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Heart Breakfast with Julian Jones 6am - 10am
21 October 2014, 12:26
A former soldier from Bath has EXCLUSIVELY told Heart that it was his company that helped Brad Pitt and the stars of World War Two drama, Fury, transform into a believable, battle-hardened band of brothers.
Charlie Rotheram, who went to King Edward's School, and whose family still lives in the city, began Soldier In Blue after leaving the Army, where he served in the Light Dragoons.
He came up with his extras agency and military advisers company, after working on Les Misérables, and finding that out of the 60 military extras in the period musical, just four had served in the forces.
''We were called in to work on Fury,'' Charlie explains, ''because the producers had a specific requirement to crew a number of tanks.
"Obviously we've got a lot of ex-servicemen who had spent 20 to 25 years in tank regiments in the Army.
''And we had the specialist knowledge to crew these amoured vehicles.
''So we provided tank commanders, gunners, and operators for these kinds of vehicles.''
''I actually gave myself the plum job of being the tank commander of the Fury, which was the main tank and had the main cast in it.
''And whenever there was a long shot and wide angle, when Brad wasn't required, I was the man in the hole in the turret.''
Before shooting began, the actors were put through their paces with a two-week bootcamp.
It included assault courses, basic military skills, tank training, and around four hours' sleep a night.
''They worked very hard. They really do immerse themselves in it, and were extremely keen to learn from my regimental Sergeant Major, and from my experience driving armoured vehicles in Afghanistan and around the world.
''The bootcamp was also to bond them as a crew, and make them look credible as a fighting unit, and look convincing on film.''
In fact, he says one star who plays the gunner, was quite intense:
''Shia LaBoeuf is very much an actor of the 'method' school. He took it very, very seriously. He'd actually gone and done some training with the US military in Texas.
''We also got a 92-year-old veteran Sherman tank gunner from D-Day to talk to the cast. Shia was absolutely enthralled by speaking to him and learning about his experiences.
''As actors, they really want to know how it felt emotionally, what the stress was like, and how to cope with that.
''I've seen the film and Shia is absolutely fantastic in it - he really does it justice.''
Fury is out in cinemas from October 22nd.