THE WORLD OF SOLDIER #2 ... Part 4
EH: Daniel Day-Lewis is kinda sitting there ... He's in the same canoe. Madeleine Stowe and Jodhi May, they're all kinda like ... Russell Means is just paddling that canoe all by himself. He gets over to the edge, he jumps out, and that's the end of that for the day. We never see him again for that day. So, we're waiting. Michael Mann says to go send somebody, try to talk him back ... hardheaded, won't do it. I don't know if they had to give him more money, or what, to get him back. Rumor had it that they had to give him more money. And a written apology. This is all hearsay. I don't KNOW this for fact. It was understood that a written apology had to be coming from Michael Mann. So, a stuntman sat in for him. They put a wig on him, put his clothes on, put him in the canoe, and he plays Russell Means for the remainder of the day in those canoe scenes. By that evening, we found out that they had actually talked Russell Means into coming back the next day. They told him to go home, take it easy, and come back the next day. It was quite an interesting morning. The rest of us guys were like, "Geez!" We just knew that Russell Means was going straight over there and just knock heck out of him.
MP: What was Eric Schweig doing through this?
EH: Oh, he was having a good time! Eric is hyper. He was hyper through the whole canoe scene. Couldn't stop talking, goofing off, playing. Got on Michael Mann's nerves a few times because he couldn't settle down. I could have swore, I thought he was 18 or 19 at the time. I thought he was younger than he was because of his actions. Couldn't sit still, just all over the place.
MP: In one little segment, Madeleine Stowe is paddling, also. Do you remember that?
EH: [pause] No. My attention was to keep our canoe straight. I couldn't tell you.
MP: To me, all this turmoil that you're referring to during the filming of this segment shows on film. It kind of pops out at you, relative to the other scenes, that something is amiss. It almost has a schizophrenic feel to it. This has been discussed on our Board.
EH: It was not a comfortable day at all. Everybody's adrenaline was running, nerves, emotions were flying that day. Everybody was gone! We had no leader, as far as the three of us, the Cadre. We were the last of the Cadre. Maybe they'll make a movie out of that. [laughs] We were basically alone. There was no one there to pat us on the back. We felt lost at that point. Then, after seeing this HUGE argument come up ... it did not last very long ... but it was blunt and to the point. I don't know if somebody peed on their Wheaties in the morning, or what, but just everybody kind of got there in a foul mood! Everybody was getting real picky. It was really one of the few times that I actually seen Michael Mann just absolutely lose his temper. It lasted the entire day. That attitude lasted the entire day. I got chewed out. Daniel Day-Lewis got chewed out. Steve got chewed out. Everybody got chewed out by Michael Mann that day. Everybody, except for Jodhi May. It was a rough day. Like you said, you can see it in the movie.
MP: What did all these people get chewed out for?
EH: Most of it was canoe manueverability ...
MP: Or, lack of ...
EH: Yes. Canoe dysfunction.
MP: What about going over the falls? Did you guys actually go over?
EH: They had actually planned for us to. We went over there, we searched it out. They sent the canoes over a couple of times. It basically took the entire day to do that, just to send tests over the waterfalls. Mickey Gilbert didn't feel good about it, we needed to do it another day. Needed to come back when the water was higher, or something like that. We found out, like two days later, that they had actually gone over there and done it. Curtis and I were just [disappointed]. We wanted to do it very badly.
MP: Probably Madeleine Stowe wasn't too disappointed.
EH: Oh no. They were not bound ... they were not going over. Only Curtis and I ... none of the main actors were going over. Only Curtis and I. They were actually going to give us that chance. We wanted it and they were going to give it to us. It would have probably been about $1500 a pop. I cared about the money, but I WANTED the thrill of doing it. I had fallen enough. I'd been shot ... I was wanting something real that I knew I could say, "It did happen."
MP: Ok, the canoe scenes are over, you had already shot the scene of you entering the cave, but now you have to film IN the cave. This is the last thing you do.
EH: Well, somewhere in that neighborhood, we went back over to Bridal Veil Falls [NOT the Bridal Veil Falls found on maps off of Hwy. 64. This is on private property, at the River Walk location.], and we're all walking in, and you see us passing by the camera under the waterfall at Bridal Veil Falls. That took an entire day there. And, they did the little scenes of the Indians coming in ...
MP: That's something that I never knew. You guys didn't film that at the cave set?
EH: No. That's on actual location. We had two large areas under the falls. One a camera was set up, actually there were two cameras ... one was set up where we walked by. The second one, a camera was set up where we come in and just congregate in this one room. There's no exit. You can go in, the water's coming down over the top of you. You've got an entrance, but there's no exit. So we're walking in and out, in and out. We do that all day. It was pitch black dark when we tried to walk out of there. You just couldn't get on the trail and walk out, you had to go back down the falls to a halfway point [River Walk location] and then go out. It was pretty treacherous. Of course, the girls had a lighted guide with them. It was weird. I can remember the air currents under that thing. They were tremendous. You can see the hair blowing in the movie.
MP: And I thought that was in the cave set with fans set up. Learned something here!
EH: We get over to the cave site. It was the most impressive thing I've ever seen in my life. It had all kinds of little nooks and crannies and tunnels and stuff. It was really neat. They done an excellent job on it. They had some kind of water pump system they worked out which went into this huge ... they had 16 inch PVC pipes that run across the top of the opening of the cave. Of course, water poured out over the top of it ... filled up and poured out. Really neat ... into this pool, this huge pool. We did this walking in and down into it over and over again. That was the most extensive day of filming that was done. It was THE last day. After this day is over, it's wrap. The final wrap. I, myself, worked for 20 hours straight. We started in the morning, had breakfast waiting for us. We had a lunch break. We had a supper break. We had midnight break. And then we were fed breakfast again in the morning! Everybody was dead tired, ready to go home. The only thing that was left was the love scene, which neither Curtis or I stayed for. Earlier in the movie, rumors had it that it was going to be a flat out, far as they can push, R-rated scene. Then we found out later that momma ain't gonna have that. As far as I know, no skin was ever shown, or any sexual encounter other than general hugging ...
MP: That's pretty much what Eric Schweig said.
EH: Let's back track ... we spent a week at Linville Falls [for The Ambush]. The following week we had two or three days that we filmed at the old Manor Inn in Asheville.
MP: You guys were there?
EH: Yes, ONLY the 35th were there. Really kind of bummed me out. Mawi and myself, when the Major comes pulling in to the headquarters, Webb's headquarters ... Mawi and I are cleaning our guns, ready to take over the change of guard. On the wide-screen version, and, of course, the big screen version, you can see us cleaning our guns. On the first video that came out, we were cut off. REALLY ticked me off! [laughs] That was kind of neat. Good that we had the re-enactors there. In the courtyard, they had a township going. A blacksmith and some other people. Mom and the kids out there playing. Well, Mom was out there in a blouse with her sleeves rolled up. In those days, it was more shameful for a woman to show her elbows than it was to show her breasts. So basically, she could walk around town showing her breasts and be fine, if she was a mother that was feeding her children. But if her elbows were shown, she was a slut. They came in and said, "Roll your sleeves down. This is a no-no for those days." So, it was a good thing to have the re-enactors around for that kind of stuff. Nobody else knew it. We didn't have a whole lot of a work day there. We had a couple of people pass out from the heat. A lot of standing around, a lot of waiting, a lot of marching up a paved road through the middle of this neighborhood. Right behind the Manor Inn is a residential neighborhood. These people were setting out in their lawn chairs watching this thing going on. How weird can you get? We're supposed to march a good ways up the road here, but the way the houses were built it kind of fit into the time frame. They had talked with these people, "Don't be sitting out in your yards." So, where the cameras weren't going to be, all these people were just lined up watching us doing this crap. It's kind of neat. It lasted all day. We had a quick lunch break. We had snacks. They came to us, gave out snacks. We didn't really get anything good to eat. Only water to drink all day. Remember, this is still early in the movie sequence, so, we were nothing. By the end of the night, we get back to wardrobe, we turn our wardrobe in, and got a bite to eat. A lot of the people lived in Asheville. Kincaid and myself lived in Morganton. We had one in Marion. Basically, everyone else had residences in Asheville, or like the re-enactors, were staying in apartments in Swannanoa. It was real late, so we were going to get us a bite to eat before we go home. We get down to the tent and a production person named Steve ... he's down there protecting the food. "No, this is for the crew. You can't have it." It was chicken and rice, dumplings, green beans, stuff like that. He had quite a bit of it! This was our first strong act against the movie company. We were not allowed to have it. We were famished. Come to think of it, there were some add-ons there. We had a Sergeant, a very good leader, a re-enactor. He said, "By God, we're gonna eat! We've worked harder than those guys. We've been standing around, they've been munching and snacking all day long. We've had nothing. We will eat." He picks up the chicken, I pick up the rice, someone else picks up the green beans. The dumplings go, the plates, the spoons, the napkins, everything goes to one table and, by God, we sat down and ate. Being the Cadre that we were, the extras ate first. Everyone ate good, and we made sure that there was enough to go around. Even the people in cameras and lighting, whoever wanted it, they had it, too.
MP: When we interviewed Eric Schweig, we asked him whether any bonding went on between him and Means and Daniel Day-Lewis, because in the movie they appear so tight. He downplayed that. This was NOT the case, then, with you guys.
EH: No ... I didn't see it with them. Maybe they did, but I didn't see it. I saw Russell Means as a loner through the whole thing. I seen Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe ... you could almost see them actually falling in love. There were times when nothing was going on, no filming, no nothing, they were walking around holding hands, embracing each other. There were actually times when I seen Eric and Jodhi May bonding in some sort of manner, but, all in all, Jodhi came across to me as a very quiet loner.
MP: You're getting into the next subject here. Leave the filming behind, basically, just talk about the personalities of the cast. You've covered this somewhat already, but just give us some snippets. Start with Jodhi May, since you're talking of her ...
EH: At one point in the cave ... this was actually the only time that she kind of came out and we're actually having a conversation. Very quiet, very alone. You seen a smile from her from time to time. I can't remember seeing her just talking and goofing off or having fun with anybody. She just seemed like a very quiet, shy little girl. That was the impression that I got. She did not seem her age. Her or Eric, either one, did not seem their age.
MP: She seemed younger?
EH: Yes. So did Eric! He seemed very much younger. He seemed like he was in that wild age. Anyway, back to Jodhi ... We had some down time in the cave. Steve and I are talking. He's asking me questions about America. I'm asking him questions about England. We're talking about acting, acting companies, Jodhi's talking about her acting company. The three of us are talking. Curtis is his usual stuck over in the corner with a book. Typical of him. We got off on gasoline, kerosene, and Steve is, "Gasoline? Kerosene? What's this?" Jodhi says, "It's oil." "Petrol?" "Yeah, gasoline is petrol." He was really lost. We both speak English, but Jodhi is having to interpret for us. We had a good time. It was really nice for that two or three hours that we got to set there and talk with each other. It didn't get personal. It was basically about our cultures, what we did in our time off. Really nice. She seemed more open at that point. She listened to a lot of what Michael Mann had to say. I think she looked up to him. Well, everybody did.
MP: Did she ever say, "PLEASE, give me another line to say!"?
EH: She lived her character. What you see in that movie is what you get. That's her. She isn't as skittish as she is in the movie.
MP: You touched on a lot of the other cast. Just add a few things. How about starting with Daniel Day-Lewis.
EH: Quiet. Shy? I wouldn't say that he was shy. If people came to him with questions, ANYBODY, no matter how big, how small ... I hate to get into that type of relationship, but you see that a lot. You had the big names, you had the nobodies. You had that pecking order. It stayed. With him, it didn't matter. He talked about the movie with Michael Mann. He didn't really talk about his personal life. With me, again, we talked about cultures. Irish culture. A little genealogy, not very much. Mostly, it was my curiousity. Very, very, very nice man. I liked him a lot.
MP: Are all the things you hear about him staying in character when he isn't actually filming true?
EH: Absolutely. When he walked on the set, he was Natty Bumppo. That's who he was until it was time to go home. As far as I know, he was still like that when he left. He paid very close attention to detail. Very, very good actor. I can remember my last words to him, "I pray that you get the Academy Award for this." It just burns me up that that movie did not get ... I think it's a pay off, to be honest with you.
MP: What can you tell us about Madeleine Stowe?
MP: I know you got kissed by her, so you can tell us about that.
EH: Yes! ... Uh, I bet we didn't say two words to each other through the entire filming except for the last day. I know for some time her husband was on the scene, I don't know for how long ... She goofed off a lot, I mean not ... when it came ... she had this VOICE! It's indescribable. Almost borderline cracking all the time. When these guys were doing their scenes, they didn't talk like normal people, they were always shouting, it seemed to me. She had this borderline cracking voice ... her eyes, they never looked AT you, they always looked THROUGH you. That's what it seemed like. She loved life. She was a fun loving person. I seen her laugh and goof off quite often, but when it boiled down to the job, it was the job. When we were eating and so forth, she was goofing off and having a good time. Anyway, the last day, it's pretty much wrapped. Daniel's finished. Madeleine's finished. Jodhi May and Eric are the only two that are going to get kept. The rest of us can go. We're kind of saying our good-byes to each other. I go up to Daniel and I tell him how good, "It was wonderful to work with you, blah, blah, blah." I go up to Madeleine Stowe and I can pretty much tell you that, other than a general question ... "What did he say?" Due to my hearing loss I was always asking that, especially with all the water flowing. Steve, he was so attentive to Michael Mann that he would never answer me, so sometimes I would ask her. I told her that it was nice to work with her, it was a great honor. Gave her a hug. BIG old kiss! Oh man, alive! You know, whoosh! Very weird feeling. It was like you go home and you don't wash your lips for a long, long time. [laughs] I wasn't ready for it. I thought a kiss on the cheek, maybe a hug ... it was unexpected. Took me by surprise ... Who else?
MP: Eric Schweig.
EH: Hyper. One word. Period. That takes care of it. I can still remember him being called down, "Listen! Listen to what I'm saying! Chill for a minute and listen!" High on life. He loved to laugh. He was not shy to kidding around. There was some seriousness in him. A few times did he actually talk to me. Mostly it was talking AT me or through me. The pecking order had a lot to do with that. You can't help, but when they treat you like a god, you're going to start acting like it after a point in time. When you've got all these people running around, "Mister this ..." " Can I get you that?" "Are you comfortable?" ... It can, it happened to me. At one point in which we were filming, and I had guys of my own ... They were calling me, instead of just "Hurley", it was "Mister Hurley, are you okay? Do you need anything?" I felt guilty after that, and it still hurts me today. Some of the lower guys would come up, just want to talk to you, just ask simple questions. I'd give them a quick and short answer, and be done with it. Makes you feel bad when you stop and think about it. I thought, "I can't believe I did that to this guy. All he was doing is asking a stupid question." I had some guilt there. It happened to me quite often. Eric ... I kind of got that sense from him, though I seen him talk to a lot of the Indians quite often. No question. I don't know. I'm not saying that there was any prejudice there. At times, I felt there was some prejudice. Not with him, but with the different Indians. I can't blame them.
MP: Many times, it's not even that. It's just relating to people who you feel immediately comfortable with.
EH: Right. Birds of a feather flock together.
MP: Probably, most of the time, it was that. But, then again, you've got Russell Means there. What was it like to work with him?
EH: Now, I've done research ... I know more now. I'm older and wiser. I can understand why he is the way he is. If there's not someone out there rocking the boat, nothing will happen. [At the time] we were ready to KILL him! There was ALWAYS something wrong. He was never satisfied. He fought for a lot of what the Indians were getting at the time, though, Capt. Dye ... We lived by the motto, "We take care of ourselves." These guys, every little whine was getting tended to. We felt outside because of that. It got under our skin. It's kind of like one of your brothers or sisters getting more attention from your parents. You get that jealous feeling. Everybody kind of felt it. You kind of built this hatred up. A particular time, we were filming at night at the Fort ... we were in line. We were going to march up to the thing. They had the strike line going. We were given the speech, "We're not here to cause trouble." They have a fight, we're not going to get involved with it. We are here to do our job. We take care of ourselves ... I don't know HOW many times I've heard that said. We're going to march. If they let us go through, they let us go through. If not, we'll deal with it when the time comes. So, we start marching. Russell Means is in the front line. He does not move to the side to let us go through. We maintain rank. Straight line, stay right behind the person in front of you. Actually, we were given, "Don't look at them, look at the back of the head in front of you. Maintain a military stance and march on." He ended up, somehow, between the second and third rank as we marched on. As I said, he did not move out of the way. So, he's standing there. We were not given the order to go around, so we march straight. Somewhere, in the middle, he decides to get out of the way. When he leaves, he takes out one guy. My eyes are focused forward. I can hear what's going on in the back. No words were said, as far as the 35th versus Russell Means. I do know that Capt. Dye and Russell Means came face to face. Russell Means said something. I don't know what was said. I think it was shoved off and we continued on. And that was the end of that. No punches or anything. Nothing was thrown.
MP: Did you ever have a conversation with Russell Means? Did he ever talk with you guys?
EH: No. Well, yeah, he did. He tried to explain to me how the motor on the canoe was running. I knew how to operate it, but he told me what he was doing to see if it would help any. At this point, we were actually doing something the same and we were trying to get in sync with each other as far as getting these canoes to run straight. That was about the only time that we talked with each other.
MP: Did he interact with the other actors freely?
EH: Eric Schweig, Daniel Day-Lewis, of course, Michael Mann. A lot with the girls.
MP: Pretty much like everyone else?
EH: Well, he aired his views quite often. How he felt, how he thought it ought to go. I felt some sort of vibrations between him and Michael Mann at times. He viewed how he thought it ought to go. There'd be some disagreement there. It's totally different than his character. He's not like his character at all. But, like I say, knowing what I know now, I can see where he's coming from. His son and I got along great. His son, Scott Means, Leon Goodstriker, and some of the other featured extras and stuntmen came to my house. I had a couple of them living there for awhile while we were filming at the Fort. We had a pool party. Scott and my son ... my son was one year old ... my son was floating around in one of those inner tube things, and Scott, he's pulling him around, having a good time. My wife says, "Matthew! What do you think? There's an Indian!" Wrong thing to say. He looked at Matthew. Of course, Mathew didn't know what was going on. "Yes I am an Indian. I'm just like you. I'm no different from anybody else." Of course, it was not directed at my son, it was directed at Cathy. I walked up there and I told her, "You said the wrong thing to the wrong person." She didn't know who he was. You really got the feeling that they didn't want to be called Indians. I talked to Leon afterwards, and he said that it's not actually the word "Indian", versus a black person being called "nigger", it's why separate it at all? Don't call him an Indian, me an Irishman, you an Italian ... just call him a person. That's the mentality they're looking for. The freedom to be a part of, rather than separated from. I talked to a lot of the other Indians about Russell. They feel that some of the points that he's raised are too extreme. Some of them do. Some of them feel that's what it's going to take because the government is doing it to them ... James Two Guns was of the Indian core. Very good guy. He and I became very close. We talked quite often. He was a police officer for the Choctaw, I think, in Mississippi ... He was telling me a lot about the restrictions and control the government places on the reservations, even though they are a Nation within a Nation. He felt that he liked some of the things that Russell Means was doing, though he disagreed with how he was doing it.
MP: You've talked a lot already of Steven Waddington, Wes Studi, Maurice Roeves ... anything?
EH: Maurice Roeves! Whew! He is the typical "Happy Englishman." He is a fun loving guy. He's got a very stern ... looks like he could get mad real easy, but he can't. Real nice.
MP: What about Patrice Chereau, Montcalm?
EH: I seen him. Him and Roeves seemed to get along real good. He wasn't there real long. I didn't see him very much at all.
MP: What about Ed Blatchford, who played Jack?
EH: Oh yes! He came to ... he came and worked out with us. [laughs] We're sitting there, we're taking our lunch break at the firefighters' camp. We're talking and having a good time. Gotta remember, Ed's from California. He looks directly at me and says, "You got a heck of an accent!" Everybody died laughing. Charles Thomas has twice the accent that I have. His nickname is "Peaches." By the end of the movie, all the Californians, all the Englishmen ... they get this thing from Charles Thomas, "Y'ant to? Ought to!" So, everyone is using this. Well, from me they get, "Look at that big ol' huge Fort!" Everybody is running around saying this, just out of the blue. So, when Ed says about my accent, I say, "Oh, you've got to hear Charles." Charles looks over at him and says, "You're not from around here. Who's got the accent? You or me?" Ed seemed one of the guys, he fit right in. We knew that he was a little bit above us, as far as the pecking order was concerned, but he fit right in. Real good guy, I liked him.
MP: Mark Baker?
EH: [asks for a picture] I remember seeing him, but never really spoke with him. He was with the re-enactors a lot. Seems to me, he and Ed came at the same time, maybe.
MP: At other times, while visiting some of the sites, you talked of some of the scenes behind the scenes. Tell us about the pigeons.
EH: The purple pigeons. Somewhere along the line, as they're being escorted to the Fort, they're wanting Cora to have an hallucination. We're standing there on the first day, and this cage goes by. They had spray painted about two dozen pigeons purple. We see the 4-wheeler go up with this cage on the back. Full of purple pigeons. Cora's mind is supposed to be wandering ... panther, and these purple pigeons are supposed to fly up. That's all I know about them. We seen the darn things go in, we talked about them forever ... movie comes out, we never see them.
MP: The thing about the tables falling over ...
EH: That was on our second trip to Linville Falls, where we had to go back. I can't remember the sequence in which it happened, as far as the filming was concerned ... On the side of the hill there, they had these platforms set up in a stair step type thing with cinder blocks. You've got 75-100 people eating on these things. One of North Carolina's oldest park rangers just so happened to be there. 80 or 90 years old. It was really kind of sad, because he was the only one who got hurt. Something happened, one of the blocks gave way at one of the top levels. They didn't actually tilt over, they just kind of slid down. One started the other, all the way down. All the chairs, everybody that was sitting, just started tumbling. I'm not sure what happened to the old fella ... being in construction, I would have braced it in some way, shape or form. The only person to get hurt and it had to be him. I don't know whether he was actually working there or if he just wanted to be a part of it. To have that memory and then get hurt because the tables fell ... it was kind of odd.
MP: One more thing. Was Wes Studi a part of the Indian protest? We've never heard him associated with it.
EH: I couldn't tell you. Wes came across as ... I never heard him air his views at any point in time. He was just as pleasant to the white men as he was to the red men. He was pleasant to everyone. I can't think of anything bad to say about him.
MP: We've seen him on interviews from time to time, and that's how he comes across. Very down-to-earth.
EH: VERY down-to-earth person. Yes.
Continue With THE WORLD OF SOLDIER #2 ... Conclusion