Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Vietnam War Story

Unlike Private Payback's remonstrations, this picture proves I was there man! Not in South East Asia but in a swamp ten miles outside of Savannah GA shooting the first three pilot episodes of the much acclaimed HBO drama Vietnam War Story.

image: a continuity Polaroid ® from the first episode The Mine.

Someday, for a film class or something, I'd like to tell the story of how four guys; a Brit, a former LRRP who was self-medicating his PTSD and couple of crackers can make a three foot deep, six acre rice paddy in a month with nothing but shovels and wheelbarrows (as a backhoe would have sunk in the swamp) and put in there the USA's entire stock of fake rice plants that twenty women from the WI have spent a week wiring onto stakes.

Then, as a director's afterthought, after it has been flooded of course, how they made an island to put a crane in the middle of it and then a raft to get the crane onto the island like a ropax ferry...

The B-story of this heroic tale would be a case of confronting racism. Can someone remain colour-blind or will subtle pressures make them conform to the status quo. Can they, as a manager, get a mixed crew of locals to work together or do they take everyone's advice to either hire black or white labourers but not both.

Then there'd be the colourful supporting characters and comic interludes of nights at Pinkie Masters, the lovely, bright and willing girls from SCAD, the surreality of airboat trips by moonlight, meeting real ‘shiners and then, when driven crazy by the vapours from the pulp mill and the heat and humidity, the hero gets caught up with persons unknown (ahem) commemorating Yorktown by bombarding Savannah with cherry bombs catapulted from a vintage Cadillac.

I think my Southern Gothic tales will be told. To my children at least.

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