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Tattoo Tantalizers! ... Part 9

... the most asked for gallery in our existence!
... the cliffs ...

Photos & text courtesy of Rick Martinko ... Tattoo Department, LOTM

Once shooting wrapped up at the Huron village, we moved to the other side of the valley.  The base camp was moved from the town to an apple orchard that was at the top of the mountain.  As a result of the move, we packed up all of our stuff and finally left the EconoLodge at Morganton.  Because we were "principle artists", Dwaine and I were set up with accommodations at the Radisson in Asheville.  Unfortunately for some of the crew members, the move left them with no place to live and with the limited number of paid working days remaining, a lot of people packed up and headed for home.  As a result, the few of us left had to fill in wherever needed in addition to our normal workload.



This location was probably the most beautiful area we shot at.  The falls in the second picture is about 30 yards upstream from the falls in this shot.  Between the two falls was where the final battle between Magua & Chingachgook took place.
The orchard side of the valley is where we shot the cliff scenes.  Most of the area is set up with stairs and walkways for tourists, but we did end up hiking into more remote areas.  I have many less than fond memories of fighting my way up narrow rock formations, with 25 lbs. of tattoos supplies in one hand while hanging on to a safety rope with the other.  In addition to the harsh terrain, there were a few critters that made things interesting, including snakes and lots of spiders.  The armorer accidentally sat in a nest of brown recluse spiders and got bit on the forearm.  The resulting infection made him arm look like rotting meat. Thankfully, his arm didn't have to be amputated.
If that wasn't bad enough, Wes injured his leg and had to have arthroscopic surgery during the production.  As a result, he had to wear an immobilizing brace through the remainder of the filming and walked with a cane.  That's why his motions look a little stiff during the final fight scenes... he could barely walk.  Shortly after shooting the cliff scenes, we had to shoot some extra Massacre Valley footage involving Wes.  Second unit filmed the scene behind an old hunting lodge near the Fort.  Because Wes couldn't move, they choreographed the fight scenes so that the camera and extras moved around him, while he stood in one place and moved his leg as little as possible.

Wes and Eric practicing.

See ya, Eric.  Actually, that's probably Burkey Lilly, Eric's stunt double.

These pictures weren't shot near the cliffs, but they demonstrate the trick they employed to hide the fact that Wes was immobile.


Note the straight right leg.  He had a brace under the legging to immobilize the knee.

Vincent Guastini's work on Wes's post-fight elbow.  While shooting this picture I said "Oh, man!!  That's the nastiest thing I've ever seen! I'm gonna puke!  Oh, yeah... the elbow's kinda gross, too."  I think Wes hit we with his cane.

Maurice waiting for some towels.  The heart removal scene was actually shot in the apple orchard where the base camp was set up.  So, as the scene unfolds on screen, the shots jump between three or four different Massacre Valley locations, to the apple orchard, then back seamlessly.  It's pretty weird watching the movie, because several of the scenes that were shot at multiple locations seem very disjointed to me.

Angela with the real star of the cliff scenes... the stunt dummy.

The Huron warriors relaxing between action sequences.

While waiting for food at the catering trailer, we kept seeing this cool looking stray dog.  Apparently, he smelled the food and even though he was really hungry, he wasn't comfortable enough to get closer than this.  People kept tossing food to him, and eventually he decided that we were okay.  During that time that everyone was at the set, the transportation guys coaxed him to come close enough that they could pet him.  Next thing we knew, he was hanging out in base camp with everyone like he belonged there.  One of the transport guys adopted him and named him Cujo.

To this day, I still think he's the coolest looking dog I've ever seen.  From a distance, you'd swear that it's a panda looking at you.  He was one of several dogs that were apart of the crew.  Jane Royale in the make-up department took in a stray hunting dog she found at Massacre Valley, Madeleine had her dog's at the Fort base camp, including her Old English Bulldog, and one of the crew guys had a dog with him that starred in 'Dances With Wolves'.  When it was a puppy, it was playing with the little boy in the scene where the Pawnee attack Stands With a Fist's family.

One of the Magua core Huron's taking a wax bullet to the ribs.  Guys volunteered to get shot for the opportunity to have a larger part in the final film, in spite of the fact that this hurt like hell.  Off screen, they fired a soft wax capsule filled with stage blood out of a compressed-air blow gun.  The guys would end up with welts all over their bodies.  Buy, hey... they ended up being immortalized on celluloid.  In the background, you can one of the safety nets they rigged up around the set.  Every place that there was action going on, the nets were there because in most places there was at least a 40 foot drop down onto broken rock.
Following the cliff sequences, we started bouncing from one location to another on a near-daily basis.  During the early editing, they realized that they needed additional footage so we had to go back to a bunch of locations.  It was now mid-September, so there was the concern that we would have continuity problems regarding the colors of the leaves on the trees.  We all were getting the feeling that things were wrapping up and with the amount of scenes that still needed to be shot, things were going to get ugly.  A good number of the crew members had left to go home or work on other projects, so those of us that remained had more work to do with less time, and a production crew that had no patience.  We were all tired, overworked and very irritable, which was only compounded by the antics of certain principle actors (Russell) who decided that their personal needs outweighed the whole project.  By this time, all I could think about was a nice 9-to-5 job behind some desk somewhere.
I should be able to wrap everything up next installment, with pictures from DuPont, the canoe chase and the "Top of the World" final scene. NEXT UP: THE FINAL WRAP || BACK TO INDEX OF TATTOOS


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