Brad Pitt film sparked fury by Filming Nazi battle scenes on Poppy Day

Brad Pitt film sparked fury by Filming Nazi battle scenes on Poppy Day

Photo story (Clockwise from top left): (1) US film director David Ayer (2) Brad Pitt on the Set of Fury (3) Shia LaBeouf on the Set of Fury (4) M4 Sherman tank and five soldiers in Brad Pitt film ‘Fury’ (5) One of the first images of the film came from David Ayer’s twitter account (6) The extras dressed as Nazi soldiers on the set of ‘Fury’ on Remembrance Sunday.

Poppy Day or Remembrance Day or Armistice Day is one of the most revered Memorial Day observed in the Commonwealth countries to commemorate the WWI armistice and remember the soldiers who have died for their country. It is observed on 11th November as the hostilities of WWI officially ended at 11:00 am on 11th November 1918. In UK, Remembrance Sunday is observed on the second Sunday of November, the nearest Sunday to 11th November, Armistice Day. Web edition of Britain’s renowned daily tabloid newspaper, Mirror, reported that Brad Pitt film Fury’s director David Ayer ignored the appeals from local citizens to refrain from filming the movie on Remembrance Sunday.

US Actor and movie producer William Bradley Pitt’s upcoming movie ‘Fury’ is a war action drama film about WWII. It’s the second WWII film where Pitt got the lead role. The 2009 film ‘Inglourious Basterds’ was the first one where Pitt played the lead role of First Lt Aldo Raine. The commercially successful film told the fictional alternate WWII history story of couple of plots to kill Germany’s Nazi leadership, one planned by a team of Jewish American soldiers led by First Lt Aldo Raine, and the other by a French Jewish cinema theatre owner. Brad Pitt film ‘Fury’ is written by its director David Ayer. The film started the shooting in the English countryside in September, 2013. The story of the £ 50 million film ‘Fury’ is set in April 1945, in the end of WWII when the Allies carried out their final assault in Europe. Brad Pitt is playing the lead role of a battle hardened American sergeant called Wardaddy. A M4 Sherman tank and five soldiers are commanded by Wardaddy on a lethal mission behind German lines. Despite being outgunned and outnumbered, Wardaddy and his men make heroic attempts to assault at the center of Nazi Germany facing overwhelming odds.

David Ayer was amidst controversies when the WWII film U-571 written by him released in year 2000. The film showed that a WWII German U-571 submarine was boarded by undercover US Navy men in 1942 to capture its Enigma cipher machine. The fictitious plot of the film received substantial criticism as, in reality, British soldiers from HMS Bulldog first captured a German Navy Enigma machine months before US entered the WWII. Even British parliament expressed their anger as then Prime Minister Tony Blair said that the film U-571 was ‘an affront’ to British naval men. David Ayer, whose both grandparents were officers in WWII, admitted in 2006 that the film distorted history to drive American audience and also declared that he would not repeat this type of act again.

During Brad Pitt film Fury’s shooting at Shirburn in Oxfordshire, David Ayer reportedly refused the plea of locals and Watlington Parish Council to stop filming on Remembrance Sunday, 10th November 2013. David shattered silence of the somber Remembrance Sunday morning by volleys of gunfire and explosions in the quiet countryside at 4 am while the extras dressed as Nazi troop rampaged over the fields. Residents, military chiefs and war veterans branded David for being disrespectful by giving orders to shoot the scenes on the day people remember the brave souls who gave their lives for the freedom of humanity.

About a hundred British extras, have been hired by the film company to play the US and German troops. Former soldiers were also included in the group of extras. One of them termed the whole incident as ‘offensive and grotesquely disrespectful’. He also said that he could not believe he had worn an SS uniform on the Remembrance Sunday. ‘I can’t walk off the set for the sake of a principle, especially in present economic climate.’ He further added.

Chairman of nearby Watlington parish council, Ian Hill, said that whoever was responsible for the incident was insensitive. He also said that a letter had been sent to express their feelings. Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British troops in Afghanistan, said that a director whose film was profiting from the sacrifices of 800,000 British and US soldiers in WWII had a duty to ensure his crew were ‘allowed to pause to pay appropriate respect to the dead’. Kevan Jones, shadow Defense Minister, said that it was completely outrageous to ignore the plea to halt filming on the all important commemorating day.

The Brad Pitt film director David Ayer and Producer & Distributor Sony issued an apology. David expressed his ‘heartfelt apologies’ for any disrespect caused. David, a former US Navy sailor, added in his twitter message that he was also a veteran himself and it was an honor to film in the UK. He also posted a photo of the Veteran’s Day ceremony at Arlington Cemetery, US. Sony stated that it deeply regretted any misunderstanding which had been caused.

Video story: A WWII veteran shared his war stories with Brad Pitt for the Brad Pitt war film Fury, to be released on 14th November 2014.

Mohammad Rafi Saad

Mohammad Rafi Saad is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE