Tattoo Tantalizers! ... Part 4
... the most asked for gallery in our existence!
... lake george & fort william henry ...
Photos & text courtesy of Rick
Martinko ... Tattoo Department, LOTM
After a few weeks of shooting at the Cameron's
Cabin set, we started to break things down and jump to alternate locations. One
of the days, before noon, first unit wrapped up some footage with Daniel, Eric
and Russell, then loaded them into a helicopter to fly them to the Rapids
location (where the three of them end up after jumping out of the waterfall).
The scene was shot in Tennessee and only lasted for a half a day, but it cost
quite a bit considering the helicopter and transportation for a split crew.
Meanwhile, we'd been hearing a lot about our next location (the Fort) and we
were pretty eager to see it.
For those of you who haven't seen pictures of the
set, it's VERY impressive. Several people have told me over the years that
during the battle scene, the fort appears to be a scale model. I can tell you
it's not. It's a full size recreation of Fort William-Henry, built from the
trees that were cut down when the battlefield was cleared. Walking around it,
you feel like you're visiting a historic landmark rather than a movie set.
Only a few of the interior rooms were finished, but the overall impression is of
a very accurate British fort.
The interior of the fort, late in August
The whole crew was relocated to Morganton, which is
about 45 minutes east of Asheville on I-40. Forward Pass Productions set us up
in hotels and motels at a discounted rate, and we had to pick roommates. I
ended up with Dwaine Trimble, who was also promoted to Principle Tattoo (we
would each paint one of the actors arms to cut the time in half). By having
most of the people I worked with staying near-by, I got to know them a lot
better and the weird shooting hours led to several late-night pool
The fort itself was built near Lake James, and one
of the first things we shot was the battle scene. The whole thing was carefully
choreographed, and when the shooting started with all of the pyrotechnics going
off, it has to rank as one of the coolest things I've ever seen in my life.
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures because it was shot at night, but the
footage in the movie really captures the scale of that scene. Keep in mind that
there were several film crews shooting at one time, and they only did a few
takes so what you're seeing in the movie isn't pieced together from multiple
sets. It's pretty much what I saw as it happened. Granted, the interior scenes
of the battle shot from in the interior of the fort were shot at a later date,
but almost all of the footage from the French lines was shot during those first
Most of August was spent at the fort, and
eventually weeds started to grow over the battlefield. Also, because the fort
was built from untreated lumber, there were tons of wood-boring insects eating
their way through the logs. At night, when it was really quiet on the set, you
could hear the grubs chewing through the wood. By early September, sections of
the fort has already started to collapse no one was allowed to go up onto the
Yes, the ground is really that color
in North Carolina. The red clay got all over everything.
Some of these guys were from NFL
Films and were trying to film a cannonball being shot over the wall of the
fort. The "cannonballs" were really basketballs painted black, and if they
survived the initial blast from the cannon, they tended to track off in all
directions instead of going straight at the fort. They spent a lot of time
setting up this shot, and it never made it in the final movie. In fact, I don't
remember them even getting a good shot to use...
A British cannon.
A view from the cannon platform.
This is approximately where "The Kiss" between Daniel and Madeleine was
A British soldier getting sprayed
down with water.
The ornate French cannons. These
things looked like they weighed a ton, but I was told that they were made of
fiberglass and foam insulation, and two guys could easily move one.
Fort William-Henry from the French
The cannonballs were Styrofoam balls
covered with black paint. Later on, a lot of them ended up as souvenirs for
crew members (I have one sitting on my bookshelf).
One of the Mohawk crew. This guy was
a tremendous artist, and made a bunch of t-shirts with war-painted Indians on
them to sell to the crew members. Behind him, to the left is the 2nd 2nd
Assistant Director (that's not a typo) Carl Goldstein and head Special-effects
Make-Up Artist Vincent Gaustini on the right.
Battle weary extras.
Mitzi Gunter entertaining us during
the long hours on the set.
This is what I spent a lot of my time
doing. The morning make-up sessions were pretty hectic, but by the time you got
to the set and took care of a few touch-ups, things slowed down considerably.
During shooting you couldn't talk (obviously), you couldn't take a nap, and in
most cases you couldn't move around. So, you just sat there and waited in case
your name was called. The guy in the tank-top is Russell Dodson. He was
probably the funniest person I've ever met, and made the whole project
bearable. For the next installment, I really want to mention the individuals
that worked around me and the stories surrounding them... Russell in
particular. The whole crew was such an interesting group, and the Hollywood
stereotypic notion of film-making couldn't be much further from the truth. From
the principle actors to the directors and all of the "specialists" that were
brought onboard, I learned not to assume anything. UP NEXT: SUPPORTING CREW || BACK TO INDEX
TATTOO TANTALIZERS! || TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 2 || TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 3
TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 5
|| TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 6
|| TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 7
TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 8
|| TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 9
|| TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 10