They were very clear about it from the very beginning— "Bring boots." The farm west of London, near the town of Watlington, probably would have been muddy, anyway. It was mid-November under leaden skies, and cows were everywhere. But Hollywood had come to town, and Hollywood, this time, meant mud. And tanks rolling through that mud. And actors and extras covered in more of that mud than you could possibly believe.

Last November, David Ayer’s Fury had set up camp in the farmland near Watlington, recreating— with mud and tanks and the occasional burning building— the ravaged landscape of Germany in April of 1945. Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, Michael Pena and Logan Lerman play the five crew members inside the titular tank, charged with liberating Germany but exhausted by war itself. It’s a war movie unlike any other that’s been made about the second World War— and making that required a lot of attention to detail, as we learned by watching the crew at work last November.

Here are the highlights of the ways they’re making Fury as realistic as possible.

Fury 1

It’s the grotesque, demoralizing part of World War II you never see. Fury follows a single American tank as it rolls through Germany in the final days of the war. "It’s this very sort of post-apocalyptic world that Andrew and David have created and the specter of death is just hovering over everybody," says producer John Lesher. "We know that the war is almost over. Why are we doing this? Why are we going on this mission."

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