford and Chris doing latrine duty.¬†King offers Chris a joint, Chris hesitates but then smokes and says he doesn’t feel anything. King laughs and says: “It’s what they always say”.
Chris tries to excuse himself for the night ambush, but King cuts it off saying: You did the best you could. Next time you do better”, and Crawford adds: “It’s history, man.”
The camera changes into an extreme wide angle, to show the distorted way Chris starts to see the surroundings. Which allows the viewer to have some looks at the base camp. Then we see Chris’ face again as the joint hits him, with a funny stoned expression, he says: “I think I’m starting to feel that stuff”


Love and Hate
The moment after Elias reported the village incident to Capt Harris. King, Chris, Lerner and Rhah are digging a foxhole… I will use pieces of the script: Im a lazy typer, plus I cannot decipher some words from the DVD:

RHAH I know Barnes six months and I’ll tell ya something – that man is MEAN, red in his soul like a dick on a dog.

KING He says something which sounds to me like: “he’s going down the yellow brick road.” (it would be a reference to Oz but don’t get the message…) In the script the line is: “Barnes gets killed, his jaws’d go on clacking…”

CHRIS Where’s he from?

RHAH Barnes comes from Hell.

LERNER Tennessee someplace. Hill country.

RHAH Barnes took a bullet right there.¬† At Ia Drang Valley… (points to his forehead) And the cocksucker SURVIVED – that’s BAAAD man. That’s his high, baby. High on WAR!
His eyes flare out dramatically. Chris, enthralled in spite of himself.

KING He done a year in Japan in the hospital, then when he gets out, the first thing he done is re-up. Four years he been in the field…

RHAH …and you know how many times he done been shot?

(Chris shakes his head) Seven times! (with his fingers) Seven.

CHRIS And he still wanted to come back?

RHAH The Good Lord works his revenge in strange ways.

CHRIS Does he have a metal plate in his head?

LERNER Well he ain’t normal that’s fo sure.

RHAH That’s what he is…

His hand flashes forward in front of Chris. ‘HATE’ is written across the left hand knuckles in a sloppy, purplish-black tatoo. Chris looking at it.

RHAH …and he’s FILLED with it. He’s roaming these jungles looking for little yellow devils to kill. (pause) …and this here’s Elias… Baaaa!

The other knuckle is out – ‘LOVE’ tattooed across it. Rhah smiles his crazy smile. Chris stares fascinated at the two knuckles side by side. A moment on his face.

KING Love, yeah!

LERNER I’ve seen too many movies, Rhah.

RHAH Baaa, got no time to go to the movies.  Love and Hate too busy fighting for possession of my soul.

CHRIS Where’s Elias come from?

LERNER …don’t know. Done some time. Heard¬† he worked the oil wells in Oklahoma, made some bread and washed up in El Lay.

KING Yeah, get married to some crazy El Lay bitch, an actress or somethin’, she blew all his bread – LSD, gurus, all that California shit, and then she turns him on a drug rap.

RHAH Not the only man to meet his Jezebel either.

KING Nam’s his freedom man, Nam’s his pussy. Three years he been here.

CHRIS Three years, Jesus, he’s crazy as Barnes…

KING Well sometimes a man jes don’ wanna¬† go home. How you gonna talk to civilians man? They are robots. Back in the world-they don’t understand. (in the script it’s “People back in the world just don’t give a shit, y’know what I mean, to them you’re a f* animal)

LERNER going back to the world as my dad died. Everybody’s just worried ’bout making money, everybody’s out for themselves,¬† they don’t even want to talk about it man, it’s like the fucking Twilight Zone. Kid sister says to me why you want to go there like I started this goddamn bummer…

RHAH Baaaa! Fuck it, what d’you want, respect? (Im not sure about that, he’s just talking too fast, there is something about you’ll get respect when you’re dead and then the’ll make a parade)¬† They they fuck up, nobody dies.¬† Politics lie. You aint fighting for that. You’re fighting for YOURSELF man! And for your SOUL, and that’s a f* battle too. Love, Hate – the whole shitbang¬† show, that’s the story then and now and it ain’t hardly gonna change…

Chris gives Rhah a very sceptical look.

Rhah shows here his crazy preacher qualities, the hate and love tattoos appear quite prominent. And we have a glimpse at the past of both sergeants.


The Dream Sequence
which shows the whole platoon standing in the jungle with the Buddha statue in the background, it’s raining, green-blue jungle twilight. The soldiers disappear one after another, there are only Barnes and Elias left, then only Barnes. Chris wakes up at the night ambush.


No Regrets
Night dialog between Chris and Elias. Elias looking intensively into Chris’ eyes than he pulls back, saying “Whatever happens…” looks away “I had a good time: “I aint got no regrets. I had my time in the sun” (with wide smile, at his memories)

A really bad, visible cut, the background light changes, as well as actors’ positions.

ELIAS: Shit… Ah, sometimes I’ve got all this stuff in my head… Grass does that to me (with a funny grin) F* me up like a crazy Indian (laughs)

CHRIS: Do you believe in that stuff, that knowing that you’re gonna die…

ELIAS: Yeah, those are the guys that live.


When I Get Home
A dialog as the guys are waiting in the river, Big Harrold tells some more lines about his circumcision request, then about all those things he will do when he comes home. Which is eating, sex with his wife and sleeping — for weeks.
Nothing really interesting.

Cut to the church, after Elias examined the holes he says to Lerner and Warren walking by: “Lots of holes, but they’re old.

Lerner turns to Warren behind him and asks: “Sarge, do you wanna tell me which way to go, or I have to figure it out?”
Warren looks at his compass and shows him the way. They walk into the bush.


Look For a Target
During the church battle Barnes yells orders, approaches Huffmeister(?) lying and firing his MG. He kicks his feet, as Huffmeister looks up, he yells: “Don’t look at me, look for the target!”

Doesn’t make any sense to me, to be honest.


Rescuing Lerner
A really poorly edited sequence from the battle at the church, Chris shooting and crawling around in the mud, then we see him carrying Lerner away.


Life of the Party
Chris and King before the final battle.

KING: I remember when you first come out to the bush, you was straight as a…

CHRIS Who gives a shit!

KING smiles and starts to sing ‘People say I’m the life of the party cause I tell a joke or two although I may be laughing loud and hardy deep inside I’m blue…’

Doesn’t make much sense either.

This New Guy
After King gets his orders home

KING: I gotta didi man. Don’t wanna miss that chopper. I’ll send you a postcard as soon I get me some. I’ll send you some new tapes too man. That new guy Jimi Hendrix man, whew… you okay Taylor?


Kings flies away on the helicopter, Chris is walking back to his position, as he hears: Got a light?
CHRIS Uh sure…
Looks down on a man sitting on a pile of sanbags, his head covered with a towel. As he rises we see it’s Willem Dafoe, but he looks more like his character from Born on the 4th of July crossed with Bobby Peru, and that — after he’s been dead for a day or two. He smokes and then smiles at Chris with a weird zombie smile showing black teeth. He says: “Later” and walks away.

Chris is totally puzzled.

Actually I liked how the scene was written in the script, Chris meeting an angel of death before the final battle… I always sensed some kind of metaphysical underlining in the story. and this scene confirmed it, along with Rhah’s theory about LOVE and HATE and some other minor details. But it’s shot totally different from what I imagined, also different from what was written. The script mentions someone looking like the sick man exchanging glances with Chris at the airport, not someone resembling Elias…

Stone didn’t like the piece either. Thanks God.

Barnes lives.
It’s at the end, Chris finds Barnes on the battlefield, Barnes orders him to get a medic. A slightly different take of Barnes lying on the ground, Chris’ Face, then Barnes again, he recognizes what’s in Chris mind. Cut to Chris… Barnes voice over: “Come on…”

Chris grins down at him and turns away. Barnes looking after him: “You godless bastard, come back here!” his voice angry and begging at the same time.

Now that was a surprise!

I needed a little time to digest it, then I started to wonder why Stone decided to shoot it, and why he stated in the commentary he regretted NOT using it in the final cut.

What’s Taylor doing anyway: leaving Barnes to die on his own, or “sentencing him to life”? His look seems to say that once he recognized Barnes wants him to shoot (actually it’s almost an order) he won’t do him the FAVOR. He resists the temptation to pull the trigger which would forever trapped him on the “dark side”…

So this version leaves Chris unspoiled. But it also works against the movie’s testimony that war corrupts everybody. It kills the Moby Dick parallel and takes all meaning out of Rhah’s line that only Barnes can kill Barnes.¬†AND IT IS NOT IN THE DAMN SCRIPT!!!

What the hell Stone has been thinking?!¬†BTW, IMO it was probably the best moment of Sheen’s performance, and Berenger’s worst, but the later could be due to bad sound quality. Barnes here is helpless and pathetic.


In general I don’t think any of the scenes would make the movie better — the dialogues slow the pace, King doesn’t sing that good, Barnes and Elias being both men without past gave them a nice aura of mystery. And Dafoe as an angel of death would be plain laughable.

Still, compared to other movies (Alien and Legend coming to my mind), Platoon was shot amazingly close to the script. A side note: I always had the feeling of Platoon being somehow incomplete or not saying all, even BEFORE I’d read the screenplay. After reading it I still felt unsatisfied, as if it didn’t fill the REAL gaps. Nor did Dale Dye’s book… So maybe there’s more “out there”. Well, it’s good to have something to search for. ūüėČ


PS: There is much talking about Johnny Depp parts cut, because he appeared to prominent and was stealing the scenes. After watching the deleted scenes I cannot confirm that. Depp has not much dialogue and is much to marginal as a character to steal anyone’s show in the movie. The same for the script. Lerner has not much screen time.

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