What was the PH story that inspired him the most? “One of them sat down with me and said ‘look, I really want to see this movie. I’ve a bad heart, you got to get it finished quickly cause I’m not sure I’ll make it'”. He’s unsure if the guy is still around unfortunately.
Did he try to do something different with this compared to other WW2 movies? “Absolutely, I mean you know the pictures that were done about Pearl Harbor, the most famous being ‘Tora Tora Tora’, was more of a docudrama which didn’t have the fictional characters that we had in this picture. This picure was designed to be a love story, so that’s the difference we felt – something more attractive that we wanted to see, a love story between three characters and that was our point of view on it”.
One difference with the upcoming “Black Hawk Down” film adaptation from other Bruckheimer films is the lack of a uplifting third act to which Bruckheimer replies “the lifting of spirits is these guys getting out alive…a very bittersweet ending”. They’re currently over halfway filming and will finish, depending upon the fate of the actors strike, around late June/early July with everything in the film being shot in Morocco aside from some pickup shots. There’s a crew of around 500 over there at work.
Aside from the well publicised salary cuts, what else was done to bring the costs down? “We trimmed two sequences, the Battle of Britain was a bigger sequence and the Doolittle raid was a little more expansive so those were cut back – but we didn’t cut Pearl Harbor, you can check on it as we left Pearl Harbor intact”.
The original script was called “Tennessee” but they felt “Pearl Harbor” was more indicative – Randall Wallace is from Tennessee which is how it scored that name. Bruckheimer disagreed with Michael Bay over the lack of the Simpson/Bruckheimer logo in front of the movie.
There’s no mention of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki as “its not part of the story”. Also why choose the barely known Dolittle raid to end the movie? “It changed the course of the war which is really interesting because what happened is the Japanese had to move two carrier groups back to protect their homeland and that’s what allowed us to win Midway”. Doolittle also went on the mission with his crew in real life, whereas in 1944’s “Thirty Seconds over Tokyo” in which Spencer Tracy played Doolittle, he didn’t.
For a three week period Bruckheimer had three films shooting at once – “Black Hawk Down”, “Down & Under” and “Black Sheep”. A TV show their developing called “The Amazing Race” got picked up by CBS for 9pm Wednesday airings, whilst “C.S.I.” continues to do well.
Bruckheimer has been negotiating for almost a year on a big sci-fi project, the struggle mainly being getting the rights to it which has yet to happen (until they do he can’t say what though).