- How did you get involved in EATERS OF THE DEAD/THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- I was walking past the casting place and they came out and grabbed me off the street! The truth, honest to God! I just happened to look like a Viking to them, I guess...
- And what did they tell you about this project when you were hired?
- Nothing at all, except that it was about Vikings.
- I know that you have an experience in location scouting for outdoor scenes...
- Yes. A local advertisement film for the tourist bureau (SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY) asked me about good places to shoot lake scenes. I'm a professional outdoor guide (fishing, sea kayaking, white water swimming, etc.) and someone else they had worked with told them to ask me.
- So, what did you do exactly on THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- Well, I did not do any location scouting for this film. I was only an extra, in the fight scenes, the fire and on the beach.
- I know that the production, at some point, envisaged to shoot some 2nd unit photography in Northern Russia! Do you think they finally did that?
- I don't think so. Some of the sailing scenes were shot near Vancouver, I believe. But Elk Bay was the main area here. It has an old log sort and is close to the water, as well as having open space for the Viking Village and trailers.
- Didn't they shoot in Elk Falls too?
- Yes. Elk Falls is also in Campbell River. It is a local park; there is large water fall in old growth forest.
- Weren't some locations environementally sensitive areas?
- To me, as a wilderness guide, every thing is environementally sensitive! This is a beautiful place and it deserves to be kept that way. But the movie people seemed aware of this, and efforts where made to clean up after the film was finished.
- When scouting locations for a movie, I assume you also have to make sure that the place is practical and accessible, right?
- Yes, and that is a big part of why they chose this area. It had the scenery they wanted (i.e. coastal forests), without being too inaccessible. Even so, the shooting of the Viking Village and beach scenes was done about 2 hours from town. So, days were long, with the drive out and back and makeup and all, 12 hours or more. Also, they needed enough room for all the trailers and personel, etc., and this needed to be close to where they were shooting. Stable weather helps too.
- Were you on set when that storm weakred havoc?
- Hmmmmm... I was only present for the last few weeks of filming, I must have missed that! They had wanted me from the start, but I was working on a fish boat and was not willing to start until after the fishing season ended...
- Several scenes involved the intensive use of fires and torches; they must have chosen the locations for these scenes very carefully...
- The area where the fires were shot was, in fact, the same area where all the Village scenes were shot: they simply burned it all down and filmed it as it went! Only one chance to get it right... (laughs) This area was an old clear cut that had not been replanted yet. It had been burnt over, before the film crew arrived, to clear the old logging slash. (This is common practice here, after clearcutting.) They actually spent a lot of time hydro-seeding the old roads, to green things up, before they filmed. They even went as far as to spray paint the burned stumps green so they would not show in the film! Finally, the area was left in better condition than it was when they started.
- What was your best challenge on THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- Me and another extra (Rusty) were the only people on the set with any experience rowing a boat with more than one person doing the rowing. (We are both ex-Navy sailors) So, we were pressed into service to train the long boats crew to row together in time with each other. We spent half a day practicing just rowing around. The filming of the rowing took only a very short time, and we rowed only a very short distance when the time finally came. But it was a real challenge to train a crew of beginners so quickly; normally, it takes a few days to train a rowing crew to work together properly!
- Did you work on scenes that were not included in the final cut?
- Yes, many! I worked about 11 days in total, and was in about half a dozen scenes, only 2 of which are in the film! (A beach scene and a long boat scene.) A lot of film was not used. For instance, there was intended to be a romantic interest between the star (Antonio Banderas) and the Viking queen. Or maybe it was a princess... At any rate, none of that made it into the final cut, as far as I saw. [Note: About these romantic scenes, I think William is rather referring to the cut scenes involving Ibn (Antonio Banderas) and Olga (Maria Bonnevie), the village girl... The romance with Queen Weilew (Diane Venora) was in fact supposed to be with Buliwyf (Vladimir Kulich).]
- Do you know why they finally changed the title of the movie, from EATERS OF THE DEAD to THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- I heard that Disney was afraid the title might turn some people off. It does sound like a horror movie. On the set, there was some talk about them wanting to get a PG rating. One scene depicting a decapitation was the point that I heard discussed. I don't know if that scene made it into the movie or not...
- And how did you feel about the finished/released version?
- Frankly, I was disappointed. It was much shorter than I expected and many good scenes were cut! The violence was toned down a lot. I think, in an effort to get a PG rating, they made the film duller than it might have been otherwise.
- Anything to add?
- It was a great experience, very interesting. I would love to do it again. The film people were very respectful of our environment. And the few actors that I did get to speak with were friendly and quite approachable...


Non disponible.



© 2002 - The John McTiernan Central