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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Nothing is what it appears to be."
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November 10 2011

(SPOILER) US Army reservists discuss playing extras in The Avengers. Joss is given some quick kudos for taking their advice to lend some authenticity to a battle.

Very good article.

Although this paragraph could stand a bit of tweaking:

"The combat scenes had great realism," said Lt. Col. John Clearwater, deputy director for OCPA-LA. "It's a tribute to the U.S. Army Reserves and the veteran 391st MP Battalion. They rocked the streets of Cleveland with their 50-caliber machine guns and Mark-19's. The film crew was blown away by their firepower and teamwork."
Yes, put like that it sounds rather... fatal.
I was a part of this scene - the reservists were great and did really add to the feel of the scene while shooting.
Joss likes to keep audiences on their toes by the threat of beloved characters dying.
Maybe he decided the same technique would work on the film crew.
Some call it method acting.
That was a nice read. Glad that Joss has the humility to defer to military technical advisors on a project of this scale. One probably doesn't invite or welcome Michael Bay comparisons often, but if one were to get one and have it be an unambiguous compliment, knowing how to work with the public relations sectors of the US military for the improvement of your movie is what you'd want. I have relatives in the military who can get pulled completely out of a movie, even a sci-fi/fantasy like "The Avengers", when they see that the military aspect is "Hollywood crap", so they will be easier to sell on this movie now.
Crew and reservists must have had a blast. My hub used to go nuts when military stuff was wrong. His chair-arms took a real pounding. Thank you, Joss, on behalf of all civilian spouses, for going for accuracy.
Read it as it is, don't add anything to it.
I'm always a stickler for accuracy in the areas I know something about, so I applaud this. It sounds like the reservists enjoyed it. Happy Veterans' Day to all veterans.

Hollywood and the armed services have a long history of cooperating to put the military in a favorable light. I'm sure that wasn't JW's primary motivation, but it seem to have been the writer's. I'm glad we have an effective military, but that article has a high ratio of suck-up PR to reportage.

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