Jarhead (2005) Poster



Jake Gyllenhaal and Chris Cooper first worked together on October Sky (1999), although they only share one scene in this film.
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John Krasinski wrote all of his dialogue.
The Marines watch Apocalypse Now (1979), which was edited by Jarhead editor Walter Murch.
The burning oil wells were all computer generated. The oil that appears on the soldiers' faces was a concoction made from molasses.
The sex video breakup scene is actually a well-known urban legend that has been circulating in the American military since the late 1980s, and actually does happen.
In the scene where Swofford is burning the latrines, the bucket contained real human and dog feces to make Jake Gyllenhaal's reaction realistic.
Jake Gyllenhaal was convinced he had blown his audition, especially after several months passed and he hadn't heard back from Sam Mendes. An impassioned message Gyllenhaal left on Mendes's voicemail swung the decision in his favor.
The scorpions used in the scorpion fight scene were CGI, but the one Laz Alonso's character holds for a brief moment is real.
The actors all went through a four-day boot camp at George Air Force Base.
The interviews with the grunts were all improvised. Lucas Black was particularly uncomfortable with this, as he preferred to work off a script.
Jake Gyllenhaal's nosebleed during the prank branding scene was digitally added in post-production.
At the time of filming, Peter Sarsgaard was not yet Jake Gyllenhaal's brother-in-law. Sarsgaard first started dating Jake's sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal, in 2002. The couple got engaged in 2006, the same year they had a daughter and were finally married in 2009.
Filmed in the Imperial Valley in Southern California, which features conditions very similar to Iraq. Marines did use one of the local towns, Brawley, for training purposes due to similarities to Iraq.
Filming lasted five months - which is the same length of time that the soldiers in the film spent in the desert.
When Swofford is ordered to clean the latrines, one of the receptacles has the words "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." This is a famous line from 14th century poet Dante Alighieri's "Inferno", and is the inscription above the gate of Hell as the poet walks through it. The symbolism is that whoever is cleaning the latrine is going through "hell", as it was one of the worst duties for a soldier to have to do.
The desert locations were scouted in the summer months. When filming actually began, it was in the winter after rain, so vegetation had sprung up on what was supposed to be barren land. All of this had to be removed, often digitally.
Iván Fenyö, a Hungarian actor who plays a minor role in this movie, included an easter egg message to his country. When the Marines are setting up their tent, he's seen in the background applying a Hungarian national flag as a decoration.
The word "fuck" and its variants are used 278 times in this film (38 times with the prefix "mother").
Jake Gyllenhaal's toilet masturbation scene was the last one filmed for the movie.
The PB pills the Marines are issued are pyridostigmine bromide pills. They were designed to increase the effects of the atropine and oxime postexposure antidote that is self-administered to reduce the chances of dying from nerve agents such as soman.
A great deal of the dialog is improvised. This was a deliberate choice on the part of Sam Mendes to be a little more organic after the stylization of Road to Perdition (2002).
Sam Rockwell had one scene ("Payback") playing Swoff's uncle Walt, a Marine who served in the Vietnam war and who encourages the young Swoff to join the force but that scene was deleted from the film. It can be found on the DVD and some online sources.
All of the sex scenes were shot the same day, leading Sam Mendes to comment, "It's so nice to have sex today after all this war and death."
Some desert scenes were shot on a Universal sound stage with lights doubling as burning oil wells. The lights were later replaced with burning wells courtesy of ILM.
Shot almost entirely in sequence.
The original screenplay contained a more pointed political stance which Sam Mendes stripped out.
Staff Sgt. Sykes originally had a tattoo of a panther on the back of his shaved head. Jamie Foxx sported it during his award sweeps for Ray (2004). The tattoo was eventually digitally removed in post-production because director Sam Mendes felt it made the character too "hard core."
Christian Bale, Emile Hirsch, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Shane West, Josh Hartnett and Joshua Jackson were all considered for the role of Swoff. Jake Gyllenhaal would eventually be considered for the part of Bruce Wayne/Batman this same year which would eventually be established by Christian Bale.
One of the pictures on the "Wall of Shame" (just left of center) is of porn performer Kitty.
After hearing how effectively "Jesus Walks" by Kanye West played over the trailer, Sam Mendes was very keen to include the track in the film as well.
Shot on 35mm film, which Walter Murch then cut using Final Cut Pro.
Scenes filmed in the Imperial Valley had the mountains in the background digitally removed. Additional desert scenes were filmed in Mexico.
Most of Swofford's "anecdotes" are based on urban legends of the Marine Corps. He has made his unit the basis for "Did you hear about that guy who..." for most USMC legends.
This marks the second time Chris Cooper plays a military role in a Sam Mendes movie. He previously played the retired Colonel Frank Fitts in American Beauty (1999).
Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire originally vied for the lead role in the film. Tobey Maguire would later star alongside Jake Gyllenhaal in Brothers (2009). Ironically he plays a Marine in that film.
Cinematographer Roger Deakins operated the Steadicam himself in many scenes.
Sam Mendes rehearsed the film with his cast for 4 weeks.
While listed in the credits as Swoff's sister, Jake Gyllenhaal's character refers to her as Rini, which is in fact the real name of the actress who played the sister.
Producers Lucy Fisher and Douglas Wick optioned Anthony Swofford's book even before it hit the streets.
Michael Keaton, Kurt Russell, and Gary Oldman were all considered for the role of Lt. Col. Kazinski.
Sam Mendes's first film without cinematographer Conrad L. Hall, who died in 2002.
According to Iván Fenyö, almost 70% of his performance was cut out. Two months before the release of the movie, the director phoned Ivan and told him the studio didn't want most of the lines he had in the movie. According to the actor, some of his cut lines were about his character's observations as an East-European about democracy and the Gulf War.
Brian Geraghty would later appear in The Hurt Locker (2008), another Iraq war-themed movie.
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All Marines are taught to think of each other as brothers. Since the production of Jarhead wrapped, Jake Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard have actually become brothers in the real world, with the marriage of Peter Sarsgaard to Gyllenhaal's sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Screenwriter William Broyles Jr. identified in particular with Anthony Swofford's book as a former soldier who also had a son in the armed forces.
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The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Chris Cooper and Jamie Foxx; and one Oscar nominee: Jake Gyllenhaal.
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Travis Aaron Wade was considered and read for the role of Troy.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Jake Gyllenhaal's audition scene was the one where he points a rifle into the face of one of his comrades and has a mini-breakdown. When filming the real scene, Gyllenhaal knocked out one of his own teeth when he turned the gun on himself, as well as hugely upsetting co-star Brian Geraghty, who felt that Gyllenhaal had effectively brutalized him. This led to the later scene in the film where Swofford apologizes to Fergus, a scene that wasn't in the original screenplay. The scene helped smooth over the tense relations between the two actors.
Troy's manner of death is not mentioned in the film. In the book, he was killed in a car accident.

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