RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Behind The Scenes
Production began in March
1999, with filming taking place in South Carolina, Morocco, northern Virginia,
Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.
Director Friedkin and producer Zanuck previously worked together on "The
Exorcist" and "The French Connection," but, Zanuck says,
"Always in the past I had worked with him as a studio executive; I had
never seen him actually filming. I had no idea he was as fast as he is, and I
think that's because he's so well organized. It's a tight ship that he runs; he
is a meticulous director, a perfectionist. He's also great with actors. He's
very inventive and can take a little bit of business and make it a key element.
I found working with him a wonderful experience."
Jackson adds, "Billy instills a lot of confidence in us as he's very open
about letting us bring things to the moment. If he doesn't like it, he's brave
enough to say, 'Well, that's a little too much,' or 'I need you to do this.' And
that's helpful for me because I know that he has a vision for each moment that
he's willing to share and explain."
To ensure that the film accurately portrays the way Marines conduct themselves
both on and off the battlefield, the filmmakers turned to former Marine Captain
Dale Dye for technical advice, a responsibility Dye has fulfilled on numerous
films, ranging from "Forrest Gump" to "Saving Private Ryan."
Under his command, the actors and extras underwent grueling military training in
boot camp-like conditions, developing the close-knit camaraderie of real Marines
along the way. One camp in South Carolina prepared the actors for the tactics
and weaponry of the Vietnam War circa 1968, and their training in Morocco geared
them for contemporary desert warfare.
For the Vietnam War sequences, Dye, himself a Vietnam combat veteran, did more
than toughen the actors physically. "I had to reach inside their hearts and
tell them what we were like in 1968 when we were 20 years old -- what our
attitudes were, what seeing that war and that brutality did to us, what it felt
like to go for long periods of having nothing and being exhausted all the time
and being covered with jungle sores. I had to do this because anytime you lie on
a screen, you've done a disservice to America's fighting men and the 58,000
Americans who fell in Vietnam, and I won't allow that."
In the course of filming, Jones said, "We met a lot of real Marines, and
I've always admired them and what they do. I sincerely hope we serve them well
with this picture."
As part of the training, actors only referred to each other by their character
names and ranks. Jones and Jackson, who are young lieutenants in the Vietnam
scenes, joined their Vietnam units a few days after the other men had already
spent a few days together training and bonding in the field. Initially, the men
purposely excluded Jones and Jackson from the camaraderie of the group, testing
them the way battle-toughened grunts would test any untried, green officer
assigned to lead them into life or death situations.
"We had to work our way into the company," Jackson says. "It was
up to us to find a way to get our own respect from those guys. I ended up having
a great relationship with my company in Vietnam and with the guys in
After filming in South Carolina, the production moved to the city of Ouarzazate,
Morocco, in the Atlas Mountains about 140 miles southeast of Marrakech. There,
with the blessing of King Hassan II and the full cooperation of the Moroccan
government, Friedkin and his cast and crew filmed the scenes set in Yemen,
including the attack on the U.S. Embassy.
The population of Ouarzazate is primarily Berber, an ethnic group of people
spread out across several North African nations, including Yemen, where they
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