After more than 15 years, why is Band of Brothers still such a popular television series?
Looking back, after watching the series so many times, it seems the series was destined to be great. The actors made it look easy (pun intended) to tell the stories of the men they portrayed.
But as we all know, nothing this big was easy. A lot of people worked to make it happen. A new book is in the process to help uncover all that work.
A book of interviews with the cast and crew has begun to share stories from those involved with the series.
But not just the actors. The crew, on the other side of the camera, shared the passion of the actors. That is what helps make Band of Brothers a lasting force in the hearts of its fans.
Michael Cudlitz, who played “Bull” Randleman said;
“As much as we put our hearts and souls into it, there’s so much more that went into the series than just a group of actors.
The writers, the directors, the producers, everyone who really fell in love with the idea of telling these stories, telling the stories of these men in a respectful and truthful way.
I know we all try to put into words as we go, but the true scope of it, can’t be put into words.”
But at the start, Band of Brothers was not without controversy. When the BBC paid to acquire the UK rights for their viewers to watch, again, how, “the Yanks won the war,” it brought out some criticism.
But the British Prime Minister personally met with Spielberg and Hanks to ensure Band of Brothers was filmed in Britain.
Damian Lewis pointed out in a BBC interview, ”History doesn’t have much impact if you just issue a bunch of dates and military maneuvers. It is most effective when it features drama between real people, and when the real human cost is evident.”
HBO’s CEO, Chris Albrecht, considered the series a risky project for his company as it was attempting to differentiate the movie channel from its competitors. The gamble paid off.
Spielberg and Hanks’ vision for the series, no doubt, were strong driving forces in creating a series worthy of its $125 million price tag.
Spielberg said, “honoring” the veterans was the primary goal of Band of Brothers. Hanks stated they were on a “quest” for “authenticity.”
And the common theme of brotherhood brings you investing in, and caring for, the characters, as you share their journey from Toccoa to the Eagle’s Nest.
Still today, the DVD gets a boost in sales around Veteran’s Day and D-Day. It would seem that Tom Hanks’ prediction came true that, “great television can be something that lives on people’s shelves, much like classic literature.”
There’s plenty of neat stories in this behind-the-scenes book. Obviously, the actors’ personal admiration for the real-life men they portrayed was a genuine emotion they all spoke of.
There’s some funny stories like Cudlitz tricking the group at boot camp with his almost perfect Captain Dye impression.
And some serious stories too like when Frank John Hughes’ dedication to the role of Guarnere ran afoul of the weapons armorer who felt Frank was damaging his Thompson machine gun. And find out who ran the obstacle course at boot camp, by far, faster than anyone else.
Fans will enjoy hearing these stories from the set for the first time ever. Some of the actors have never given interviews about their time in the series, until this book. It will bring a fuller experience next time you watch the show and just might bring out some details you never noticed.
Stay tuned to War History Online for more updates as the book progresses or follow updates on Facebook at Doc Roe Publishing or Twitter @DocRoePBG
If you were involved in Band of Brothers and have any stories to share, please contact us or contact Chris on his Facebook page!
By authors Chris Langlois, a Doc Roe grandson and Ross Owen. All pictures provided by Chris Langlois.