Chapter 24 – Arduous
“The Pacific” officially started filming, and the entire crew was like a sophisticated machine operating together.
But after the first week of shooting, Renly on the contrary, was quite free. After Eugene’s appearance in the first episode, he doesn’t appear in the second and third episodes, and in the fourth episode, he only appears for a while, until the fifth episode, when Eugene will join the Pacific War in full swing as a new recruit and enter a long and arduous battle.
For nearly a month and a half, Renly was free of work duties, simply moving around with the crew. This gave Renly his first experience of the true meaning of filmmaking: “Filmmaking is waiting”, a phrase that came from James, who plays Robert Leckie.
During the shooting process, most of the time was actually spent waiting, even for the main characters. Not only because the set and preparation of each scene takes a lot of time, but each scene needs to be divided into sub-camera shooting, different actors, different angles, different distances, it takes seven or eight times for a scene to be shot without mistakes.
So, waiting is a must for every actor, and this is a far cry from what Renly imagined life on the set would be like.
In fact, during the time Renly was not working, he could have taken a vacation, and although the entire cast was in Australia, he could have gone to the Gold Coast and back if he wanted. But after some consideration – and Renly had really considered this option – he decided to stay for one simple reason: “The Pacific”.
This set of episodes was very special, covering a time span of more than two years, and truly depicted the U.S. Army surrounding the Japanese in the Pacific, experiencing numerous battles of life and death, both large and small, and it can be said that the impact of each encounter on the soldiers was immeasurable with each night and each encounter.
Renly could have chosen to go on vacation, but he would have been removed from the real sense of the entire battlefield, and the time span break would have had an impact on his acting. Originally, he lived in the peaceful era, his understanding of the war all came from images and words, and he was never able to truly feel the indelible impact of war on the soldiers, so if he were to be lazy now, there would be no point in becoming an actor, would there?
Not only did Renly choose to stay on the set, but he went through the grueling shoot with the rest of the cast, coming in and out of the wind and rain to really feel the trials that each battle brought.
For example, two weeks ago, Renly, Jon Seda, James Badge Dale and other actors lay in the mud in the pouring rain for a full forty-nine hours without sleep, and the shower was even more of a luxury. That kind of test that one still has to work hard even in the limit of his physical strength can’t be experienced just by using imagination; that kind of fear that one’s life is hanging by a thread after being exhausted is impossible to grasp just by listening to the explanation of others.
The added bonus is that Renly actually made a lot of friends on the set, and the experience of sharing the same hardships made it easy for them to connect, which is indeed the quickest and most effective way for Renly, who is a newcomer, to integrate into the cast. At the same time, it also makes Richard’s group of people isolated and ostracized without them being able to realize that.
As September grew to a close, Renly finally went into battle again, because Eugene officially entered the battlefield, which also meant he was no longer a sidekick, but will gradually took over the role of Robert Leckie in the first part, and grow into a whole series protagonist, shouldering the weight of the main role.
In the blink of an eye, the “The Pacific” crew has been shooting for more than four months, they just arrived in Australia when it was still winter, but now it’s already summer. If nothing surprising happens, they will spend their first Christmas in summer.
“Everyone take cover, we’ve just set the blast range, don’t go over the range line, again, don’t go over the range line! Find cover ahead of time and then follow the route!”
Special effects team leader holding a speaker loudly shouted warning them, actually in the past four months, they have experienced large and small explosions in double digits, so cast members were not unfamiliar with it.
However, the scene to be shot today is rather special, because it is in an open field, although there are many ruined bunkers nearby, the content of the scene is that the army was stuck in the middle of the field, in complete openness, as they suffered from explosions – from the friendly air raids, because of the timing of the intelligence error, resulting in friendly forces executing a devastating air raid, which turned into a disaster.
Because it is an open space, the explosion control becomes more difficult to do, and especially since the actors must also cross the square during the explosion, the special effects team is also on standby, in order to film this scene, the scene has been rehearsed and calculated for five days prior and after.
“Rookie, rookie.” James’ teasing voice came to his ears, a nickname that has followed Renly since the first day, even though all the actors in the cast have praised Renly’s acting skills. However, the nickname also means that Renly was truly accepted by everyone.
Renly was finishing his shoulder straps, he was a mortarman, the mortar on his back is his weapon, accompanied by the entire shooting process, but today there is an extra rifle in his hands, so he needs to adjust his posture, without even looking back, Renly replied, “Don Juan, have a quick fart.” “Don Juan” is James’ nickname, the self-proclaimed romantic.
“I bet you Big Eyes is going to fall down later on.” James’ words immediately caused “Big Eyes” Rami to grumble in displeasure, “Hey! I’m not that clumsy, okay? I can guarantee that I will not have a problem today!”
Holding his rifle, Renly looked around and confirmed his route of advance and said, “Don Juan, I bet you Big Eyes is going to get hit right in the head with a clod of dirt!” Traversing amidst the explosions, although none of them would be hurt, being hit by the blasts was inevitable, as it is necessary to do for the sake of realism.
“Rookie!” Rami yelled defiantly, but could do nothing about James and Renly, and could only clench his fist in frustration, “I definitely won’t!”
James and Renly ignored Rami’s confidence, discussing whether they could finish the scene in three days, and Rami was left alone beside them, causing the other actors to giggle. Then came the voice of the set manager in their ears, “All divisions prepare.”
Renly broke off the conversation, slowing down the rhythm of his breathing and becoming highly concentrated to get into the flow of shooting again.
After hearing the sound of the explosion, Eugene bent over and ran in accordance with the established route, the dust flying in the sky blurred his vision, every now and then he could feel the clods of earth hitting his body, the sound of intense gunfire came to his ears, and the rubble under his feet was splashed with a whole row of bullet holes – apparently the aerial attack was underway intensively, and this forced him to start looking for a cover for the time being to escape the situation, the airtight attack made him seem like he was dancing wildly on the tip of a knife, a single oversight could end in his death.
But he had no time to think about the threat of death, his brain was blurred with the sounds of alarm bell warnings, every cell in his body could feel the uncertainty and fear, but this made his footsteps steadier and calmer, and he came out of the shelter again and crawled forward, the beating of his heart and the rhythm of his breathing at this moment had lost its meaning.
The sound of explosions and gunfire suddenly stopped, David’s voice echoed over the entire open field through the speakers, “Get in place, everyone, get in place, next shot is Robert going back, camera crew change angles, actors get in place!”
Renly’s shoulders relaxed slightly, in fact, relatively speaking, the shooting of the war scenes is easier, because in the rain of bullets, the acting doesn’t require subtlety and depth, but the authenticity, relying on your body’s instincts and ability to work with the props, special effects team, camera crew, and that is enough. The real difficulty is that after the battle, the settling of the scenes, in “The Pacific” is different from the “Band of Brothers” portion, there is a lot of psychological portrayal and character exploration, which puts a higher demand on both the actors and the director.
“Ah!” A scream suddenly shot through the noise, sliding shrilly across the sky, everyone looked in unison toward the source of the sound, and then Renly saw a distance of no more than five feet away, Rami’s entire body crawling painfully on the ground, hands over his mouth, looking as if he was injured.
“Merriell down, Merriell down!” Renly immediately raised his voice and shouted, calling out with the name of Rami’s character in the drama, while quickly running over, “Man, are you okay?” Although the magnitude of the explosion was carefully calculated, but accidental injuries were unavoidable, and everyone had more or less some small injuries.
Rami raised his feet hard against the floor, splattering a patch of dirt, but he remained silent.
Renly looked him up and down, at least no blood was seen, which was a good sign. Then, Renly saw that Rami had been scowling at him, and Renly was puzzled, “What’s wrong? Did you get injured, or did you just fall down by accident?”
Rami’s expression became increasingly anxious, loosening his hands and stifling a small groan, but clenching his teeth he said, “I’m fine, I’m fine, don’t let anyone come over, please don’t ……”
There was too little information for Renly to grasp Rami’s point, “Let’s have the doctor come over and check it out.” Before he could finish his comment, the crew and other actors and actresses came running over, asking about the situation with concern. Renly could only look up and explain, “I don’t understand the situation either, Rami suddenly fell down and then cried out in pain, let the medical staff come over and check it out.”
James crouched down beside Renly and asked with concern, “Rami, are you okay?” Usually making jokes with each other is in itself a sign of close relationship, so when they encounter a serious problem, they get more anxious than anyone else.
Renly frowned, just last month, he dislocated his arm and sprained his ankle, although neither was a major problem, but because of the arm problem he took two days off. Looking at Rami’s situation now, it was not good, he had been lying on the ground, and as these few minutes passed, he did not turn over, much less stand up, it seemed very serious.
Once again scanning the situation, Renly tried to see if it was a trauma or something else…… Then, Renly saw a strange little detail – what was that, stuck in the flesh of Rami’s ass, it looked as if it was a branch?