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Tattoo Tantalizers! ... Part 7

... the most asked for gallery in our existence!
... on to massacre valley ...

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

The fort was probably the closest we came to feeling "settled". Since we spent most of the month of August there, we didn't have to keep packing everything up. The process of securing everything to move was a real hassle, as we typically couldn't pack up everything until the day's shooting was over and we were really tired. Because of the transportation of the trailers through somevery rough, secluded areas we always ended up with the joy of opening up the trailer the next morning to see what got destroyed during the move. More often than not, it was just a box of ink bottle or brushes but we did have a tree limb smash a window out once. All in all, we hated moving, so we werepretty sad to have to leave the fort. That's not to say that the whole experience there was enjoyable. The first few weeks were marked by brutal heat, and later we experienced the "daily thunderstorm". Almost every day, around 4PM, we would get a torrential downpour that would last for about 15 minutes (just enough to turn the red clay ground into a slippery mess) than the sun would come out at make the humidity unbearable. All of this was nothing compared to the dreaded night-shooting schedule, though. In the middle of the week, we would switch to the night shooting, which meant that we showed up in base camp around 4PM and got to go home when the sun came up. The actual shooting wasn't so bad, but the frequent transitions back to the day schedule killed us. Imagine getting back to the motel room at 7AM on Saturday morning, sleeping until 3PM, going back to bed some time around 3-4AM, then having wake up "early" at 9AM Sunday morning so you would be tired enough to go to sleep at 9PM. I remember many nights lying in bed, trying to fall asleep because I knew that I had to wake up in a few hours. Trying go get yourself to sleep is like instant insomnia, and Monday mornings after a schedule transition were always pretty ugly. One of the last night shoots we did involved the famous "kiss" between Daniel and Madeleine on one of the raised cannon platforms. Out of consideration for the actors, only a small group of people were involved in the actual shoot,myself being one of them. I had mixed emotions watching the shooting progress; on one hand I felt pretty important to be one of the few artists permitted on the set, and on the other hand I felt like a complete pervert watching these two people make-out in the dark. In case anyone is wondering if anything more transpired that didn't make it past the cutting room, I can tell you that it was just a kiss... avery long kiss that was repeated over and over and over again from five different angles, but a kiss all the same.

This picturewas taken during an interior scene at the fort, and had pretty bad exposure. But I think it really captures the thrill of working on a major motion picture! BTW - The guys are make-up artists John Bayless and Jeff Goodwin.
The shooting location for Massacre Valley was in fact several locations.Watching the final film, the whole sequence is very disorienting for me because of all the various locations flashing on the screen. The majority of the scene (at least the part most people are familiar with) involves the column of Fort William Henry's occupants filing through a weed filled ravine with dense trees on either side. This was one of the few locations so far that had a base camp near "civilized" areas, in that we had to park our cars in a field and walk across traffic to get to the camp. The end of the tattoo tent was fairly close to the road, and I remember drivers slowing down and craning their necks to see what was going on. One of the more interesting challenges for the Massacre Valley shoot involved a stunt double for Wes. This guy (who was an extra, not a trained stuntman) volunteered to stand in for Wes during some of the fight scenes. He had to go through all of the same costume, make-up, hair and tattoo treatment as Wes, plus he had to wear prosthetic wax on his nose to make himlook more like Magua. He was really excited about having a greater involvement in the film... until he told his wife. Hearing the words "stunt-double" threw her into a panic, and she insisted that he turn down the job. He was pretty depressed about the whole situation. I'm not sure what ever happened, but since we only did his tattoos a couple times I can guess that he took the path of least resistance.

Wes's unutilized stunt-double.

Another thing about Massacre Valley that comes to mind is the scene with the big Abenaki getting whacked right before he can cut Alice's throat. We were hanging out by the set in case any touch-ups were needed, and one of the PAs told me that I was needed by the first camera unit. They were setting up the shot withJodhi and the Indian, and decided that they needed a "really big, tough looking guy" for the part, but the extra that they picked was made-up as a Mohawk or Huron. So after a quick hair session. I had to apply tattoos while the make-up crew waited on deck. Early on in the production, we were given historically researched sketches of tattoo patterns for the various tribes, and the Abenaki's (at least in the film) were characterized by ornate facial tattoos. The tattoo artists carefully recreated the designs asclose to the sketchesas possible, so thatwe felt as though the designs were historically accurate. So, here I was, standing there with all the first unit guys waiting for me to pull some original, ornate, semi-historically accurate tattoos out of my butt. My creative inspiration was the 2nd AD telling me "We're in a hurry here, but make something really cool cuz the camera's gonna be right in his face!". So, I'm going along like "Hmmm... a couple straight lines here... some wavy lines there... cool that looks like a river... now this sun shaped thingy right here..." When I was done, itlooked similar in style to the other Abenaki tattoos but with more detail. The 2nd AD said, "Oh, perfect dude! That's awesome!". Of all the tattoos I did (aside from Wes's head tattoos), that one is probably the most visible... and the least researched. So when people ask me if the tattoos were representative of actual Indian art, I say "Yeah! Sorta... kinda..."

PA Eddie Fickett chatting with the stunts guys in SFO make-up.

A lot of the close-ups for the Massacre Valley scene were shot behind an old hunting lodge by the fort. Second unit did most of the shooting with extras, which gave me the opportunity to get a bunch of cool action shots.

An Abenaki practicing with a British soldier.

Stunt coordinator Mickey Gilbert demonstrating proper fighting technique.

Cisco showing off his physique.

Daniel and Killdeer in the Valley.

Wes demonstrates how to hold a hatchet.

One of MANY takes of the Massacre Valley battle. Hours were spent choreographing all the individual fights.

This is probably one of the cooler picture I took all summer. This was a shot of stuntman Lance Gilbert taking a squib shot in the chest. You can see the globules of blood in midair, under his left arm. A squib is a small electrically detonated charge that's attached to a protective backing plate, and strapped to the actor's chest with a blood filled packet stretched over them. Normally they are hidden under the actors clothing, but for our purposes we had to put them under flesh colored body suits air-brushed to look natural. Russell Dodson painted most of the body suits.

Lance getting un-wired after the shot. UP NEXT: THE HURON VILLAGE  || BACK TO INDEX OF TATTOOS


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