9 Ways Fury Aims To Be The Muddiest, Most Realistic World War II Movie Ever Made
It’s a single day in the life. War movies often tell broader stories to give a sense of meaning to what happens— sure, the rookie might die in the first few days of the mission, but by the end the team redeems him. Fury, though, is a snapshot of a single day— " a day in the life from dawn to dusk," says Lesher— in which the American soldiers, though winning, may have been at their worst. "It’s just a battle for survival right now," says associate producer Owen Thornton. "No one wants to be the last man killed in a war. The soldier that we’ve created here is just that kind of crazy guy who didn’t exist in June 6, 1944 when the allied landing happened in Normandy in France."
The characters are going through hell… and the actors went through their fair share of it, too. Before arriving to work on set in England, the actors playing the tank battalion went through a weeklong boot camp in which they lived and slept inside a real tank. As military advisor David "Sting" Rae explains it, "You’ve got to be bonded." Sting was on hand to keep up the authenticity during the shoot, as well. "The actors are still asking questions every day, but just to make sure it’s real. They want it to be authentic. They’re like sponges and soak a lot up and keep asking for more and more and more, which is fantastic."
The actors were able to meet with veterans who had driven these tanks, as well. "We had four [veterans] come into Los Angeles, before the actors came to London here and had a big roundtable discussion," Sting explains. "The actors picked these amazing veterans’ brains for like four hours. It was just the actors and the veterans. No producers. No press. It was just about getting deep and being honest and telling real stories, and honestly stories veterans don’t even feel comfortable telling their families."
The tanks rolling through the mud looked so real because they *were* real— lovingly restored by collectors from all over the world. Says Lesher, "It’s mightily expensive, but to have these things, the accurate real things, that have never before been in a move before… David and Owen really had a real understanding of what it is." And the collectors who lent their restored tanks and machinery to the film may eventually become Fury’s toughest audience. "This community of people that are interested in World War II are like comic books fans. They know everything about it. So, if we get any of these details wrong, they’re going to be the first ones to pick it up."
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