Tattoo Tantalizers! ... Part 3
... the most asked for gallery in our existence!
... cameron's cabin ...
Photos & text courtesy of Rick
Martinko ... Tattoo Department, LOTM
The next location we moved to was the mountain side
for the Cameron family's cabin. I'm pretty certain that it was north of
Asheville. The second day of shooting there, I managed to ditch my car when I
missed a T in the road in a heavy fog bank at the base of the mountain. My car
was okay, but my passenger, David George (the principle tattoo artist), banged
his head on the windshield and ended up going to a massage therapist. I felt
terrible, but he assured me that he was fine. It wasn't my finest moment, but
as the production wore on, vehicles getting banged up in the early hours became
a normal occurrence.
This sign was on the road up to the
base camp. The residents wanted us to drive slow and flash our lights, I
This was the base camp, with the
make-up tent surrounded by the production trailers. The transportation guys
would break this thing down in an evening and move everything to the new
location over-night. It was an impressive task considering the short time
period from the wrap to the early hours when the first crew members showed up
the next morning. This camp was pretty far from the set, which could be reached
by van. If was the first week of July and was very hot, so not many people
tried hiking to the set.
Chris and Pierre from the tattoo
crew. The extras came through the hair, tattoo, make-up, costume and props
areas like an assembly line. The tattoo crew for the extras started off with
about 10 people at the start of the project and dwindled down to 3 or 4 of us by
the last days of shooting.
One of the Mohawk extras, and a
really nice guy.
Mohawk extras lined up for inspection by Michael Mann.
The make-up crew talking with the 2nd Assistant Director, Danny
Stillman. The girl in the tie-dyed shirt was named Heather, and across from her
in the blue shirt with the bandanna around her neck is Mitzi Gunter. I think
that the child that they were talking to is one of Russell Means' kids. Michael
Mann is holding the clipboard to the left.
The colonial extras waiting for
inspection, and burning up in the heat. Up on the set, one of the little girls
collapsed from heat exhaustion.
Dennis Banks with a bunch of the
extras from Cameron's cabin.
This guy was responsible for my
upcoming promotion to principle tattoo artist. At the base camp, there were
several pre-production sketches of various tattoo designs being passed around,
and I was given one that was very elaborate. I decided that it would be a good
opportunity to show off what I could do, so I spent close to an hour on his
tattoos and they came out looking pretty damn good. Unfortunately, you can't
see them very well in this picture, but they were across his chest, down both
arms and on his cheeks. He was supposed to be wearing a shirt, but during
inspection Michael Mann commented that his tattoos looked great (a glowing
compliment) and should be visible, so the costumers gave his this blanket
instead. Word got around that my tattoos impressed some people, and later that
day I was approached to assist on Daniel Day Lewis's arm tattoos. I was told
that the principle tattoo artist, David George (who was a very quiet guy) got
seriously chewed out in front of everyone because one of Wes Studi's head
tattoos was 1/8 of an inch off. Dave got pretty shaken, and Daniel felt that he
was uncomfortably nervous applying the tattoos and requested that someone else
do it. So I got called in, and as the weeks went by I got more
involved with the other actors and eventually David quit and I replaced him. He
was a very nice guy and an outstanding artist, but I don't think that he was
crazy about the daily grind of film production and the negative attitudes. One
thing I should mention about Daniel, is that he has an amazing memory. I was
introduced to him on the my first day, and two weeks later I walked into the
tattoo trailer and he said "Hello Rick!" like we'd known each other for years.
I can't even imagine how many people he'd been introduced to since the
production began, but I could barely remember the names of the other tattoo
artists I saw every day. Amazing...
Daniel near the make-up
The set of Cameron's
The extras spent a lot of time
Mohawk extra's in between
The crew was given the option of
shooting on Thursday, July 4th with Friday off and bonus pay, or taking the
holiday off and returning for shooting on Saturday or Sunday. Of course, we
voted to shoot on the 4th, and I remember that as the shooting ran into the
night (for the exteriors of the cabin), we could hear and see fireworks going
off all over the area. We were on top of a small mountain, so we could see a
lot fireworks off in the distance. I was worried that it would screw up the
shooting and delay the wrap that night, because as soon as filming stopped I was
jumping in my car and driving north to spend the weekend with my girlfriend and
One of the down sides to being a
principle artists was that whenever one of your actors is on the set, you have
to be ready and waiting to touch them up ASAP. So, long after all of the rest
of the tattoo crew had gone home, I was sitting there in the heat/rain/bugs
etc. This also applied to moving to and from the set. Once the extras were
ready, a few of the artists would go to the set for touch-ups and the rest would
clean up the tattoo area then wait until someone told them to head out to the
set or go home. As a principle artist, I had to be on the set for Daniel, Wes,
Eric, Russell and Mike Phillips, but because I was already there I also
touched-up extras when needed. So, I ended up spending about 99% of my time on
the set which was cool because I saw every scene being shot, but it also mean
that I hauled a lot of equipment to and from the sets (which were often in
hard-to-get-to areas) and I worked 18 hour days in a hot North Carolina summer.
I used to joke that during those weeks of shooting, I thought I was going to die
and when I didn't I was a little disappointed. How people can do it for a
living is a mystery to me. UP NEXT: LAKE GEORGE & FORT WILLIAM HENRY ||
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