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Boot Camp
The quartet of actors got a rigorous dose of military life when they went through a crash-course boot camp prior to the start of production. To transform the actors into credible soldiers, the filmmakers enlisted the expertise of retired Navy SEAL Lieutenant John Rottger and Colonel King Davis. Rottger, Davis and Jim Parker had collectively amassed operative experience in both the Persian Gulf War and Vietnam.

Rottger and Davis took Clooney, Wahlberg, Ice Cube and Jonze through a week of training in the Arizona desert. "We taught each one different skills because they are each at different stages as soldiers in the film. For instance, George is playing a Special Forces soldier, so he had to be more adept at handling weapons than Spike, who's a reservist," says Rottger. Many of the other actors, including Mykelti Williamson, received varying degrees of training as well.

Despite the demands of such rigorous training, Clooney found it to be a worthwhile experience. "Major Jim Parker, who died of cancer during the shooting, was my consultant for the role. He served in Vietnam and the Gulf War. His experiences. His stories. His knowledge was the driving force behind the character I played," he says.

Ice Cube described the experience more succinctly: "It was really intense."

Lieutenant Rottger remained on the set every day throughout production to be sure that his "recruits" stayed in top form, and to answer any military questions that the production might have.

In addition to seeking authenticity in their portrayal of the American troops, the filmmakers also sought to depict the Iraqi soldiers and civilians accurately. For this, they sought the help of Iraqi and Muslim advisors.

"From the beginning of the filmmaking process, we realized it would be impossible to make ‘Three Kings' properly without involvement from the Iraqi community," says Roven. "So we gave the script to several community leaders in Los Angeles. They, in turn, reached out to community leaders in Detroit and San Diego, which have among the highest concentrations of Iraqi people in the United States. Their input gave the story a much greater sense of reality."

The three most prominent advisors were Sayed Moustafa Al-Qazwini, a religious leader in Orange County, California, who was born and raised in Iraq and was there during the war and the uprising; Sermid Al-Sarraf, an American-born Iraqi attorney who went to school in Iraq with Saddam Hussein's oldest son, and now lives in Los Angeles and is an active member of the Muslim community in Southern California; and Al No'mani, an Iraqi filmmaker who now lives in Detroit, but who was one of Iraq's biggest movie and TV stars before the war broke out.

Al-Qazwini was instrumental in advising Russell about the cultural and religious parts of the script as well as about the costumes. In fact, Al-Qazwini loaned his own religious robe and turban to an actor who played a priest in the film.

Al-Sarraf assisted in drafting the maps and signage for the film as well as translating Russell's English words into Iraqi Arabic. In addition, he supplied the production design department with photos and products from Iraq.

Al No'mani, who also has a small part in the film, was the dialect coach for the movie's Iraqi characters. He also taught them how to speak English with an Iraqi accent. Al No'mani's task was a large one because, as he explains, "Each Arabic country speaks a different dialect. And Iraq itself has a multitude of dialects. ‘Three Kings' takes place in the south near Karbala, but there are also characters in the film who come from Baghdad, and they speak differently."

Al No'mani was on set every day of filming, not only to oversee dialect but also to ensure that the Iraqi characters looked culturally correct. "I was al


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