Posts Tagged ‘Brad’

'Ideals are peaceful, history is violent' – that was Brad Pitt's ad lib

October 19th, 2014

In the latest in our series of interviews with leading film directors, the Telegraph’s Chief Film Critic Robbie Collin speaks to David Ayer, the man behind a raw and powerful new war drama, Fury.

Fury, which stars Brad Pitt as a Second World War tank commander, has been selected to close the London Film Festival on October 19. You can watch Pitt and his co-stars arriving on the red carpet with our exclusive live stream of the gala premiere from 6pm tonight.

Fury is on general release in UK cinemas from October 22

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Brad Pitt on making Fury: ‘It was miserable – and we loved it’

October 14th, 2014

All the same, a sort of pack mentality had set in by the time filming began. “I’ll never forget that first day,” says Bernthal, a classically trained actor and former boxer. “In the screen test, I know it sounds crazy, but people were, like, exposing themselves and fighting. I remember some of the crew saying they were actually scared of us.”

This was all the intention of Ayer, the film’s director. Ayer is a military veteran himself, having joined the US Navy when he was 18 and served for two years in a nuclear submarine. That experience inspired him to write his first screenplay, U-571, a film that was attacked in Britain for suggesting that the German Enigma coding machine was captured by an American submarine crew. In fact, it caused a minor diplomatic incident, with then prime minister Tony Blair calling it an “affront” to British sailors, and Bill Clinton writing a letter of apology for the movie’s inaccuracy.

This time, Ayer was determined to make his story as truthful as possible. “In Second World War dramas there can sometimes be a tendency to mythologise the experience of the soldier and mythologise the nature of the combat. Obviously the enemy was so horrible that we think that the fight itself was black and white, but it wasn’t, just like any war. War is always complex, war is always morally difficult, war forces individuals to make terrible choices.”

Ayer took a hands-on approach to every detail of the film, from the battered appearance of the uniforms – “every piece of dirt has been thought out”, says Owen Thornton, the film’s costume designer – to the weaponry.

Calling the shots: David Ayer and Brad Pitt on the set of Fury Photo: Giles Keyte

“He’s seriously a military junkie,” says Pitt. “The depth of detail in the film was staggering.” Ayer studied army signal corps photographs with a magnifying glass: “I think in my business, oftentimes people study other movies, and when you do that you can end up repeating the institutionalised traditions of a genre.”

The tanks were the most important piece of the puzzle: the Americans’ Sherman M4, known as the “Tommy-cooker” for its propensity to burst into flames on being hit, and the German Tiger, a tank which acquired an almost mythical status during the final years of the war. One British soldier wrote at the time that the Tiger, clad at the front with thick armour, and armed with an 88mm gun originally devised as an anti-aircraft weapon, provoked “hysterical fear” in his compatriots.

Only six Tigers survive from the war, and one of the best preserved is held at Bovington; indeed, the museum’s tank, Tiger 131, is still in running order. Perhaps Ayer’s greatest coup was to get this tank into his film. David Willey, curator at the Tank Museum, took some persuading to agree to lend one of their key exhibits to the film-makers.

“One of the things that impressed us was their willingness to bend our arm, as nicely as possible, to get the assets off us to make this film as accurate as they could make it,” he says. “These guys did it in such a way that we felt able to lend a very delicate vehicle, and they went to extraordinary lengths to accommodate it on set.” For the scenes of battling tanks, which are some of the movie’s most visceral, a replica Tiger was built, cut from steel a quarter-inch thick and placed on a smaller tank base, with the wheels and tracks added in post-production.

The Sherman M4E8, a late-war model with a high velocity 76mm gun, was another Bovington find.

The night before shooting the actors slept on top of the tank. “I think we all fell in love with the Fury,” says Ayer. “Normally when you call cut, the cast disappears. In this case they would just go inside the tank and hang out and spend time among themselves. I know it would be hard to get Brad out of it.”

Pitt agrees: “It wasn’t made for man or beast, truly,” he says. “There’s nothing ergonomical about it, and yet you find your little space of comfort. Very quickly it became home.” “I have shots of Brad just walking right up it like it’s a set of stairs,” says Ayer.

“Like a gazelle,” adds Pitt.

In the end, of course, it was the mass-produced Shermans (and British Cromwells and Russian T34s) that were victorious. Hulking and unforgiving, even in a museum setting they retain the power to shock. But after months of living with them, Ayer says, “you discover that these machines have a soul, in a way. And you can understand why tank crews fall in love with them. As we did.”

Fury is on general release from October 22, and closes the BFI London Film Festival on October 19. The red carpet premiere will be live-streamed from 6pm exclusively through

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Fury: the making of Brad Pitt’s WW2 tank film

October 7th, 2014

Fury is the new Second World War drama from writer-director David Ayer (End of Watch), and this new behind-the-scenes preview offers a glimpse at the emotional side of the film.

The action-packed thriller follows Brad Pitt’s battle-hardened US army sergeant Wardaddy as he leads a five man tank crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines in Germany, 1945. This new featurette, Heart and Soul, highlights the paternal relationship that develops between Pitt’s character and his young gunner Norman, played by Logan Lerman (Noah).

Pitt’s co-stars also include Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, and former Walking Dead actor Jon Bernthal, all playing members of his tank unit.

Ayer – who wrote and directed the Oscar-winning Training Day – says he set out to make “the ultimate tank movie”, helped by Dorset Tank Museum’s loan of the last working Tiger tank to the production. The tank was the first to be captured by the Allies, with Ayer deeming the Museum’s loan as a “special asset” to the authenticity of Fury.

It was recently announced that Fury will close this year’s BFI London Film Festival with its European premiere on October 19. Both Pitt and Ayer will be in attendance, the director explaining that the London premiere will be “something of a homecoming” as shooting of the film took place in both Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire.

Fury will be released in the UK on October 22. You can watch the trailer here.

WATCH: Fury: behind the scenes of ‘the ultimate tank movie’, starring Brad Pitt

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Fury: see the first poster for Brad Pitt’s WW2 thriller

June 24th, 2014

A battle-weary Brad Pitt is seen with his Sherman tank co-star in the first poster for his new film Fury.

Writer/director David Ayer (Training Day, End of Watch) screened footage from Fury – describing it as a Second World War film “the likes of which we haven’t seen before” – at the E3 gaming convention in June, and received a rapturous response.

Fury follows a five man Sherman tank crew, led by Brad Pitt’s Sgt. Wardaddy, sent behind enemy lines in the last months of the Second World War. Ayer has shot the film on traditional film stock for a more realistic feel, and wherever possible used practical special effects instead of CGI. The cast also includes Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena and Jon Bernthal.

Fury is released in the UK on October 24, and in the US on November 14.

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