(Production Assistant)

- How did you get involved in THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- I was hired from a local pool of labour the production company listed, in the early part of summer.
- What did you know about this project when hired?
- I was told it would be a movie (in part) based on the novel "Eaters of the dead". But, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't track down one copy of that novel anywhere in town! It was such a hot commodity!
- When exactly and how long did you work on this project?
- I was employed as a production assistant locations person, for the entire month of August [1997]. A pretty lucrative month, too!
- Then, you will surely remember the storm...
- Yup! It blew down some huge trees onto the costume tent and picked up a tent at the log-sort, only to deposit it in several ripped and mangled pieces of few feet away. Pretty terrifying!
- What is the task of an "assistant dresser"?
- Glorified furniture mover, except that it wasn't my job for that moment.
- So, what was your job on THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- Mainly, traffic control and grunt work. Many long hours spent "looking busy". Basically, a lot of sweating and standing!
- Do you know if the filmmakers were concerned about some fidelity to the original Crichton's novel?
- The re-writes were happening daily toward the end of the month of August, about when the time Crichton got disgusted and took off.
- So there was a professional on-set dispute between producer Michael Crichton and director John McTiernan, right?
- Yes! They hated one another so much that they would undo each other's efforts just to piss the other guy off. And it worked! (too well)
- Do you know something about the Schwarzenegger's cameo rumour?
- Nope.
- Did you work on pieces (or shots, or scenes) that never made it in the final cut, or were barely seen?
- Yep. A nice scene where they burn down the sails of a viking ship. I stood underneath a huge tree fashioned out of styro. Pretty cool.
- What about additional photography?
- I heard there were some shots re-done, up in the Okanagan...
- Do you know why they finally changed the title of the movie, from EATERS OF THE DEAD to THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- The latter name sounds better, don't you think?
- Finally, what was your best challenge on this movie?
- Trying to keep busy! Sweeping a dusty logging road is a bit tedious...
- And how did you feel about the finished/released version?
- The not-so-steadi-cam shots actually gave me motion sickeness! Good flick, though.
- Anything to add? Any anecdote you would remember?
- There was one night, we were working late, it was about 1 or 2 a.m. and I had to stand by a huge burnt out husk of a lodge while watching the short people in bear suits run up and down the hill, doing passes along the breach. Several times, so the camera would see it, they had to toss all their flaming brands over the breach. That was the single best moment I've seen working in this industry! Very breathtaking!


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