Photoessay – set of Letters from Iwo Jiima

December 11, 2007

 After working on Pirates of the Carribean III, I got to work on Clint Eastwood’s “Letters from Iwo Jiima”. For some reason I always forget to take pictures on set, mostly because you’re not supposed to, but also because I just space out I guess. One day I went out and got me a disposable camera and took some pics. Everyone was great to work with and we actually got to shoot the machine guns and so on, of course they were all blank but it was still fun. I always wanted to see what it was like to be a solider. This was as close as I got and thats good enough for me.

I love the squatting picture. Mainly because I can’t do it, but I kinda faked it where because I used the gun as leverage. I have no clue how Asians do that squatting thing. It truly is an art form.

Being an actor or even a background actor is really like playing dress up. You dress up as a solider and play with toys such as tanks and guns. Then at the end of the day, you get back to your regular clothes and you’re back to normal again. They hooked us up w/ a hotel and since it was a SAG film, we all had to have our own room. I had a 2 bedroom hotel room at Ramada Inn. We were in Barstow about 2 hours away from Vegas so we’d use our food money to go have fun in Vegas during the weekends.

We were dirty. I couldn’t even see myself in the film. One, because we filmed in the caves and it was dark. I don’t really like caves so I avoided it as much as I could. I didn’t really care about ‘screen’ time. I cared more about ‘rocks falling on my head’. No thank you sir.

We stayed in this van most of the time if it got really cold or rained outside. The worst ever was when it was pouring HARD at around 2am and it was seriously freezing and we had to run up and down this hill a million times. That was the first time I was thinking of saying ‘screw this’. However it got to be kind of a challenge when you hear other people complain, you just wanna keep going because you think it’ll be ‘just 10 more minutes’ will turns into 2 more hours somehow.

There were lots of props on set. Here are some fake hands. I had scrap metal hit my face in one scene. It was pretty cool.

This guy didn’t do too well.

The guy on the right had a twin which was funny. Imagine shooting one guy and then a twin coming at you. That would be kinda freaky deeky.

Most of the time on set is just waiting. Here Bobby is reading and Art just chillin. There wasn’t shade or benches or anything. We really did have to rough it for being a SAG film, but it was all good. I’m really good at waiting. I just read or take a nap. I’m notorious for that.

Here is me and my friend the dead solider.

I had the day shift guarding the rocks.

I love that smile from the guy in the back.

Here everyone is napping but it looks like they all got shot.

Yea they had ipods back in the day. Japanese were that ahead of time.

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