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Training For The Film
"I am afraid our ‘type' cannot get the job done. Without qualified help, I would have to resign this appointment. I am leading my men to slaughter.” —Melvin Purvis

One of the key elements to maintaining accuracy for Public Enemieswas the ongoing cooperation of the FBI during production. From BETSY GLICK, based in the national headquarters, to agents DALE SHELTON and ROYDEN R. RICE from the Chicago bureau, the FBI was instrumental in the making of the film. The bureau Director MICHAEL MANN and JOHNNY DEPP as John Dillinger on the set of Public Enemies. helped in documenting many of the facts of the Dillinger case, as well as other activities, such as supplying period furniture and file cabinets for an FBI set.

Weapons expert Shelton met Mann and members of the crew when they came to the FBI's Chicago bureau for a tour of the weapons vault. The agent was on the set almost daily to ensure the integrity of the FBI-related scenes, as well as to work with the production's armorers on the period firearms. Mann also cast him as an FBI agent in a number of scenes.

According to the agent: "From the accounts I've read, Hoover's ideal definition of an agent would be someone who was clean-cut, physically fit and able to shoot straight when they needed to. They were also able to work long hours and have interpersonal skills so they could interview people to get information that was needed.”

With tactics and weapons advisor MICK GOULD, Mann had the actors portraying FBI agents and gang members training in firearm handling, period-car driving and other relevant activities. The performers' roles were very physical and included much running, scaling of bank desks and carrying of heavy, unwieldy firearms.

While Depp and Bale had previously trained in the use of weaponry for other films, they soon realized that the shooting techniques needed for Public Enemies differed drastically.

Explains agent Shelton: "During that time period, when you were shooting with a handgun, you would use one hand only. It wasn't even thought of to use two hands. That didn't occur until the 1940s, when it was decided that it was a much more stable shooting platform to use two hands instead of one. In addition, your stance was completely different. It was more of a traditional bull's-eye-type stance, more of a target-shootertype stance. That, as all tactics have, has evolved over the years.”

Misher was duly impressed that Dillinger's crew was able to maneuver so easily with such heavy weaponry. For this production, he knew the actors playing these roles had a tough road ahead of them to make the gunfights look realistic. He explains: "If you look at the guns that Dillinger and his gang were carrying around, these Tommy guns with big drums, they were very heavy. Some were about 80, 90 pounds. And they're holding onto the sideboards of cars while they're hightailing it out of town after robbing a bank.”

Depp proved to be a quick study during preproduction. "For the most part, I was carrying a 1921 Thompson submachine gun and a couple of .45s in the film,” the actor provides. "I had a lot of preparation. I've been shooting guns since I was about 5 or 6, so I had a pretty strong advantage in that area.

Primarily, I was firing the Thompson and a couple of .45s.” He coyly adds, "When you've got a beast like that strapped to you and you're emptying magazines, a 50-round drum, it's a good feeling.” CHRISTIAN BALE as Special Agent Melvin Purvis and director MICHAEL MANN on set. Bale also received solid information from the authorities about what his character would and wouldn't do. He says, "My experience with the FBI guys included a fascinating day going around Quantico with Michael and seeing many of the actual weapons used in incident

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