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Tattoo Tantalizers! ... Part 6

... the most asked for gallery in our existence!
... the principal cast ...

Photos & text courtesy of Rick Martinko ... Tattoo Department, LOTM


MICHAEL MANN INTERVIEW I guess this is the part you've all been waiting for. So, I should probably dispel a popular myth about Hollywood film production (or at least on the set of 'The Last of the Mohicans'). The director doesn't wear a beret, sit in a canvas chair with his name on the back, and yell into a megaphone "Quiet on the set!". On Mohicans, Michael Mann wore t-shirts with cargo pants. I rarely saw him sit in a chair. And after he would spend quite a bit of time discussing a shot with Dante Spinotti (the Director of Photography), he'd turn and quietly say something to Michael Waxman (Assistant Director), who would spin around and yell at the top of his lungs "HEY!! SHUT THE F&#% UP!!!". In fact, afterthree and a half months on the set, I couldn't have recognized Michael's voice if I heard it, and I probably only spoke to him two or three times, That's not to say that he was unfriendly; he just had a lot of stuff on his mind and most of the things he wanted to have done fell on the shoulders of this production staff. The majority of the staff is made up of the hapless P.A.s (Production Assistants). There were probably about 10 of them involved in the project. They were the first one's there in the morning, and the last ones to go home at night. They had to be everywhere at once, carried a huge amount of responsibility and got paid next to nothing. In the Hollywood system, the P.A. position is where you get you're start, so people are more than willing to put up with all the garbage. The Mohicans P.A. put up with a lot. People like Eddie Fickett, Steve Davis, and John Kerr (plus a bunch of others I've forgotten) really made the project work, and I'd be negligent if I didn't give them credit. Hopefully, most of them are now filling the positions of A.D.s or Directors.

Discussing a shot at the Huron village.

Michael Mann thinks over the canoe chase.
Finally, the group that's at the top of the production food chain: the principle actors. I always mention to people that almost everyone in the film was very different from what they're like in person. For example, Steve Waddington, who comes across as an arrogant idiot in the film, is in reality a great guy and a lot of fun to hang around with. Even though I didn't work on him, my friend John Bayless was his make-up artist, so I ended up talking with him quite a bit. One of my best memories of Mohicans was during the final days of shooting at the warehouse/waterfalls set. I few days earlier, I'd taught Steve how to throw a spiral pass with a football (that's an American football, not a soccerball). I was cleaning out the tattoo trailer, when Steve pokes his head in and asks if I want to play catch. So there I was, tossing a football around with Steve Waddington, in his full British military uniform. A bunch of people took pictures of us, and although several promised to send me copies I never did get a picture.

Amused as his carriage runs over a hapless peasant...

Steve checking out my cool Front-Row Joe t-shirt.
Jodhi May was the exception to the rule. She was almost exactly like the character of Alice in person. She was very quiet and proper, and spent a lot of time talking with her make-up artist, Jane Royle. Of all the principle actor and actresses, Jodhi was the person with whom I had the least contact.

Jodhi at DuPont.

Getting a touch-up from Jane at the Huron village.
ERIC SCHWEIG: AN INTERVIEW On the other hand, Eric Schweig was about as far removed from the character of Uncas as possible. The quiet, shy Mohican warrior is in reality very loud, outgoing and pretty wild. His make-up artist, John Bayless, lived in constant fear that he was going to get in trouble some weekend, and show up on the set with a black-eye and a broken nose. Eric hit it off with RussellDodson (the head of the tattoo crew) and the two of them were constantly goofing around. So much so, that it was hard to get work done around him. A few times I got really annoyed by his obnoxious behavior (try painting a tattoo of the arm of someone who won't sit still and keeps yelling in your ear), but as soon as he realized that he'd gone too far he would apologize profusely. Overall, he was a great guy and a lot of fun to be around (assuming that you weren't trying to work on him), and when I saw the final release of the film, I couldn't get over how great he came across on screen.If you had to pick one person from the film to invite to a party, Eric's your guy!

Eric whipping sunflower seeds at me.

At Massacre Valley.

In the tattoo trailer.
I didn't get a chance to hang out around Madeleine too much, but from time I spent around her I got the impression that she didn't want to come off as unapproachable. She was very "down to earth" and used to say some things you wouldn't expect to hear from her. I think a lot of it was for shock value, intended to make people feel at ease around her. My girlfriend (now wife) and her family came down to visit for the week, and they hung out in the fort during a few of the night shoots. Later, my father-in-law was telling me that he spent quite a while talking to one of the actresses on the set, but he never got her name. Well, a year later when the film came out, as soon as he saw Madeleine on screen, he said "Hey! That's the actress I was talking to!". She also came to my rescue when the production photographer told a P.A. that he was going to have me fired if he caught me taking any more pictures on the set. At the time, I was putting together a photo album, and once a week Madeleine would borrow it and put Post-it notes with her initials on the pictures she wanted to have reprinted. So, she declared that I was her personal photographer, because she was sick of the production photographers that promise to send her snapshots after the project is over, but never do. Nobody bothered me about taking any pictures after that.

I've always really liked this picture of Madeleine.

Getting a touch-up from Jeff Goodwin.

Steve and Madeleine at DuPont

The evil production photographer (in the vest).
A LETTER FROM DANIEL DAY-LEWIS ... a Handwritten Note From Hawkeye Himself  Daniel Day Lewis was probably one of the hardest people to figure out. I worked with him practically every day, but I never really felt like I knew him. He was obviously very intelligent, and took every aspect of the project very seriously. So, the typical tattoo session would start with a "Hi. How's it going?", go to some small talk, then dead silence. He was always polite and personable, but you never felt comfortable cracking a joke or discussing the standard Hollywood gossip. There are two times I can think of where he was really animated and seemed to be having a good time. First was the time he bought a motorcycle when we were shooting at Massacre Valley. He couldn't stop talking about it, and everybody got a big kick out of seeing him zip around on it in his buckskin outfit.

The other time I saw him cut-loose was when we were at Chimney Rock. Everybody was getting into pulling practical jokes, and Daniel and his personal driver got into a prank war with Madeleine and her driver. He had the special effects make-up guys apply cuts and blood all over the two of them, then they hid in their car until it was time to leave. Apparently, the drivers had gotten into a habit of racing on the way home, and they got a little reckless at times. So Daniel and his driver took off and got a pretty big lead on the two women, then pulled the car off into the ditch and laid down by the side of the road, covered in stage blood. I'm not sure what the result was, because Daniel said that the women were pretty freaked out, but Madeleine insisted that they never believed it for a minute.

Discussing the canoe chase.

Taking a break at the Huron village.
Probably the nicest thing I can say about Russell is that he was extremely difficult to work around most of the time.

A rare picture of Russell smiling (sort of...)
MEETING MAGUA: A WES STUDI INTERVIEW Finally, Wes Studi was absolutely nothing like the character of Magua in person. Of all the principle actors, I spent the most time around Wes mainly due to the complexity of his tattoos. Never in all those long hours in the tattoo chair, did Wes ever complain or try to rush us. He was the one guy that Dwaine and I really looked forward to working on each day. He's very personable, has a great sense of humor and is patient beyond reason. My dad came down to visit in late August, and happened to stop by while I was touching up Wes's tattoos. My dad was star-struck and obviously nervous, so Wes started asking him questions like "Where are you from?How long are you staying?" etc. to break he ice. To this day, whenever my dad sees Wes in a film, he always has to say "I met him once, and he's nothing like that guy in the movie. He's just the nicest guy you'd ever want meet!". If I ever found out that Wes was working on a project in my area, I'd definitely take the time to stop by and say "Hi", because I thought of him as a good friend and most of my fondest memories from 'Mohicans' involve him. If you ever get him to come to a Mohicans Gathering, I'll be the first to sign up! [WEBMASTER'S NOTE: Missed it Rick, we did ... in 2001 WES STUDI AT THE GREAT MOHICAN GATHERING]

Wes donning the boxing gear at Chimney Rock.

Wes looking like a bad-ass at the fort/Massacre valley with second unit.
I hope these pics were what people were hoping for. UP NEXT: ON TO MASSACRE VALLEY  || BACK TO INDEX OF TATTOOS


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