LOTM... Cast Quirks and Class System

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Posted by Elaine on May 06, 1998 at 06:37:05:

In reading Mark Baker's and Eric Hurley's recollections and experiences during the filming of LOTM, one thing that stands out is how the Hollywood class system is played out. Though I know it is typical, it seems strange, almost silly that everyone has not only their jobs to do, but also their place in the order of things.

Daniel Day-Lewis; here's a guy who trained intensely to be physically prepared for the role of Hawkeye, as well as training mentally to be, think, eat, and breathe an 18th century frontiersman. As Mark Baker has said previously, DDL went so far as to stay in a secluded cabin during filming so he could remain in character, with as little as possible distraction. Carrying Killdeer around, or being fed during fliming of "My Left Foot" ..... he really goes the distance to 'be' whoever he is 'being' at the time. With that in mind, it seems odd that during the running and shooting training with Mark Baker, a line was drawn as to what he, the star, would do or not do. Obviously DDL was enthusiastic about the shooting sessions, and it seems he was ready and willing to be physical. Why then would he not go the whole nine yards? After each running/shooting round, the logs that had been placed as targets had to be set again. But rather than both DDL and Mark Baker resetting the targets, which would have saved time if nothing else, Mark Baker, "the hired hand" was expected to run to the meadow perimeter, reset the log targets, run back to the pavilion, and do the whole thing over with Daniel..... while he was setting the targets again and again, DDL hung out by the car drinking Evian water. It seems it would make more sense for both men to reset the targets and continue the running, loading, shooting sequence. It just strikes me as odd, especially for a guy who is known to get into character to the degree that he does, and is described as an easy going, normal guy.

Then there's Madeleine Stowe, as Eric Hurley describes, being brought out "set up", treated as a "goddess and acting the part", while Jodhi May just hung around by herself.

The food.... the stars, the crew ... they get steaks and trout almondine while the extras get sandwiches and food poisoning! Weird......

And the big to do about who is a STAR, a co-star, a stunt man, an extra, a featured extra, or a scripted extra. These were important distinctions. Everyone was expected to know their place and act accordingly.

I find it all almost comical. There's a lot more said by both Mark Baker and Eric Hurley that is really interesting, for those who haven't read the additions.

Does anyone else find these insights into the behind the scenes goings on surprising or funny?


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