Pearl Harbor set to start filming

Posted on Apr 7, 2000

Tomorrow is the first of principal photography. So those of you that live in Hawaii (you know who you are), get ready to take pictures like crazy. An e-mail them to [email protected]

Word has it director-producer Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have tapped the writing duo Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to do a dialogue polish on some of the scenes involving military exchanges.

The original script was penned by Randall Wallace (Braveheart).

Clement and La Frenais did some uncredited rewriting on Bay’s “The Rock” as well. They also wrote such films as “The Commitments” and 1979’s “The Prisoner of Zenda.”

And the DP of Pearl Harbor is…

Posted on Apr 5, 2000

Much of you have asked who is going to be Michael’s DP (director of photography). Well, for the 3rd time in a row it will be no other than John Schwartzman ASC. One of this site’s readers sent me a tip confirming, and giving some interesting info. Thanks Sean.

” I was at Panavision Woodland Hills on Monday, March 13 for a workshop and our class was interrupted twice because the camera assistant (just in case you don’t know – he’s the guy who checks out all the cameras, does tests, i.e. pre-production camera grunt work… then pulls the focus for the “A” camera on set, among other things) was in a rush to test the anamorphic lenses that they were planning to use for Pearl Harbor. He needed to screen his test shots from Friday and needed to do them immediately because he was concerned about some sort of “bending” on the edges of the picture. We were in the only screening room in the entire building so we were privy to the screening. He then came in a second time when we were at lunch to watch footage which was shot in front of Panavision which was mostly handheld photography involving a guy in full sailor (light brown) uniform and just some other guy in shorts and a white shirt. They were doing swish pans and running with the camera handheld. Apparently the sky matched the faces or the costumes too much (there wasn’t enough contrast, I guess)… soooo… they brought in the head honcho – John Schwartzman to review the test shots…Schwartzman is definitely on board.”

Pearl Harbor casting info

Posted on Apr 4, 2000

Leland Orser (Wonderland, The Bone Collector) is the latest addition to the growing cast of Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer’s Pearl Harbor project. According to Variety, Orser will take on the role of Major Jackson, a wounded intelligence officer who works with Kate Beckinsale’s Navy nurse character, Evelyn.

Pearl Harbor

Posted on Apr 3, 2000

The Navy is backing “Pearl Harbor” 100%. Got a copy of the Navy News Service. You can read it by clicking here.
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The Honolulu Advertiser reports the following about yesterday’s ceremony at the Pearl Harbor/Arizona Memorial:

Pearl Harbor’ movie drops anchor here; New generation to learn about WWII from film

By Wayne Harada and Catherine E. Toth Advertiser Staff Writers

Disney filmmakers pledged yesterday to bring the story of “Pearl Harbor ÷ which starts production here tomorrow ÷ to a new generation of movie-goers, while honoring those who died in World War II.

On the site of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack by the Japanese, the film’s producer, director and stars, along with military officials, paid their respects with traditional pomp ÷ floral offerings, the playing of “Taps, and a flyover by four P-40 Warhawks.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer said, “It (the war) changed the way we thought. I felt this film was seminal in my career ÷ to get this done and done correctly.

Richard Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Motion Picture Group, said “Pearl Harbor likely will be “the most anticipated movie in the industry next year.

Gov. Ben Cayetano said the state is cooperating fully with Disney.

“I think what’s most important is that this film gives Disney an opportunity to do something great ÷ for our country, Cayetano said. He also said the film “can help us educate those generations and the generations to come about the lessons of war.

Adm. Thomas Fargo, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said the Department of Defense also endorses the project, calling it “a wonderful effort.

Director Michael Bay said the epic drama, focusing on two fighter pilots and a Navy nurse, “is a true love story · a love triangle.

In said story, Tennessee crop dusters Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck) and Danny Walker (Josh Hartnett) become Army Air Corps pilots. Rafe volunteers for the American Eagle Squadron during World War II in England, leaving behind his best friend and new love, Navy nurse Evelyn Johnson (Kate Beckinsale). Danny and Evelyn are then stationed at Pearl Harbor. After Rafe is reported killed, the two fall in love.

The key players have agreed to defer salaries, banking instead on box office success.

“(We’ve) really taken no money because I think we really like the script, the story seemed important, and it seemed like the right thing to do, said Affleck, the frequent indie star known for taking roles over money. “You want all the money to be up there to make a movie we can all be proud of. It’s more satisfying for me to be in a movie that means something than for the cash up-front.

The film’s preproduction budget of $135 million means that most of the money will be spent on production costs to ensure an accurate depiction of the war, according to Cook. A hefty chunk of the budget will support special effects created by Industrial Light and Magic.

According to Bay, the film will boast 180 true digital effects, with historical battle scenes to be recreated at the Baja, Mexico, tank where many of “Titanic’s sinking scenes were filmed.

Some air attacks will be digitally produced, but extensive filming also will be done on inactive ships at Pearl, meaning war-like smoke, fire, and noise during production.

The attack on Pearl Harbor will involve the largest effects, said Bay.

“Michael wouldn’t commit ’til he felt we could really represent the attack as authentically as possible, Bruckheimer said.

To ensure authenticity, the filmmakers have conducted research, consulted Pearl Harbor survivors, and even involved the Japanese in script reviews.

“We’re trying to be as accurate as we can, in the context of motion pictures, Bruckheimer said.

“I have read it, and it’s an excellent script, said Ralph Lindenmeyer, who was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the attack. “I knew what happened. I could see the chaos. I tried to impress the movie producers of that angle.

Some characters were assembled from fragments of history. The two friends are based on two pilot buddies, Welsh and Taylor, who shot down six Zeroes. Beckinsale’s character is a composite of real-life nurses.

Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character, however, was derived from the history books. He plays Dorie Miller, a mess attendant on the USS Virginia who becomes a hero after the attack. Miller was the first African American to receive the Navy Cross.

Affleck and Hartnett were sent to a four-day boot camp with the U.S. Army Rangers. “We thought it was going to be an actor-y kind of boot camp, where they teach you to salute, Affleck said, laughing. “It wasn’t quite that. It was more like the first 20 minutes of ÎFull Metal Jacket’ but it was extraordinary.

“I think it was helpful to us, and the movie, for us to play our roles, he said. “It’s much more helpful to me in my life and as a person. I don’t think I scrubbed a urinal in my entire life.

“It was a really huge character-building experience, Hartnett said. “I’m positive I’ll never forget it.

Pearl Harbor update

Posted on Apr 2, 2000

We have a lot of updates today.

This site got mention on the Corpus Christi Caller!!! The article was regarding Michael’s 2nd visit to Corpus Christi. It says:

“…website dedicated to the director says Hollywood heavyweights Ben Affleck and Cuba Gooding Jr. will appear in the movie, and that Gene Hackman is negotiating.”

Not bad eh?
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It is windy and raining at the Pearl Harbor Arizona Memorial. And it will be like that for most of the week. Hope it starts clearing up before the cameras roll on Saturday, April 8th. Also, You can see a live webcam shot of the Pearl Harbor memorial by clicking here.
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Also, got these two articles which talk about this weeks coming events

‘Pearl Harbor’ filming starts with visit to USS Arizona
By Tim Ryan

Filming on what is expected to be the biggest movie ever on Oahu in terms of budget, amount spent and number of filming days may begin as early as tomorrow.

The $135 million epic “Pearl Harbor” is expected to continue for some 30 production days with local spending, according to some estimates, of between $10 million and $20 million.

The production has brought in a large special-effects team, period airplanes, military vehicles and costumes.

“This picture is a grand slam home run economically, historically and promotionally,” said Walea Constantinau, Honolulu city and county film liaison. “It’s so important historically so that the younger generation can understand this event; a big budget film brings so much to this economy; and it gives us a chance to promote Hawaii.”

A wreath-laying ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial tomorrow will mark the beginning of filming here for the movie. Several of the actors, studio executives, Admiral Thomas Boulton Fargo, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Gov. Ben Cayetano are expected to attend.

The World War II epic stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Ben Affleck, Tom Sizemore, Kate Beckinsale, Josh Hartnett, Guy Torry, James King, Ewan Bremner, William Lee Scott and Matt Davis. It is being directed by Michael Bay and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who are known for the blockbusters “Armageddon” and “The Rock.”

Randall Wallace’s “Pearl Harbor” tells the story of two Navy pilots and best friends (Affleck and Hartnett) who fall in love with the same Army nurse (Beckinsale). Gooding plays a 3rd Class mess attendant who served on the USS West Virginia when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Scott and Davis play the fighter pilots who work alongside Affleck and Hartnett.

Most of the “Pearl Harbor” filming in Hawaii will be done on military bases, especially at Ford Island. Some filming is expected on the deck of the USS Missouri.

About 15 World War II vintage aircraft — collected from museums and private collectors — are being stored on Ford Island after being shipped to Hawaii from San Diego.

According to sources, there are “piles and piles” of U.S. Army WWII gear on Ford Island, including tents, and along the shoreline are sand bags, large searchlights and machine guns.

Set construction will be simple, a source said. Instead of building full sets, the crew will at times build only what’s needed for a shot.

The studio will take an equally conservative approach to battle re-creations. One scene might require 20 ships, 12-15 camera positions and nine Air Force planes; then Disney plans to digitally add in numerous more ships and planes.

Al Burnes, business agent of IATSE, Local 665, which provides the technicians for film, television and stage productions in Hawaii, said 54 technicians are working on the film, with another 10 to begin after filming starts. The production brought in about 200 crew and department heads from Los Angeles, he said. “I don’t like that, but I understand it,” Burnes said.

“This is the production’s first location and they have at least another three, so they need these deparment heads at every place for continuity.”

About 20 IATSE members, including carpenters, painters, and electricians, started working for the production in February.

Some members said they signed confidentiality agreements as part of their contract to work on the film.

“Pearl Harbor” will film six days a week, with Fridays off. Filming is expected through the first week in May, when the project moves to Texas and Los Angeles.

The film is expected to reach theaters in summer 2001.
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Pearl Harbor … according to Hollywood
By Wayne Harada

Hollywood’s lingering fascination with war, and, especially, World War II, starts up all over again this week.

Right in our front yard.

Or harbor. “Pearl Harbor,” a megabucks film from Disney, begins preliminary shooting Tuesday at Pearl Harbor, site of the start of America’s involvement in WWII. Officially, the launch date is Saturday, but production crews and actors are already in our midst, ready to roll.

The film boasts formidable behind-the-scenes movers and shakers, including the legendary Hollywood action film-making team of Jerry Bruckheimer (producer) and Michael Bay (director). They last collaborated on “Armageddon,” about a war with mother nature.

Some A-list stars (Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin, Cuba Gooding Jr.) are aboard, too, playing fictional as well as real-life figures. The screenplay, featuring romance and drama and embroidering together fiction and fact, is by Randall Wallace, the Oscar-nominated writer of “Braveheart.” Early on, a peek at the closely guarded script prompted one Hollywood observer to dub this project “box office gold.”

But when it comes to the Day of Infamy, the quality of Hollywood’s understanding has varied from one film to the next, said Robert C. Schmitt, historian and former Hawaii state statistican, reflecting on the renewed interest in wartime dramas, sparked in part by “Saving Private Ryan.” “Some films are better than others; there is one, in the early ’70s, that stands out best.”

He was referring to 1970’s Japanese-American joint venture, “Tora! Tora! Tora!,” which recreated the drama – and trauma – of the war from both nations’ perspectives. “It was reasonably accurate where, over the years, most World War II films were terribly superficial,” said Schmitt.

He also thinks Hollywood is gearing up to serve up a new wartime saga for younger generations of filmgoers who neither saw nor lived through the experience of Pearl Harbor.

“I’m not an expert on the war genre, but I would probably say in terms of film history, ‘From Here to Eternity’ is probably the one most people remember. But in terms of action, I’d say ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!,'” said Georgette Deemer, Hawaii Film Office manager and one of the few Islanders who has read the proposed Wallace script. “But the new ‘Pearl Harbor’ will be great combination of both.”

Pearl Harbor – whose name is a kind of shorthand for the devastation that war can wreak, the attack the subject of films, novels, history books and TV productions – has had its share of “close-ups” over the years. Among these: 1953’s “From Here to Eternity,” perhaps best remembered for that clinch-on-the-beach scene between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, and 1965’s “In Harm’s Way,” with John Wayne leading the U.S. charge against the Japanese, with model ships and planes in bathtubs serving as the fleet. Footnote: “Eternity” has had extended life, in a 1979 TV mini-series spinoff (with title intact) with William Devane and Natalie Wood, which evolved later that same year into an episodic TV series with Devane and Barbara Hershey.

The new “Pearl Harbor” will almost certainly be the most realistic portrayal ever with special effects by Industrial Light and Magic, blending action shots with computer-generated images to recreate battle scenes.

The film has an announced pre-production budget of $135 million, believed to be the priciest ever approved up front (though other films have gone over budget to cost more). Hollywood is buzzing about the fact that the producer, director and, presumably, actors are deferring up front salaries and banking on box office profits later – a new approached designed to hold down the spiraling costs of filmmaking and assure the best in production values.

A studio source said that an 85-day shooting schedule is envisioned, with between 40 and 45 days here in the Islands – at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, at Wheeler Air Force Base, at Fort Shafter and other unannounced destinations. Additional filming will continue in England, Texas and Los Angeles.

But Pearl Harbor will have a stand-in for its most famous scene: The ship-sinking sequences will actually be filmed at the Fox Baja facilities in Mexico, in the exact location where the blockbuster “Titanic” gurgled to its see-worthy demise.

But studio officials have been mum – or at best, vague – about specifics of the production.

Those on the military bases will likely start seeing things – Fiberglas plane parts, aircraft shells, old cars – popping up. And they’ll start hearing and smelling things – “bombs,” crashes, smoke and such – an eery reminder. The filmmakers are working with the Department of Defense to assure that historical sites are not disturbed and property is restored to before-filming condition.

Around town, 40-plus vintage cars, secured during an earlier open call, are being corralled for use in filming. More than 1,600 military enlistees and dependents have signed on as extras, awaiting their call for non-speaking crowd scenes. Props of all kinds are being built at Ford Island. A Matson container with vintage aircraft awaits unloading at Pearl.

Filming is expected to be completed by August or September.

Release date? Memorial Day 2001, preceding the 60th anniversary of the Day of Infamy, Dec. 7, 1941.

Chances of seeing stars or filming? Pretty slim as the set is closed. Unless you live and work at Pearl Harbor or one of the bases, you won’t see much. So who’s in the movie? Affleck and Josh Hartnett, playing best friends from Tennessee, pilots who fall in love with the same nurse, portrayed by Kate Beckinsale. Among others aboard: Baldwin as Col. James Doolittle, Gooding as mess attendant Dorie Miller. Just signed: William Lee Scott, soon to be seen in “Black and White,” and a star in Bruckheimer’s next flick, opening in June, “Gone in 60 Seconds.”

Today, in Hawaii fashion, the project begins with a blessing. A wreath is being laid by filmmakers at the Arizona Memorial, to pay tribute to those who gave their lives in a war that has become spectacular entertainment.

Then it will be lights! Camera! Action!