Tattoo Tantalizers! ... Part 6
... the most asked for gallery in our existence!
... the principal cast ...
Photos & text courtesy of Rick
Martinko ... Tattoo Department, LOTM
MICHAEL MANN INTERVIEW
I guess this is the part you've all been waiting for. So, I
should probably dispel a popular myth about Hollywood film production (or at
least on the set of 'The Last of the Mohicans'). The director doesn't wear a
beret, sit in a canvas chair with his name on the back, and yell into a
megaphone "Quiet on the set!". On Mohicans, Michael Mann wore t-shirts with
cargo pants. I rarely saw him sit in a chair. And after he would spend quite a
bit of time discussing a shot with Dante Spinotti (the Director of Photography),
he'd turn and quietly say something to Michael Waxman (Assistant Director), who
would spin around and yell at the top of his lungs "HEY!! SHUT THE F&#% UP!!!".
In fact, after three and a half months on the set, I couldn't have recognized Michael's voice if I heard it, and
I probably only spoke to him two or three times, That's not to say that he was
unfriendly; he just had a lot of stuff on his mind and most of the things he
wanted to have done fell on the shoulders of this production staff. The
majority of the staff is made up of the hapless P.A.s (Production Assistants).
There were probably about 10 of them involved in the project. They were the
first one's there in the morning, and the last ones to go home at night. They
had to be everywhere at once, carried a huge amount of responsibility and got
paid next to nothing. In the Hollywood system, the P.A. position is where you
get you're start, so people are more than willing to put up with all the
garbage. The Mohicans
P.A. put up with a lot. People like Eddie Fickett,
Steve Davis, and John Kerr (plus a bunch of others I've forgotten) really made
the project work, and I'd be negligent if I didn't give them credit. Hopefully,
most of them are now filling the positions of A.D.s or Directors.
Discussing a shot at the Huron
Michael Mann thinks over the canoe
Finally, the group that's at the top of the production food
chain: the principle actors. I always mention to people that almost everyone in
the film was very different from what they're like in person. For example,
Steve Waddington, who comes across as an arrogant idiot in the film, is in
reality a great guy and a lot of fun to hang around with. Even though I didn't
work on him, my friend John Bayless was his make-up artist, so I ended up
talking with him quite a bit. One of my best memories of Mohicans was during
the final days of shooting at the warehouse/waterfalls set. I few days earlier,
I'd taught Steve how to throw a spiral pass with a football (that's an American
football, not a soccerball). I was cleaning out the tattoo trailer, when Steve
pokes his head in and asks if I want to play catch. So there I was, tossing a
football around with Steve Waddington, in his full British military uniform. A
bunch of people took pictures of us, and although several promised to send me
copies I never did get a picture.
Amused as his carriage runs over a hapless
Steve checking out my cool Front-Row Joe
Jodhi May was the exception to the rule. She was almost
exactly like the character of Alice in person. She was very quiet and proper,
and spent a lot of time talking with her make-up artist, Jane Royle. Of all the
principle actor and actresses, Jodhi was the person with whom I had the least
Jodhi at DuPont.
Getting a touch-up from Jane at the Huron
ERIC SCHWEIG: AN INTERVIEW
On the other hand, Eric Schweig was about as far removed from
the character of Uncas as possible. The quiet, shy Mohican warrior is in
reality very loud, outgoing and pretty wild. His make-up artist, John Bayless,
lived in constant fear that he was going to get in trouble some weekend, and
show up on the set with a black-eye and a broken nose. Eric hit it off with
Russell Dodson (the head of the tattoo crew) and the two of them were
constantly goofing around. So much so, that it was hard to get work done
around him. A few times I got really annoyed by his obnoxious behavior (try
painting a tattoo of the arm of someone who won't sit still and keeps yelling in
your ear), but as soon as he realized that he'd gone too far he would apologize
profusely. Overall, he was a great guy and a lot of fun to be around (assuming
that you weren't trying to work on him), and when I saw the final release of the
film, I couldn't get over how great he came across on screen. If you had to pick
one person from the film to invite to a party, Eric's your guy!
Eric whipping sunflower seeds at
At Massacre Valley.
In the tattoo trailer.
I didn't get a chance to hang out around Madeleine too much,
but from time I spent around her I got the impression that she didn't want to
come off as unapproachable. She was very "down to earth" and used to say some
things you wouldn't expect to hear from her. I think a lot of it was for shock
value, intended to make people feel at ease around her. My girlfriend (now
wife) and her family came down to visit for the week, and they hung out in the
fort during a few of the night shoots. Later, my father-in-law was telling me
that he spent quite a while talking to one of the actresses on the set, but he
never got her name. Well, a year later when the film came out, as soon as he
saw Madeleine on screen, he said "Hey! That's the actress I was talking to!".
She also came to my rescue when the production photographer told a P.A. that he
was going to have me fired if he caught me taking any more pictures on the set.
At the time, I was putting together a photo album, and once a week Madeleine
would borrow it and put Post-it notes with her initials on the pictures she
wanted to have reprinted. So, she declared that I was her personal photographer,
because she was sick of the production photographers that promise to send her
snapshots after the project is over, but never do. Nobody bothered me about
taking any pictures after that.
I've always really liked this picture of
Getting a touch-up from Jeff
Steve and Madeleine at DuPont
The evil production photographer (in the
A LETTER FROM DANIEL DAY-LEWIS ... a Handwritten Note From Hawkeye Himself
Daniel Day Lewis was probably one of the hardest
people to figure out. I worked with him practically every day, but I never
really felt like I knew him. He was obviously very intelligent, and took every
aspect of the project very seriously. So, the typical tattoo session would
start with a "Hi. How's it going?", go to some small talk, then dead silence.
He was always polite and personable, but you never felt comfortable cracking a
joke or discussing the standard Hollywood gossip. There are two times I can
think of where he was really animated and seemed to be having a good time.
First was the time he bought a motorcycle when we were shooting at Massacre
Valley. He couldn't stop talking about it, and everybody got a big kick out of
seeing him zip around on it in his buckskin outfit.
The other time I saw him cut-loose was when we
were at Chimney Rock. Everybody was getting into pulling practical jokes, and
Daniel and his personal driver got into a prank war with Madeleine and her
driver. He had the special effects make-up guys apply cuts and blood all over
the two of them, then they hid in their car until it was time to leave.
Apparently, the drivers had gotten into a habit of racing on the way home, and
they got a little reckless at times. So Daniel and his driver took off and got
a pretty big lead on the two women, then pulled the car off into the ditch and
laid down by the side of the road, covered in stage blood. I'm not sure what
the result was, because Daniel said that the women were pretty freaked out, but
Madeleine insisted that they never believed it for a minute.
Discussing the canoe chase.
Taking a break at the Huron
Probably the nicest thing I can say about
Russell is that he was extremely difficult to work around most of the
A rare picture of Russell smiling (sort
MEETING MAGUA: A WES STUDI INTERVIEW
Finally, Wes Studi was absolutely nothing like
the character of Magua in person. Of all the principle actors, I spent the most
time around Wes mainly due to the complexity of his tattoos. Never in all those
long hours in the tattoo chair, did Wes ever complain or try to rush us. He was
the one guy that Dwaine and I really looked forward to working on each day.
He's very personable, has a great sense of humor and is patient beyond reason.
My dad came down to visit in late August, and happened to stop by while I was
touching up Wes's tattoos. My dad was star-struck and obviously nervous, so Wes
started asking him questions like "Where are you from? How long are you
staying?" etc. to break he ice. To this day, whenever my dad sees Wes in a
film, he always has to say "I met him once, and he's nothing like that guy in
the movie. He's just the nicest guy you'd ever want meet!". If I ever found
out that Wes was working on a project in my area, I'd definitely take the time
to stop by and say "Hi", because I thought of him as a good friend and most of
my fondest memories from 'Mohicans' involve him. If you ever get him to come to
a Mohicans Gathering, I'll be the first to sign up! [WEBMASTER'S
NOTE: Missed it Rick, we did ... in 2001 WES STUDI AT THE GREAT MOHICAN GATHERING]
Wes donning the boxing gear at Chimney
Wes looking like a bad-ass at the
fort/Massacre valley with second unit.
TATTOO TANTALIZERS! || TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 2 || TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 3
TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 4
|| TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 5
|| TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 7
TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 8
|| TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 9
|| TATTOO TANTALIZERS ... Part 10