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Band of Brothers (TV Mini-Series 2001) Poster

(2001 TV Mini-Series)

Trivia

By the third episode of shooting, the special effects department had used more pyrotechnics than were used in the entire production of Saving Private Ryan (1998).
Despite what was suggested in the third episode, Pvt. Albert Blithe did not die in 1948. Fellow Easy Company Currahee veterans had thought that Blithe did not recover from his neck wound and had died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1948. He in fact recovered and served several tours in Korea and Taiwan. He died in 1967; due to kidney failure.
Almost all the main actors were cast because of their close physical resemblance to the real-life soldiers they were portraying.
At the time, with a budget of $104 million, this was the most expensive television drama ever made.
Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Stephen Ambrose showed each of the scripts around to real-life soldiers of Easy Company to guarantee authenticity.
The actors endured a grueling ten day boot camp where they learned the basics, from how to wear a uniform and stand at attention, to sophisticated field tactics and parachute jump training. The average day was 16 hours long, beginning at 5:00 a.m., rain or shine, with strenuous calisthenics and a three-to-five-mile run, followed by hours of tactical training, including weapons handling and jump preparation.
During the actors' ten day "Basic Training" they were required to stay in character at all times. The only exception was the "Officers" were treated just as poorly as the "Enlisted" by the training cadre.
A heavy day of filming required up to 14,000 rounds of ammunition
The forest set, recreating the Bois Jacques in Bastogne, was built in an airplane hangar using real trees, as well as 250 trees created by the special effects department.
All of the insignia are either originals or exact replicas, down to an identical stitch count on the "screaming eagle" patch, and "wings" pins cast from original molds.
A large portion of the American soldiers portrayed throughout the series are played British actors.
During the liberation of Eindhoven in episode 4, the real Pvt. Edward "Babe" Heffron can be seen in one of the shots. He is sitting down and waving a Kingdom of the Netherlands flag.
In "Day Of Days" when the company first attacks the German gun position at Brecourt, there appears to be some kind of cinematic error when it looks as though an American soldier throws a grenade and it explodes upon hitting a fleeing German soldier. Grenades don't explode on contact; they have timed fuses. However, this actually happened: 'Buck Compton' had been an All-American catcher for UCLA and threw that grenade at the enemy with no arc and it exploded as soon as it struck.
"Currahee" is the American aboriginal Cherokee Indian equivalent for "Stands Alone". The original members of the 506th were trained at Currahee Mountain Georgia. "Currahee" was the cry of the 506th paratroopers as they cleared the door on their first jump, and it continued to be their cry when in combat.
Joe Liebgott (portrayed by Ross McCall) is portrayed as a Jew in the miniseries, and based on his name, appearance, and utter hatred of the Germans his fellow members of E Company all believed that he was Jewish, but in reality, Liebgott was a Roman Catholic, the son of Austrian immigrants. He was apparently aware that his fellow troopers assumed he was Jewish but never bothered to correct them as he found it amusing.
The 10-part miniseries features 500 speaking roles.
Damian Lewis showed up for his audition with a really bad hangover, having been partying heavily the night before and only having three hours sleep.
All of the 1,200 civilian costumes were authentic vintage clothing.
Although historian Stephen Ambrose who wrote the book was not involved in the production of the series he was enormously impressed with it.
In 2003, this became the top-selling TV-on-DVD series, generating $109 million in sales.
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair personally met Steven Spielberg to request that the series be filmed in the UK. In return Spielberg gave Blair's son, 'Euan Blair (I)', a job as a runner in the production.
Several innovations involved the use and firing of squibs, the small charges that cause the bullet holes in costumes and sets. The special effects team came up with a firing mechanism using compressed air, instead of the traditional pyrotechnics, so that actors could be much closer together when a squib went off without the dangers inherent in conventional squibs. They also invented a new firing system, whereby an actor was pre-wired with up to eight hits, controlled by a button he activated that was hidden in the sleeve of his costume.
The BBC - despite being a co-funder of the series - still had to pay $22.7 million for the broadcast rights. Surprisingly, the channel chose not to show it on its mainstream channel, BBC1, but on its more culturally-oriented BBC2.
The series was screened at Fort Cambell, KY in Aug 2001 to members of the 101st Airborne Division just a few weeks before the attacks of 9/11. Several characters from the film, and the actors who portrayed them met with the currently serving Screaming Eagles, including Bill Guarnere, Carwood Lipton, and Don Malarkey. Bill Guarnere even danced the Jitterbug despite only having one leg. 18 months later, the 101st deployed and participated in the invasion of Iraq.
3 years in the making.
Mark Wahlberg was originally set to play Major Richard Winters.
David Schwimmer ended up on crutches when he injured his leg during boot camp training.
One-third of a million pounds of recycled paper were used to create the snow for the forest set - the largest ever used in a production - and it took four weeks to dress the entire set. The total budget for the miniseries was $120,000,000. Of that, construction costs were $17,000,000.
The black and white "Invasion stripes" on the wings of the C-47 in the scene where the soldiers are entering the plane, are wavy and sloppily painted. This is accurate. The word went down to all allied air units on June 4th to paint broad stripes on the planes, for recognition. Maintenance personnel used paint brushes, many of them purchased from English retailers, to paint the stripes on thousands of planes, literally overnight.
The wardrobe department hired the Corcoran Boot Co. to manufacture 500 pairs of paratrooper jump boots to the original Army specifications.
One important special effects innovation was the use of human dummies on electromagnetic bases, which could be posed in any position, holding weapons and gear.
The dummies were modeled after auto crash test dummies, so they had the proper weight and dimensions, and their joints behaved like human joints. When the dummy took a hit, the electromagnet was released and the dummy crumpled as a human would.
The site of the actual Camp Toccoa is now partly occupied by an industrial plant near the highway above Toccoa, Georgia, with the remaining areas now overgrown by a pine forest. A flagpole and monument are located by the highway at what was once the camp's main gate. Locations of former camp streets are denoted by street signs named for personnel and terminology of the paratroops (Currahee Street, for instance) but have a tendency to disappear to souvenir hunters. The winding trail up Mount Currahee is named for Colonel Sink. It is accessible but the last few hundred feet are extremely rough and part of it passes over a bare rock outcropping. Not recommended driving for low-slung vehicles. Communications antennas surmount the crest of Currahee.
The title of the series (and of Stephen Ambrose's book) is from William Shakespeare's "Henry V": "This story[of the battle] shall the good man teach his son, And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by From this day to the ending of the world But we in it shall be remembered We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition."
The hard shock that many of the paratroopers spoke of when they jumped at Normandy - causing them to lose their leg bags, helmets, and other equipment - was caused by the parachute the troopers were using (not the type shown in the film). That parachute was called a T-1, and as it deployed out of its pack the canopy came out first, then the suspension lines and finally the risers connected to the harness. With this design, by the time all of the lines are fully deployed the canopy has completely filled with air, acting as a brake for the lines, causing the paratrooper to come to an abrupt stop at the end of the deployment. The heavier the paratrooper and the more equipment he was carrying, the more sudden the stop or shock. Current design parachutes deploy in the completely opposite way (lines first, then canopy), greatly reducing the opening shock. On D-Day, not only were the leg bags a new "innovation" that the paratroopers hadn't practiced with, but frequently the aircraft were flying much faster than expected (to avoid flak) and the shock of opening was, therefore, increased.
The Hatfield Aerodrome in Hertfordshire, previously host to part of the Saving Private Ryan (1998) shoot, became the principal location, and sets of the English, Dutch and French sites, including a river and massive dikes, were created there.
The art department reconstructed four World War II-era tanks, using the frames of Soviet T-34 tanks from WW II and British Army Personnel Carriers as the foundations.
Captain Dale Dye (USMC Ret.), the series military advisor, also had a main supporting role as Colonel Robert F. Sink.
The village (Carentan), which became 11 different European cities and villages, was 12 acres - the size of nine American football fields.
More than 2,000 extras worked on the miniseries during the course of production
Around 700 authentic weapons and almost 400 rubber prop weapons were used in production
Ranked #41 on Empire magazine's 50 Greatest TV Shows Of All Time (2008).
David Schwimmer portrays Capt. Herbert M. Sobel, and filmed his scenes while on hiatus from Friends (1994). In that TV series, his on-screen father is portrayed by Elliott Gould, who in A Bridge Too Far (1977) portrayed Col. Stout, a character based on Col. Robert F. Sink, and Sobel's direct superior officer.
Five kitchens ran simultaneously to feed the concurrent film units.
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Fifty "special ability" extras worked throughout the course of the production. These extras were trained in weapons handling and served as both German and British soldiers.
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In the series, Joe Liebgott (Ross McCall) states that he wants to go home after the war and run a taxi service. In real life, Liebgott was a barber by trade. This is reflected in the first episode's opening montage of the paratroopers getting ready for the D-Day jump, where Liebgott can be briefly seen shaving another soldier's head.
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Although the show centers on a well known US army battalion, a majority of the actors featured throughout the series are actually from the UK.
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Hatfield offered 1,000 acres of open space as well as empty airplane hangars - perfect for indoor sets and construction needs - as well as office space.
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The backlot measured 1100 acres.
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The white "PT gear" (physical training) tee-shirts worn in the first episode and seen again in the closing scenes of the last episode with the parachutist and the legend "U.S. Paratroops - Camp Toccoa, GA". are exact reproductions of the ones worn during training. The Stephens County museum in Toccoa has an original on display as well as uniforms, Normandy maps, and other Airborne exhibits. The originals were printed with black ink, while reproductions sold at the museum as a fund-raiser are in a very dark blue and have a small copyright legend at the bottom right of the design.
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The post library at Ft. Campbell, KY, current home of the 101st Airborne Division, is named after Colonel Robert F. Sink
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2,000 German and American uniforms were purchased or manufactured.
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Seth Rogen auditioned for a role.
There were two soundstages, measuring 50,000 square feet each.
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The series was previewed for the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University several weeks prior to its air date.
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David Nutter and Tony To are the only directors who repeated behind the camera on The Pacific (2010).
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