The Patriot 1



The Making of "The Patriot"
(7 Thrilling Pages)

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At The Movies

Front Page

Mel Gibson's horror is apparent, as Valet Number 2 steals another scene from the megastar.

June 10th 2000 The Press Kit
  My press kit for "The Patriot" arrived today. I called Columbia Pictures and asked for it just as if I was a real press person. I tried to explain to the woman on the phone that I was actually in the movie, but she didn't seem to care.
   "Just what is it you want , sir?"
   "Well, photos and things."
   "You mean a press kit?"
   "Uh… yes. Do you have any photos with me in them? I was Lord Cornwallis' valet…"
   "Just give me your address, sir. We'll send you a press kit."
   Actually, I was Valet Number 2 (a far more important role than Valet Number 1, as it happens) and I was a little disappointed to find that this press kit thing doesn't mention me at all. It's all about Mel Gibson. It is useful in one sense, however. It tells you what the movie is actually about, something of which four days in the company of the director and stars left me in possession of only the haziest notion.
   Of course, the haziest notion in a Mel Gibson historical drama is surprisingly adequate. I pretty much guessed the plot of "The Patriot" before I turned up on the set. Mel is a reluctant hero, drawn into the conflict of the Revolutionary War by the unspeakable beastliness of the British. I guessed they killed his wife. Turns out it's his son. Same thing. Anyway, he molds an ill-disciplined bunch of farmers into a potent fighting force and …. Well you can pretty much guess the rest. This doesn't make it a bad film. There are only so many plots out there - it's how you handle them that counts and, from what I saw during my brief brush with stardom, "The Patriot" might be a rather good yarn. So go see it.

Wednesday, September 27th 1999 The Phone Call 
   I was very surprised when Columbia pictures called. It's been over two months since I stood in line for three hours in the blazing heat outside Winthrop College in Rock Hill. All this to hand in my photograph and social security number in the hope of being an extra in this new movie they're shooting in South Carolina. And now, Shirley Crumley, the Casting Director is on the line wanting me to come down that very afternoon and get fitted up for a costume. Yeah right! I've got a business to run! As if I can drop everything at a moment's notice just to be in a movie. I do of course.
   The production office is in an empty building in a mall in Rock Hill. In retrospect, I think my mistake was to go in there without a large sign saying "Not a Movie Person. Haven't Got a Clue. Please Help."  Everyone assumes I know what they are talking about. From the chaotic atmosphere, I seriously doubt whether they do. Most of the kids sitting at makeshift desks trying to sound important on the phones are, I gather, students. I am handed a little bit of paper with "Valet Number 2" and a number written on it. I am now part of the cast. I am also given a map with directions towards what seems to be a cow pasture and told to be there at 6 in the morning.
   My costume is in the "sissy Redcoat" style. I get to wear a soldier's coat and britches but instead of boots, I have silk stockings and shoes with silver buckles on them. I'm sure all the other Redcoats will laugh at me. I also have a powdered wig, which makes me look like a cross between George Washington and my Granny. There is only one person who could possibly look stupider than me, and that's Valet Number 1.

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