THE WORLD OF SOLDIER #2 ... Part 3
EH: Capt. Dye was absolutely losing his temper. I actually seen the man take off his hat and jump up and down on his hat. He threw his hat on the ground and called us everything! Everything in the book! He knew that the Cadre were capable of doing it, but we had been going through so many people ... Michael Waxman had pissed everybody off, lost a lot of people there. They didn't care ... they weren't getting paid enough, this was just not worth it. We gained a lot of new people who had not gone through the training, they had no idea. They were given a gun that they had never shot in their life, they were expected to fire it right the first time So, while everybody was putting on their make up, the Cadre would grab a guy and say, "C'mon, we're going to show you how this works." That was what we were there for. We had to train, and make sure that each new guy knew what to do on command. We had to consolidate our four weeks of training into two hours sometimes. If they didn't know how to do it, put 'em in the back ... forget about it. "Do what you can do. Just watch everybody else." It boiled down to ... "You WILL fire as one volley!" Period! One Boom. These new guys did not understand the word "fire" obviously, or they were so scared they didn't know what to do until everybody else had shot. Then they'd pull their trigger, so you got, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom! Over again. Over again. Over again, until one sound was heard. It was never done, it never happened. The final scene that made the TV version, I don't know if you can tell or not, but it's a series of Booms all the way down through there. It's unreal. The only time we were allowed to do such a thing and get away with it is at Massacre Valley, where they wanted erratic fire. Any other time, Capt. Dye never apologized for any mistake ... he was proud of us, he knew we did a good job. That night, I actually saw him turn around and just hang his head low and apologize to Michael Mann for what had happened. We just couldn't get it right.
MP: I wonder if that's why they didn't use it in the theater release. It didn't meet the standards.
EH: Probably. I'm really surprised that they didn't use what went on at Biltmore. It just floored me when we didn't see that. Everyone was hoping for that because it was SO good. It looked good to us ... now it may have looked different on camera. There was a second unit that did the filming there. Mickey Gilbert was actually the director for the second unit on that particular filming. I don't know if it just didn't come out right on film, or what. We thought it was wonderful. Breathtaking.
MP: During the Parley scene, were you French or British?
EH: I was British.
MP: Was the whole Cadre there on the British side?
EH: No. We were split up. Gaston was French. Some of the others were French. Here again, we had a lot of new guys that didn't know squat. We were there to lead them. I basically hid myself that particular day. I was out the day before. I had dropped out during the ... we had filmed the coming out of the Fort the day before. It was hot. I passed out. I had to go home. So, I felt lost. I was still kind of wheezy from the day before, so I chose to kind of stand back. I was in it, but in the back. There's so many people in front of me that you can't see me. I didn't care that day. I was there, I wanted to get it over with. Again, it was a very, very hot day. We had a lot of people pass out. Lost a lot of good people that day. One of the Cadre, John Igou, at one point in time had to go to the hospital for ptomaine poisoning from the mayonnaise. He had eaten at the extras' ... They make this stuff, they leave it out for them all day. It's not chilled, no ice or nothing. A big old bowl of mayonnaise sat out. The health inspector had a hay day with them on that.
MP: How about talking about Massacre Valley for a bit.
EH: [long pause] "Don't step on the flowers!" If I heard that once, I heard it a thousand times. The first couple of days of filming we're marching in to Massacre Valley. They did not want the wild flowers disturbed. They had planted them. They were there. No one was to make a path ... 'cause once the path was made, you can't go back up there and get the flowers to stand back up again. "Don't step on the flowers!" I mean if your foot went three inches into the grass they were all over you. It was like Day One again. It was hot that day, but it was nice out there. We had a nice breeze coming off the mountains through that valley. Very beautiful place. Marching, marching, marching, marching ... all day. One of those days, everybody showed up, pouring rain! All day long. Everybody stayed in the tents. We did nothing but sleep, play, goof off. We got there, put our uniforms on, kept them on all day, it was still raining at the end of the day, took the uniforms off and went home! We got paid for it! There was half of the 40 something million dollars gone to pot right there. To this day, I'm pretty sure it was more than 47 million dollars. It was more in the line of 63 million dollars to make the movie. I think they wanted to keep that quiet. I have no proof, but I kind of overheard one of the production people, Hunt Lowery, talking on the phone, "We're up to 50 some million dollars and we need more money." I heard him on the phone.
MP: So, how many times did you die in Massacre Valley?
EH: In Massacre Valley, I couldn't tell you. In the whole movie? About 58 times! Capt. Dye told me that I died more than anybody else. [laughs] When you stay with it that long ... I don't know ... It boiled down to me and Gaston and Guy Musgrove. Guy had red hair, Curtis had dark hair, and I was wearing a dark wig. Michael Mann took one look at Curtis and said, "I've seen you enough. You're dying." We're stepping too far ahead. Let me go back to Massacre Valley ... I'm sorry, I get off track sometimes ...
It was really neat! By then, you had that feeling that you're fighting the Indians. You knew your guy was out there somewhere. He's going to be barreling on through there, out of the woods. You could not see him. So, in your mind, you're trying to imagine how these people actually felt. You hear all this racket going on. The Indians are screaming their bloody heads off. You can't see two feet into the woods. You're out there, it's a nice sunny day ... you get to that wood line, you can't see nothing! Absolutely nothing! Shots start flying. We start shooting back. A lot of acting had to go on at that point. You're not supposed to just stand there, "Well, I know my guy is coming out of the woods over there." You start actually getting into your character. Cold chills went up my spine several times. You didn't know what to expect, but then, you did. Most everything was choreographed at that point. You had your fighting partner. He came out of the woods. I don't know if you guys know who Leon Goodstriker is, but you see him quite often. He was the one who actually pulled Madeleine Stowe around by the neck.
MP: Yeah, we have that up on the Site with some pictures.
EH: Okay. Anyway, we do our little fighting scene over and over again. The point at which the shackles are taken off of Daniel Day-Lewis ... I went to the hospital that day. You had a lot of newcomers ... off the street people. For that particular location, they had actually went down to the Employment Security Commission and just pulled people in.
MP: How lucky can you get?
EH: I don't know how many times I had to shave beards, side burns, everything to get these guys to look right. I had nothing to do with hair! We're getting beaucoups of people in ... The Cadre were expected ... You took care of yourself. "You took care of each other!" That was the motto through this whole thing. You didn't go for outside help, you didn't buck the system, you took care of yourself. So, we got these new guys in, we took them under our wing. Sat 'em down. Hair people are over there. "Give me your cutters." Here we go. Somehow or other I got into being a barber shop. There was another guy who was also the barber. Another guy was training guns. Another guy was training marching. Another guy was ... I mean everybody had a job to do. [laughs] This one guy, I swear, I think he must have come in about three sheets in the wind. Must've been an alcoholic, or something. Who in their right mind would show up at 6 o'clock in the morning, drunk? We needed him. "Don't let him go!" I'm setting him down. I could not get him to sit still. I'm shaving his beard, shaving his side burns off, trying to teach him how to get his hair to do right, then I send him to somebody else. This guy could not stand up. Anyway, what it boiled down to, is we had so many new people there, and they knew that this might be their only one chance to get in this movie. When the shackle scene took place, everyone was trying their best to get in front of the camera. Leon and I were to the side ... in the marching scene when all the shots and stuff start taking place, you can actually get a small glimpse of me right behind Daniel Day-Lewis, to one side. Leon comes in from one side and we go off to battle and he is to kill me and kill the guy behind me and take off. The Indians were down to the point where it was a hit and run thing. You hit, run into the woods, they take a rest, come back out. I was one of the first down. I'm supposed to lay dead. Well, like I say, we had SO many people, trying SO hard to get in front of that camera that no matter WHAT they were told, they had one point in their minds. They were gonna run through everybody as fast as they could to get in front of that camera! They didn't care WHO they stepped on, or who they got in the way of. I don't know how many times Daniel Day-Lewis got knocked down. Eric Schweig got knocked down. It was just unreal. And these guys didn't care! They were there for one day, probably, because they KNEW they were not coming back after they got through with their behavior! I got kicked in the head once. It centered me right in the back of the neck. I heard something pop. Felt OK. I got up. This happened about three or four times. Well, the last time, and it was the SAME guy, kicked me again and his foot squared me right in the center of the neck, at a full bore run. I felt it all the way to my butt! It hurt to move. I couldn't feel my feet, couldn't feel my hands ... I thought, "Oh God! I'm paralyzed!" I tried to get up, but I couldn't get up. I just couldn't move. It hurt SO bad, so much pain. I just laid there. Everything came to an end. They bring the ambulance in. All these medical people around, and three people were taking care of me - Mawi, Leon ... and Michael Mann. They made sure that I was well taken care of while I was laying there on the ground until actual paramedics got there to take care of me. Michael Mann never left me. They took me to McDowell Hospital. I was okay, just a temporary thing.
MP: What was it like having Michael Mann with you?
EH: What was it like? It was like, "You know, who gives a shit about the movie? Are you okay? You've been part of this from the very beginning." It made me really feel special. Here's "God," as far as this movie's concerned, and his attention is on me. Michael really didn't get what he wanted out of that scene, I'm pretty sure, but knowing the situation ... it was going to continue, obviously ... that was the last filming of the scene. He wasn't going to chance it again.
MP: This is when Hawkeye is getting free of his shackles?
EH: Hmm Hmm.
MP: We've got to watch that more carefully.
EH: You don't see me.
MP: We just want to see the people running, knocking peoples' heads off! [laughs]
EH: From that point on, that's what happened because we got so many people in, one-dayers, basically, is what it boiled down to. They had one thing on their minds; they were going to get in front of that camera, or die.
MP: One other scene at Massacre Valley, and I'm assuming that this is the Cadre, is when Duncan falls down, near the lake, while in formation.
EH: Yeah, that was actually one of the last days of filming as the Cadre. We went to Barnardsville, that was actually started there.
MP: Near the elk hunt filming?
EH: Yeah. There was a field there, everybody got in the field and did their little thing. It was really funny. We were finished at Massacre Valley, they were filming the Cadre and the major stunt men. When the major stunt men were there, the Cadre were background for them. If you were an extra, you were WAY back just kind of running around doing nothing. You had production weenies, off to one side, "You run through there, real quick." Something like that. They told us that we're going to come to a particular point in the scene, and we want you freeze when we holler "Freeze!" Memorize where you're standing, what you're doing. We have to go to another location, this is our last day that we can film here, and you have to recreate this thing. So, they holler "Freeze!", and they're running around with cameras taking pictures of every angle ... still frame cameras, polaroids ... taking pictures of every person, everything that was going on, so that we could re-do it at Barnardsville. Well, when they come to me and Leon, Leon's got me about nine feet in the air, holding me in the middle of a throw. I'm at a pretty good trot when he picks me up to give me a sling. His arms were fully extended. The man is 6'3", his arms are fully extended and I'm up in the air! Thank God he's a strong man! He had to hold me for a good 15 minutes while they're running around taking pictures! So, when we get to Barnardsville, everybody is laughing their butts off at me and Leon trying to get into position. He was exhausted. I don't know what happened, but he can't get me up! I don't know if I ate a whole lot over the weekend, or what. Finally, after try after try, he gets me up in the air, they're looking at the polaroid, "No, you need to do this." Poor Leon's arms are just shaking. [laughs] We finally ... Carl Goldstein, by this point, has taken over Michael Waxman's job. He had to leave for another job. Finally, we're in position, Goldstein runs out of the way and yells, "Background action!", and Leon just throws me. I have never hit the ground so hard, in any other scene, than I did in that scene. There was no help in easing my landing. We did two days there, if I'm not mistaken, at Barnardsville. The last day, everything was winding down ... we started losing people really quick. I'm pretty sure they were sending them home. We're finishing, it was getting dark, all of the re-enactors were getting ready to leave, their time was up ... I wasn't really listening to what they were saying. All I heard was, "Who can be back tomorrow?" I raised my hand, I didn't have anything better to do. It boiled down to me, and Curtis, and Musgrove.
Dave, in lighting ... one day back during the Fort filming, I get a call about 11:30. Capt. Dye's on the phone. He had been staying at the Holiday Inn. "Hurley! Come and get me and take me to get some beer! This place has run out of beer. I cannot believe your stinking town! A little old town like this and they can't keep beer!" So, I came out. I pick up him and Dave. They had worked together doing a couple of other films. If I'm not mistaken, they were in the military together, or had passed in 'Nam or someplace. Anyway, they were talking old war stories. Neither one of them has a vehicle, because they're being driven everywhere that they need to go. We don't have any bars or anything. The one bar is at the Holiday Inn and they ran out of beer. Morganton! [laughs] No such thing as liquor by the drink, hard liquors anyway. "Well, we can go to Pizza Hut." They order two huge pizzas and I don't know how many pitchers of beer. I cannot stand the taste of beer. Alcohol. I don't know why in the world anybody'd want to pour turpentine down their throat. I'm sipping this stuff like I might be sipping some kind of unique wine or something. Just to make him happy, because he's like, "DRINK!" He's plastered. Dave is, too. They're talking back and forth about all kinds of philosophy and things that are about 100 feet over my head. I'm a hick! ... Glen Alpine connects to Morganton, and I was 18 years old before I ever got to Glen Alpine! [laughs] Honest! So anyway, they're telling me about all these places they've been ... Nobody's eating the pizza ... I remember one story ... Capt. Dye had this funny looking little thing. It was about two or three inches long, cylindrical, probably 3/8's to a half an inch in diameter. It slid apart and became two pieces. It had a little handle on either end. When you hit them together, they were chimes. I mean, very beautiful sounding chimes. You put them together, they go in your pocket. Looked like a water-proof match case. When he was in Cambodia, a very old, wise man met him. I guess he was working with the South Vietnamese. He was kind of like a guide. He gave them to Capt. Dye, who was frustrated with his squad, and said, "When you get frustrated, hit them together and listen to them." "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" He said, "Just LISTEN to them!" So, everytime he got frustrated, he'd pull these things out and listen to them, and he'd feel a lot better. Now, I seen him use these things quite often. Anyway, he took these things out, and he was telling the story to Dave ... The manager of Pizza Hut, about twenty minutes after one ... they had cleaned the entire place, all the chairs were up, we're still sitting there, and they're just talking away. I'm just kind of listening, back and forth. I'm sipping this beer, he keeps filling the darn thing up. I probably drank a half a glass, but I was sipping it, and every time it got a quarter of an inch low, he'd fill it back up. I don't know how many pitchers they went through. The manager comes over, very, very polite, "You know, we're closing now, you guys kind of need to go home." Capt. Dye was very nice. Would not accept any help in paying for the beer and pizza. Drops a twenty on the table. Very courteous. Very nice. Staggers to my truck. Gets in and I take him back. I have never, in my life, got a cussing like I did on the way home about our LITTLE town that he can't get beer in. I told him, that's not the way things work around here. You go buy half the grocery store out, you go sit on your front porch, spit tobacco, and drink your beer. [laughs] He could not grasp that concept at all.
MP: Have you had any contact with him since the movie?
EH: I talk with him about every Christmas. I try to give him a call every Christmas. Tell him what's happened. Tell him "Merry Christmas". He's never contacted me. He's always told me that if ... he was talking about doing a movie with Oliver Stone called Running Between The Raindrops ... it's about his experience in Beruit, his side of the story ... I haven't heard anything about it, but he had always told us that he wanted us back. He autographed the book ... now, he probably put it in all of them, I don't know ... it made me feel special. The words were, "To one of the best troopers that I've ever had. Dale Dye". He married an LA Raiders cheerleader, lucky dog. At the time, they had one daughter, about a year older than my son, Matthew, who's 8 now. I know The Last of the Mohicans took a lot of time out of his family [life]. You could tell when he was ready to go, he was ready to go. He missed his family, missed his little girl. The man did have a heart, you could tell that.
MP: I was going to ask you how you got selected to be Soldier #2, but you sort of answered that. It was by chance. It wasn't, "I want you to do this." It was "Who can still work?"
EH: Yeah, that's what it boiled down to. Now, Mawi told me that there were actually more than three who lifted their hands up, and that I was picked from those few. Maybe five or six actually had their hands up. At the one scene up at Linville, where we were supposed to walk into the cave, under the waterfall ... there is where the actual selection came. We did this little thing before the canoe scenes. Basically, he [Michael Mann] came up to us and said, "You die. You're injured. You live." Musgrove was just, "Gosh! I can't believe it! I'm dying!" Musgrove was a character. Very nice guy, but he could air his views! He did not hold anything back. [laughs] So, we find out where we are, who we are, and Musgrove ended up being Steven Waddington's stand in. They both have red hair so he was his stand-in in while we went back to Linville for the canoe scenes and those few scenes there. At that point, we knew where we were going to be in the canoes. Then we went to the lake. We do our lake scene. These canoes were half a mile long, three tons heavy. They were homemade, fiber glass canoes. Very heavy. No one else had ANY canoeing experience. I got chewed out for having my watch on. I forgot about it. Here I am canoeing and I've got my stupid watch on. Got chewed out big time for that. By that time, we knew who we were going to be in the script, so we're trying to rehearse our lines ... what lines we have ... The script man is over there with Michael Mann and a big magic marker ... there goes our heart right on the ground. There went the lines! We're on the canoes. We have a point which we're supposed to get to. Anybody who's ever had any experience on a lake, knows the wind blows. And, it never blows in the direction you want it to blow. These things have a big bow, big stern. The wind is catching these buggers, and we're just ALL over the place. We cannot keep them straight. Steve Waddington ... WHO in the name of God ever told him this, I could shoot him! ... "You paddle twice on the right and you paddle twice on the left! It will go straight!" Bull! If the wind is blowing from one direction, you have to compensate. Knowing this, I'm running the back, and I'm trying my best to keep this thing square and straight. I've got a point in which I'm looking and I can see this bow, so I'm trying to "aim" this "gun" to keep it going straight down the line. He's just a-paddlin' away, twice on this side, twice on that side. [laughs] We're bumping canoes. We've got these little motors on the back, and I was at the back, I was able to run it. It's got this little pedal on it. You push it up and the thing turns one way, you push it the other way, the thing turns the other way. They painted over these things so you can't see the direction finder. You've got to paddle, look over the water, figure out whether to move your foot back or not ... by the time you figure this out, the canoe is going way out of line ... it was a big, big headache. So finally, I gave up on the stupid thing. I look back there, I've got it straight, and I left it alone, didn't turn it on. It has a big fin on it. It'll act as a rudder. I was very upset with this thing. So by then, after darn near all the day had gone by, we figured out how to get these things going. We're continuing in one line. We don't back up and do it again. If we have to do the scene over again, we start from that point. There's a couple of pontoon boats pulling barges around, and that's where the cameras and so forth are on. We finally get the thing going somewhat straight and Eric Schweig is supposed to jump out of one canoe and climb into my canoe. Guy Musgrove gets shot. He's in my canoe. He's between me and Major Heyward. He gets shot and falls out the canoe.
MP: Which is not on film.
EH: No. Well, you can see an inkling of maybe his foot, or something, going over the side of it. [laughs] These things still are pretty easy to turn over. Any canoe, but these things ... a unique canoe! I wish I could take a sledge hammer to one! [laughs] So, he falls out ... anyway ... we're still doing this in and out thing, together/far apart thing ... Eric Schweig, he jumps out. I mean, we're BOOKING, we're flying. We've got this paddling thing down, we're going. As soon as Eric Schweig hits the water, the canoes are gone. There he is. So, we try it again. He gets back into his canoe, and we're paddling on down through there. He jumps out and the wind hits us at the wrong time. Phhoof! There we go. There he's left again. Well, last and final shot ... I don't know how many times we done this. Wait a minute, I'm sorry [laughs] ... there's one time in particular, the boats actually collide. Well, Eric gets smart, I'll be darned. He steps out of one right into the other! [laughs] THAT didn't work. NO! He's got to hit the water! ... Finally, the last shot, the canoes are about two or three feet apart, and he gets in. You see him jump in on one of those times when it's real far away that didn't work, but, then of course, they jump to him ... he and I changed positions. Now, if you can imagine, the canoe is probably two foot wide, and the size of me and Eric Schweig, we're pretty good size ... to pass in a moving canoe while Steve is still up there going twice on the right, twice on the left. It's unreal, we darn near turned the thing over once. So, we finally get this thing down where we're basically giving each other a great big hug as we go around and we get in position. The idea here being that he's the Indian and he's manuevered these canoes a lot more than the English have and knows how to operate them. So, he's going to get in the back and control where we're going. At one point in time, the wildlife ranger ... now, he's on the lake ... they had a bunch of different wildlife rangers on the lake keeping boats out of the way. Kind of maintaining some sort of civility in what's going on. And, he's watching this. "Heck, what's going on?" Rams Daniel Day-Lewis' canoe square in the side. He was actually turning. In the process, he was probably going a good ten to twenty miles per hour ... but, I mean, in that canoe, with all those big name superstars ... Daniel Day-Lewis absolutely gave this wildlife ranger ... I mean this ranger, he had to have crawled in a hole when he got home! He flat tore his butt up. Stood up in the canoe, right there in the middle of it, and gave him what for! I don't blame him. Here's the guy who supposed to know what the heck is going on on the lake, and he's the one hitting the canoe.
MP: During this time, you had a ...
MP: You know what I'm getting at. You had a stand-in for Russell Means at some point here.
EH: Uhm-uhm. Yeah, that's the skirmish.
MP: So, what happened?
EH: Let me just finish this day ... end of the day, we're three or four miles out. Everybody's starting to head home. Sun's coming down. They offer us a ride, myself, Curtis, and Musgrove ... we're in a canoe, kind of goofing off now. "No. We're going to play in the canoe a little bit. We'll catch the next boat." The boat never comes. We have to canoe all the way back to the landing. Well, we had that little motor, so finally we give up on canoes and kind of set back and take it easy. It took us an hour to get back to land. All these boats just passing us by ... Ok, anyway, to the morning hour ... We get on the lake. There's a little inlet, where the French campsite was set up. To the right of all of the other stuff, where the canoe launch was. We're going into this alcove, and it's supposed to appear that we're coming to the river. We're new with the canoes. We can't get them to go where Michael Mann wants them to go. He wants us to stay together, and we're not able to stay together. One of us is ahead of the other. We can't maintain our distance between each other. The operator of the barges, of course, is having his own problems, as well. Fighting both of us and maintaining somewhat of a wake control. In other words, the ripples in the water. He [Mann] was losing his temper quite easily. He blurts out, "Can you not ..", no, he looks at Russell ... I don't know if he meant to direct it at Russell Means, or if was just a general thing, but the words, pretty much, came out, "You are Indian! Do you not know how to run a canoe?" Russell Means just blows up. Starts giving Michael Mann down the road. Michael Mann shouts out to him, "F___ You!" Russell Means says, "F___ you, too! Take me to the shore!"
Advance to: THE WORLD OF SOLDIER #2 ... Part 4