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ANNAPOLIS

The Training and Design
With the cast assembled, they were now shipped off, just like a brand-new bunch of military recruits, for hard-core training. This took place at a special boot camp designed and overseen by retired Marine Captain Scott D. Carson, a graduate of Annapolis, class of 1991—who helped to drill the actors in the rules, rituals and lifestyles at the Naval Academy. Carson not only worked with the cast in developing their roles, he was also consulted on wardrobe, props, production design and set decoration, helping to ensure as much authenticity as possible throughout every aspect of the production.

Carson's two weeks of boot camp focused on both the main cast as well as the numerous extras and included marching drills, calisthenics, rifle work and obstacle courses, concentrating on the core basics that make life in a military academy so tough and so unique. "Most of it was to mold them together as a group more than anything else,” he explains. "That's the whole idea behind the training of plebes in the first place—to get them to come together as a team and collectively work together. I tried to get that mind-set going with the cast as much as I could.”

The actors agree that the plan, challenging as it was at times, worked incredibly well. "From the minute we started training, we started learning how to really work together,” says Roger Fan, who plays Loo. "I remember there was a big change the day we all got our hair cut. We'd already been training for a week, but when we got our hair cut, we just looked at each other and there was this instant recognition of a strong bond. We saw that we were all in this together.”

Comments James Franco: "The boot camp really helped us to catch all the nuances of protocol and behavior at the Academy. It was great because it helped everyone to feel more motivated, more like a team and more completely immersed in the environment of the story.”

Watching the actors so hard at work convinced Justin Lin that the boot camp was invaluable. "Going through the boot camp with all the actors and extras was an incredible experience for me,” he says. "Everyone was so dedicated and to see all these talented people come in and just go for it was quite an inspiration. It seemed to solidify the experience for us all.”

Even while the demanding boot camp was in session, many of the actors were also spending the early morning and late evening hours in brutal training for their boxing performances. For Justin Lin, the boxing scenes were a key part of telling the story of Jake Huard's transformation, and he wanted them to be full of the excitement and dynamism of real college sports.

"I grew up playing a lot of basketball and I just love sports,” he comments. "The thing I love about them, and something that I wanted to be very much a part of this movie, is that, in life, you can trash-talk all you want but as soon as you step onto the court—or, in Jake's case, into the ring—you are who you are and there's no hiding it. So we took a lot of care in creating the boxing scenes.”

In addition to sending James Franco, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, Donnie Wahlberg and others to the boxing trainers at Wild Card Gym, the filmmakers utilized the services of renowned fight choreographer Nick Powell, who last worked with Russell Crowe and Ron Howard to re-create the classic boxing matches seen in "Cinderella Man.” For ANNAPOLIS, Powell spent weeks working with the film's young actor to coordinate up-to-500-move modern boxing sequences in the ring. One of the biggest difficulties was in getting the fights to look real without any danger to the stars. "For example, in the fight between Jake and AJ, James Franco and Jim Parrack made contact but they did it with great control,” explains Powell. "James and Jim had rehearsed so much, they were able to hit each

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