“The Man Who Brought War to Hollywood” is the title of an in-depth Q&A article that appeared in the August 27 issue of The Atlantic. The man in question is Dale Dye, the former Marine who all but invented the art of true-to-life military technical advising.
Dye, a VVA member who received our Excellence in the Arts Award, most recently was in charge of the realism department on The Pacific, the justly acclaimed HBO miniseries produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. That series won eight Emmy Awards this year, including Best Miniseries and Best Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special.
In the article, writers John Meroney and Sean Coons correctly characterize Dye as “Hollywood’s go-to man when filmmakers want to make an authentic war picture. Moviegoers and TV viewers have seen Dye’s handiwork (and they might recognize him because of cameos in film and TV) but they have no idea who he really is.”
Since his pioneering technical advising on Platoon in 1986, they note, his “work revolutionized war films—the way they look, sound, and feel, giving them more authenticity and heft.”
Hanks, Dye, and Spielberg on the set of The Pacific
The rest of the article consists of Dye’s thoughtful and illuminating answers to questions dealing with, among other things, other films he worked on (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, The Last of the Mohicans, Forrest Gump, Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan and others) and Hollywood folks he’s worked with including Oliver Stone, Tom Hanks, and Steven Spielberg.
Dye had this to say, when asked what he considers his mission to be in Hollywood:
“To correct misperceptions about the military and celebrate the courage, devotion, and sacrifice of the men and women who’ve worn our uniform. Now, that doesn’t make me a Kool-Aid drinker or even a cheerleader. I served 22 years in the United States Marine Corps. I know when we screwed the pooch, and don’t mind talking about that.
That means if Oliver Stone wants to say, ‘Hey, you know, some of these draftees were smoking dope’—well, that was a fact, and I don’t mind showing it. I don’t think that kind of scene denigrates the people who served. But a director also has to show the other side of the picture in the same story.”
The on-line version contains an embedded video of a great scene in Private Ryan, in which Dye plays the colonel who advises Gen. George Marshall not to send Tom Hanks’s men after young Ryan.
Posted on September 22nd 2010 in Feature Films