Meet the Man Who Puts Movie Stars Through Boot Camp

Left of Boom Episode 17: Meet the Man Who Puts Movie Stars Through Boot Camp
Left of Boom Episode 17: Meet the Man Who Puts Movie Stars Through Boot Camp

Dale Dye has been an adviser on many of the generation's most iconic military films and shows -- from Platoon to Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers. But he didn't grow up in showbiz. He's a retired Marine who decided that the movies he saw weren't doing right by America's service members, and he decided to do something about it. On this episode, host Hope Hodge Seck and writer Blake Stilwell ask Dale Dye about the worst military movie he's ever seen, his thoughts on Space Force and his advice for other veterans who want to make a career in showbiz.

Subscribe to the Left of Boom podcast:

iTunes | Google Podcasts | Spotify | TuneIn | Stitcher


Mentioned in this episode:


Band of Brothers

Space Force

101st Airborne


War on Terror

The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Left of Boom:

Hope Hodge Seck 0:00

Welcome back to Left of Boom. I'm your host, Hope Hodge Seck. I'm joined today by Blake Stilwell who writes about military culture and veteran employment for Blake, thanks so much for co-hosting with me today.

Blake Stilwell 0:12

Happy to be here. It's great.

Hope Hodge Seck 0:14

Today's guest is somebody who probably played a role as an advisor or an actor, or both, in one of your favorite military movies or shows. His film credits include Platoon, Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan, among many others. He's a retired Marine who has dedicated his career to making sure the military and war are portrayed accurately in film. And he's put some of Hollywood's biggest stars through tough boot camps to make that happen. There's a great quote of his about his work that I think sums up the perspective he has really well. He said, "People think all I have to do is teach you how to hold a weapon or wear your uniform. Not in my book, not at all, because the performance comes from the heart, and the heart has to have a certain amount of understanding." So, Dale Dye, it's a great privilege to have you on the show. Welcome.

Dale Dye 1:02

Well, thanks, Hope and Blake, I appreciate it. It's, you know, it's among kindred spirits here. So I'm glad to do this kind of thing.

Hope Hodge Seck 1:10

As we've mentioned, you've sort of made it your mission to help the film industry get it right when it comes to the military. Why is accuracy and portraying the military in warfare so important? And what difference does it make to the American public in their understanding of these topics, to have a high level of realism?

Dale Dye 1:26

Well, I listen, I think there's I think there's two elements to your question, Hope. The first element is, I think it's important to have a level of accuracy because, to ignore that accuracy, to ignore the reality of military service, combat deployment around the world, is disrespectful to the men and women who carry out those deployments, who serve in combat, who serve in uniform, they're some of America's finest. And we should respect them. And part of that respect, in particular, in my view, is to treat them right in the popular media. Now, that's not to say to whitewash things. I mean, we make mistakes. We screw the pooch every once in a while, but I think it's important that we depict them as accurately as we can. That's one element. The second element is really kind of in Blake's milieu. Popular media is pervasive among Americans today. Lord knows how much time they spend, you know, staring at their phones or looking at at their computer screens. And so they consume information in huge chunks, in floods, actually, all the time. And where that information relates to our military and the military service, I think there's an obligation on the part of filmmakers, on the part of media makers, media producers, to try to get it right. Look, half of the time, or in fact, more than half the time -- most of the time -- the reality of military life, the reality of deployments, the reality of combat is so much more interesting than the crapola that some writer who's never worn the uniform makes up. So in my view, we need to take advantage of that social media inroad and use it to show American consumers what and who we really are and what we're really about.

Blake Stilwell 3:32

I'm curious, you said, you acknowledge that we don't always get it right. We sometimes screw the pooch, when you're depicting the negative aspects of military service on screen. What are the hardest parts about getting that right?

Dale Dye 3:47

Well, the hardest part when you're doing something where the military just has to be depicted in an in a negative light, because that's the story, that's what happened -- is to make sure that somewhere in there somewhere in that communication, somewhere in that story is the reality that it doesn't go unpunished. There is justice. If you do something like that, if you make a horrible last mistake like that, you're going to pay the consequences. Take for instance, films like Casualties of War, I think that was very important that the story involved a court-martial for these guys. That's what I'm talking about. There needs to be a balance. If you're going to tell a bad story -- and sometimes you need to tell a bad story -- I think it's important to emphasize that people don't get away with that kind of thing.

Hope Hodge Seck 4:38

You got into filmmaking and advising in 1984, if my research proves right. Back then, what were your biggest complaints about military films in terms of accuracy and authenticity? And do you think that's something filmmakers care more about getting right today? Do you think that better work is being done today than when you started?

Dale Dye 4:59

Well, I hope I hope they do a better job of it today, I think and I'll humbly submit that I may have had something to do with that. I think they understand that it's not so easy these days, we are inundated by popular media to suspend disbelief, you got to pay a little attention to that reality factor. And I think they do a better job of that. Now, when I first got into it, I think I was like every other military veteran, you know, I'd sit in a theater, I sit in front of my television, and I'd see some military story. And the top of my head would blow off. I mean, they were making so many stupid mistakes. And I said to myself, well, what the hell is this? You know, I would, I would see credits roll. And they would have some guy listed as military technical adviser, some guy or some gal, and I said, Well, who are those maggots? I mean, how do they let them get away with this kind of crap? Well, I couldn't believe it. And I guess being a Marine, you know, my first reaction is, well, I'll fix that. Fix bayonets. And I'll get out there and I'll attack the first bastard I see that makes movies and I'll get him unscrewed. Well, it didn't necessarily work out that way. But I stayed with it. Because I even at that point, I felt that my agenda was and remains to this day to try to shine some long overdue, and much deserved, richly deserved light on the men and women who wear a military uniform. And I thought that that should be done in the right way. The problem was convincing filmmakers in a place like Hollywood, which is really a small cliquish club, because of all the money that's involved. And if they want all the money, and they don't want you to have any. The problem was that they had made zillions of dollars making war films for decades. And now they had this guy coming in who wasn't a filmmaker, who was some knuckle dragger, nose picker Marine, and he's gonna tell him, he's going to tell him, you know, how to do it better. Well, that went over, not real well, and it took a break. I guess, like many other things in life, you got to have that lucky stroke, you got to hit one out of the park. And I was able to hit one out of the park, doing it my way and a film called Platoon with Oliver Stone. We brought that film home from the Philippines, and it won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. And Oliver Stone was kind enough to recognize me publicly for my contribution to that film. And at that point, my point I think was made because the phone started ringing off the hook. And all those guys who told me I was an idiot, they didn't need me. Now suddenly, they needed me. So the lesson is, nothing succeeds like success in Hollywood, I guess.

Blake Stilwell 7:56

I'm curious. So you mentioned that doing Platoon kind of launched everything. When it comes to films, is being more accurate in terms of not just military uniforms, but in everything military, does that really make the films that much better? Has what you've done with movies in Hollywood, has that set a precedent and our movies getting better on the whole? And has that made the whole depiction of the military in movies in general better?

Dale Dye 8:27

Yeah, I think it has, Blake, I think it has made an impression. I'm seeing a much better treatment, I'm seeing more of a willingness to hire guys and gals to be military advisors on a film. And I use that word, cautiously. There's a technical adviser. And then there's a military advisor, in my view. The military advisor is much more a larger part of the whole storytelling effort. I see that happening. Now. I think I have to throw a caveat in here. I see that happening among serious filmmakers, guys who care about getting it right. There's still the you know, the the B-movie cheapo trash, oh, guys who, you know, don't care and all they care about is how many backflips can you do? And how many car wrecks can we afford today? And that kind of thing is always going to be, it's the nature of the beast. And that's always going to be there. But among serious filmmakers, folks who are serious about telling a story visually and communicating via film or television, I think I think I am seeing an improvement. I think it's much better and I'm really glad to see it.

Blake Stilwell 9:38

But you were talking about seeing movies that were just so bad in this regard. Is there one that stands out as a tipping point for you where you're just like, I can't watch this anymore, I have to go do something about it?

Dale Dye 9:50

Yeah, I get I guess there was I was either just out of the Marine Corps or getting ready to get out of the Marine Corps. At the point when a movie came out, called The Boys in Company C. And I took a buddy of mine to see it. I think we were in Jacksonville, North Carolina or something. And we went to see and I said, Well, you know, hey, this isn't, there's a movie about Vietnam. I know about Vietnam. I was there a long time, I can dig this. And we went in, and I absolutely, you know, I puked in my mouth, it was so bad. I felt insulted by this thing. And I think that was the tipping point, I said, Well, I will not tolerate that crap anymore. I gave these folks 15 bucks to come in and see this nonsense. And, and I'm through with it, I'm going to do something about it. So if I had to, if I had to put my finger on it, I think The Boys in Company C tripped the trigger.

Blake Stilwell 10:48

You know, I interview a lot of veterans who do various things. And they all tell me that they had a different experience getting out of the military, and from Vietnam until right before 9/11, most people think that they didn't really have a community to go back to they didn't really feel a part part of veteran culture. And you know, after 9/11, veteran culture has really blossomed. And it's really something that people pay more attention to, not just the veteran community, but America in general. So from your time doing Platoon and in all the way to the post-9/11. Has it changed how you had to deal with directors or producers? Are people more inclined to hear your point of view? Or has it changed the way you work at all?

Dale Dye 11:34

Well, it's been a progressive thing. Like, when I first started in this, look, everybody knows that Hollywood's full of lefties and flaming liberals, and they have their opinion. And I have to kind of work around it and keep my mouth shut. But early on, there was a negative take on the military, these these guys can't possibly had much intelligence or much creativity. And so we'll just block a story around them. And they'll be the criminals and the culprits or the dupes or the stupid guys. And it was it was full of stereotypes. And that was, of course, one of the things that I desperately wanted to change that has morphed. Can I tie it directly to 9/11 snd to public attitudes? I guess, I'm not sure whether I would I would make a direct connection to it. I just think there was a knee-jerk after Vietnam, I think for a couple of years after Vietnam, there, sort of an attitude developed in America that these guys and gals got a bad rap. You know, they didn't get welcomed home, they got blamed for a war that was unsuccessful and kind of gave America a black eye in the international community. And I suppose there was that, that knee-jerk helped. Folks around, I said, Well, look, we're not going to let that happen again, you know, the men and women who are going overseas on deployment to the Middle East, they're going to be welcomed home, not like we did with the guys that came home from Vietnam. And I think that permeated the showbiz attitudes. I think they said, Look, let's let's give 'em an even break here. And and I was delighted to see that -- I'm wandering around here. I hope that got to your question.

Hope Hodge Seck 13:18

I wanted to ask you kind of a human nature question. By the way, I spent a couple of years in Jacksonville, North Carolina working as a beat reporter for the you know, covering Camp Lejeune, and I've seen quite a few bad movies in the Jacksonville theater.

Dale Dye 13:33

You know, I thought I recognized your name, the Jacksonville, what was it, Observer?

Hope Hodge Seck 13:40

Jacksonville Daily News.

Dale Dye 13:42

Daily News. Yeah, okay.

Hope Hodge Seck 13:44

It was a while ago. But uh, so my human nature question, and this is something that I've been curious about for a long time. So there are definitely movies that sort of play up the nobility and heroism aspects of war. And there are others that really emphasize the grit and the misery and the moral gray areas. And I would put Platoon in that category and films like Full Metal Jacket. And yet when I talk to Marines and Army veterans, a lot of them say, you know, I saw that movie, and that made me want to join. I think military recruiters have this idea, you have to portray service in this very positive light and anything else is bad PR. But the reality is somewhat different. Films that that really get gritty and authentic and show sort of the the brutal aspects of warfare seem to strike a chord and in draw people towards military service, some people. Why do you think that is?

Dale Dye 14:41

I think there's a relatively simple answer to that and it goes to human nature, human psychology. It has to do with look, I think Ernest Hemingway had it right. War is man's greatest adventure. And a lot of young men and women are looking for that adventure. They're not looking for parades and flag-waving, and bugles blowing in the background. And they know that's nonsense. They know, they know from the popular media that that's nonsense, but they're attracted to the the life-and-death struggle, that can ensue from military service. That's the adventure. That's the test. Am I a good enough guy? Am I a good enough gal to be able to hack it? And I think in there in the back of their perverse little minds, the recruiters know that, yes, they're forced to focus on the potential for educational benefits and relatively pleasant service and the ability to learn a trade and so on and so forth. But somewhere in there, they know that the real appeal in those beady-ass little eyeballs that they're looking at across the desk, so they know that that guy or gal really wants to test him or herself, and wants to see if they can survive the crucible. And I think that's, that's a good thing.

Hope Hodge Seck 16:09

I've had conversations with my husband and and he feels that more than I do that desire to kind of prove oneself in the toughest conditions possible.

Dale Dye 16:18

Sure. It's, part and parcel of the maturing experience. You get along in school, you get along with your parents, you get along in your little society as a young teenager. And eventually you look around, you say, you know, I wonder if I'm good enough to go beyond this. I wonder if I'm good enough to hack it. Now, is that a guy thing? Maybe it used to be. But I think I think females are becoming enormously socialized toward that sort of thing. I talked to some females not long ago, and boy, I tell you, tough chicks, they were ready to get out there and do this thing. But what struck me is that they had the same sort of mentality about it, about testing themselves about putting themselves into a really challenging experience, as the guys used to.

Blake Stilwell 17:12

Are you still writing No Better Place to Die? Or are you still producing it?

Dale Dye 17:16

Yeah, No Better Place to Die. One of one of my movies I've written, it's kind of a passion project. For me, it's something that I want to do. I mean, we did, we did so much for the 101st Airborne Division with Band of Brothers, that the 82nd began to beat me up rather strenuously and say, Come on, you know, where's our 82nd Airborne story. And the fascinating story me was, was the fight at La Fiere on D day, and for about three days thereafter to hold a vital bridgehead over the Merderet River. And so I wrote that. And we're struggling to get it done. The dreaded 'Rona put a crimp on everybody's style. So it's kind of sitting on idle right now. It needs to be funded and a number of other things. But in the meantime, I'm keeping busy. I'm writing another Vietnam script right now. And, and I can't tell you too much about this. But there is a there's a trilogy, the third part of a trilogy, Band of Brothers, the Pacific and a piece about the 86th Air Force in the [European Theater], and I'm about to go to work on that.

Blake Stilwell 18:25

That's great. I bring that up, because I was, you mentioned how young kids have that challenge mentality. You've gone through it yourself a long time ago, but is making your own film instead of just working on someone else's film, is that kind of the same challenge mentality?

Dale Dye 18:45

Look, it is the ultimate dream of everybody who's involved in filmmaking, I think, to make their own film. All of us who are creative types are just full of this stuff. And it's the reason we're in the business. After about 10 or 12, or 15 films, and reading hundreds of scripts. You know, I said, Listen, I'm a filmmaker. I may not have known it a couple of years ago, but I'm a visual thinker. And I've always been a storyteller. I don't know whether it's my Irish heritage or what, you know, I'm the guy who can sit you around a campfire and tell you a shaggy dog story and keep you interested for 45 minutes. I'm that guy. I always have been that guy. And I love to entertain, I love to make people smile and make people think and make people ponder a situation that I'm describing. So I think it is the ultimate goal of everybody who's in the business to somehow tell their own stories or tell stories that they have created. And I'm a little late in the game -- filmmaking in Hollywood as a young man or young woman's game, believe me, but I'm still you know, hale and hearty and I'm still out there, banging around. So I'm hoping that that I get at least one or two before I have to quit, that'll be a film by Dale Dye.

Blake Stilwell 20:09

What about the Dale Dye story? Is that worth a Hollywood movie?

Dale Dye 20:13

It's been pitched to me a couple of times, but I can't think of anybody handsome or intelligent enough to play me, so I probably will pass on that. I have written an autobiography in two parts. The Art of War, which is about my military experiences, and War Is Art, which is about my showbiz experiences. When that's going to be published, I don't know. My wife tells me she's not going to allow it to be published until I'm dead, which will, because it will be worth a lot more money then. Look, I'm, I gotta tell you Blake and Hope, I have lived an extraordinary life. It's not over. At least I don't think it is. But I get worried when they keep giving me awards for lifetime achievement. And I keep thinking, Wait a minute, it's not over, Pal. But I guess that I have had more blessings than any individual really should have. More lucky breaks, some would say, more hardheadedness and tenacity. And I guess that's also true, but, when you're able to reach audiences in the millions, and you're able to make a contribution to to projects that affect audiences in the millions, that's such a great responsibility. But it's also a great joy. It's a great blessing.

Hope Hodge Seck 21:37

Something that I think probably inspires a lot more people than just me about your story and your career trajectory is the way that you, rather than finding a job, you sort of created one and created a career field to boot. We have a lot of transitioning veterans who read us and come to us for information. What advice would you give to listeners who want to go out and create a job rather than find one and get hired?

Dale Dye 22:06

Do it, is my first big piece of advice, have enough confidence in yourself. Look, if you're a veteran, you've been through the training ordeals,you've been through the deployment ordeals you've been through tough times. And creating your own job is tough. But you're the you're the kind of man or woman who can do it. You've proven that. I get 14,15 letters a week, I guess, or emails from young men and women who are coming out of the military and say, I want to be you, I want to do what you do in showbiz this. Look, it's, it's not that easy. In the first place, you got to have a broader base of experience than four years in the Air Force, or four years in the Navy, doing one thing, even if you've been doing that one thing at three or four bases. What do you know about the rest of the services? What do you know about military history? What do you know about all these things? Those are the things that are going to keep you at work. You don't want to be a one-trick pony. In this thing, hell I've done, you know, I've had to study ancient Greek warfare to do Alexander, I've had to make up warfare to do things like Starship Troopers. So you got to be facile. And you've got to be a student of history. And you've got to be the kind of person who is willing to put in the work and the labor. You can't just come out to Hollywood and say, Look, I was I was deployed with the 173rd Light Infantry Brigade in Vincenza, so I know all about the Army. No, you don't, Pal. And you're not necessarily going to be extremely valuable to somebody who's doing a story about the 82nd, or somebody who's doing a story about a tank outfit in Desert Storm, Desert Shield. So there's more to it. Then simply saying, you know, I served four years or I served 20 years, observe the following things. You've also got to be a creative person. You got to be a natural storyteller. You've got to understand the elements of storytelling, especially visually. And frankly, that's something you've got to learn, you can't just bring that.

Hope Hodge Seck 24:18

All that said, your background as a combat correspondent. Did that provide you with a foundation or support the work that you do now? Or is it mainly things that you had to unlearn before you could get started?

Dale Dye 24:30

No, I think I think my, my experience as a combat correspondent in the Marine Corps was invaluable. I'm a trained observer. I'm a writer, I'm a storyteller, I get the elements of style. I get tempo, I get how a story needs to be told, what things support the story and what things are extraneous, what things are erroneous. And in my experience, as a writer, as a reporter, taught me a lot of that. So that was a that was a hell of a nice basis to go in.

Blake Stilwell 25:01

You said you created a military branch when you did Starship Troopers. Are you upset that the Space Force didn't take any of your suggestions when they created a new branch? I think a lot of people are to be honest with you.

Dale Dye 25:15

Yes, damn right I am. Look, here's a story on that. I loved the book, Robert Heinlein book, Starship Troopers. It was one of those books that I always carried around in my rucksack, you know, for for downtime reading. I absolutely loved it. I absorbed it. It fascinated my my imagination. And, and when I heard that Paul Verhoeven was gonna direct a version of Heinlein's book, I jumped through all kinds of flaming hoops to get on that show. I mean, I wanted to do this, this was something I was really anxious to do, I would have done it for nothing, although I didn't. And I was I was enormously disappointed, frankly, in the shortcuts that they took, and in Verhoeven, his take on the thing. I mean, Verhoeven a Dutchman, I mean, he saw everything as Nazis. And, that was that, and, and I thought it was a disservice to Heinlein's story. And I was, although the film is a cult favorite. I mean, it's got all kinds of following, and so on and so forth. And I'm not ashamed to admit I worked on it. And I think I tried my damnedest to bring something to it. But ultimately, the director is the voice. And, and his voice, and his view didn't agree with mine.

Blake Stilwell 26:37

When you create the culture of a military branch, where did you even start? Where did you think of beginning?

Dale Dye 26:45

Are you talking about Starship Troopers now?

Blake Stilwell 26:47

Yeah, yeah. When you're talking, when you're creating something like you did with the mobile infantry and the fleet in Starship Troopers, and you're creating a culture of the culture of a military branch? Where do you begin? I think the Space Force would probably need some input right now.

Dale Dye 27:02

Well, you you you begin with the source material, and Heinlein provided a bunch of it, but I had to make up a lot of backstory, I had to invent units, and invent traditions and invent ceremonies and that sort of thing. And that all begins right behind my beady-ass eyeballs. I mean, that begins in my brain. And it was great. I mean, I created this 8th Mobile Infantry Division and had some say, in the uniforms that they wore, although not enough, say, in the uniforms that they were, and that was fun. I mean, that was creating out of whole cloth. So I got to put myself in the guise of, say, a regimental commander, and said, Well, I'm gonna, this is it, this is my Regiment, here's what, here's how I'm going to create it. And here's what they're going to look like. And here's what they're going to say, and here's how they're going to act. And here's what they're going to do. And I had a hell of a time with it. I invented a whole command, and wrote out a training schedule that would, that would go to this. And I mean, I was like a kid in a candy shop. I was having a great time with it. But it begins, it begins in the imagination. I took the Heinlein story and extended it into what I thought was probably happening in his head.

Hope Hodge Seck 28:19

So do you have some advice for the folks who are trying to create a culture around Space Force in the real world right now?

Dale Dye 28:26

You know, I don't know about the Space Force. I'm, I guess I'm happy that we've got one because we sure as hell have space. But I'm not sure what they're gonna do. I mean, I'd looked it over and, I said, Well, that's cool. So what do you guys want to do? What makes you different from you know, come on, you got the Star Trek emblem and everything else, let's, what is it you're going to do? And I'm going to withhold my judgment on the thing and try to keep an open mind until I find out what the hell they are going to do that's different than Air Force, or other aviation branches. I get the feeling that I would have been happier if we'd created the Space Force, once we were actually up in space, and had bases up in there, and that sort of thing. And that, to me, would have been a great impetus for creating the Space Force. Look, if I was going to offer advice to men and women who want to be part of the Space Force: Hell, go for it and go for it at an early age, because there's maybe about halfway through your career, you'll actually find yourself up in space doing stuff, which I think would be neat.

Hope Hodge Seck 29:34

The top general of Space Force, just the other day said the the PR problem they have right now is that you can't hug a satellite, so it's not completely relatable. But I wanted to ask you about a movie you worked on that is not probably one that you're best known for, but is one that I enjoyed quite a bit. And that's Outbreak, 1995, starring Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman and yourself. As we talk about sort of the futuristic world we're living in, Outbreak is about a pandemic of hemorrhagic fever that's spreading so fast the U.S. military is willing to bomb a U.S. town to contain that threat. So my first question is, have you gotten any new fans as people rediscover this pandemic classic. Have you?

Dale Dye 30:20

Oh, yeah. I'm in LA. But I think I my email just lit up. I think every station in in the United States at some point was running Outbreak. And sure, I mean, people love it, you know, that I got to arrest Donald Sutherland. And so you hear about things like that, but I knew it was going to happen. The minute this pandemic thing hit, and people started shutting down all over, I said, you know, they're going to be sitting in front of the television locked down. And and you know, that those programmers are gonna whip up Outbreak and any other pandemic sort of film they can find. Because it's, you know, it capitalizes on the situation that we find ourselves in. So I knew it was going to happen, and it did. And I guess I got a little limelight shed on me for that. Because I had a nice little piece in it as an actor.

Hope Hodge Seck 31:19

Can you share any behind the scenes experiences from filming that movie, something we might not know?

Dale Dye 31:26

Well, look, that was a wonderful cast. Morgan Freeman was terrific. And I think that the cast was was superb. I mean, Donald Sutherland and Dustin Hoffman, they were so good to me as an older guy, but a relatively inexperienced actor. I remember, there was a, we were rehearsing a scene where I play the battalion commander that's got this security cordon up. And I'm in an office with Donald Sutherland, who plays a senior general, and Morgan Freeman, who plays a senior general. And they have discovered that Donald Sutherland has been cheating on this, this whole thing and I'm to arrest him, and Sutherland is to look down his nose at me and say, You're really enjoying this, aren't you? And then I'm supposed to have a line where I respond to that. And in rehearsal, Morgan Freeman, who was sitting there, looked at it, he looked at it, and they looked at it, and he said, Dale, you know, what would be better? Don't say anything. Just aim your pistol at him and smile. And, you know, that's taking a line away from an actor, that's like opening up your veins, what are you doing here? But he was dead right. And we went ahead and ran the scene again. And I just took the pistol and aimed it at Donald Sutherland, smiled at him. Like, you know, payback is a bitch. And, it was just absolutely the right thing. And, you know, Wolfgang Petersen took a look at it. And he said, Oh, yes, oh, yes, that's perfect. Just do that. And so, that's the way we did it. But doing the film was full of moments like that. I mean, Dustin Hoffman is one of the, I used to call him The Little Maggot. But he and and Cuba Gooding Jr., who was terrific in that, Cuba followed me everywhere, trying to adopt my demeanor, my carriage, my presence. And, and he would walk around doing a kind of a bad imitation of Captain Dye. And I thought that was fun. But Dustin was a great mentor and an acting coach also. It's those kind of guys who, who are unselfish, who recognize that it's all about the mission. You know, it's all about making a great film. And they're over the ego part of it. You know, they they just want it to be as good as it can be, and they're willing to help anybody to make it that way. So, great experience.

Blake Stilwell 34:04

I love that. So much of what you do is based on true stories, it's very on brand for how into realism you are. Is there anything that's happened in the news in the past couple years that you think might be worth making into a movie?

Dale Dye 34:21

I think there's hundreds of things, Blake, you know, you focus on on a single incident, a single thing that's happening. And the time for films about our, God knows, unending wars in the Middle East, I think, and there's probably some stories that are going to leap out of that. I would like to get inside some of the special operations outfits, who get deployed well, well under the radar and do some some very interesting things. I think there's some stories there. But there's a problem with doing special operations stories -- look, they're sexy and and everybody loves them and if you're going to sell something to Hollywood, that's probably, you know, you you got a leg up by doing that. But I hate that the average guy or gal who serves serves in a line outfit, you know, serves in an outfit that is not all sexy and rock and roll and high speed, low drag and so on and so forth. And I think, I think there's a lot of a lot of human stories in there that I would like to get to. I guess you're asking me about specific things and and I'm not going to tell you that, so I'll just broad brush it here and say that there's a bunch of stories out there.

Hope Hodge Seck 35:41

Well, this has been an absolute delight and I've learned more than I expected to by a long shot. So thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today.

Dale Dye 35:50

Hope I'm absolutely glad I could do it. I love these podcasts. I love the title "Left of Boom." I mean, left of boom indicates something that happens before the action and right of the boom is after the action. So I think I think you're cutting edge here. I hope so anyway. I love to talk to military audiences because I can be me, I can speak the way we speak. And to me that's another aspect of entertaining. So thanks very much, Blake and Hope, for having me. I appreciate it.

Hope Hodge Seck 36:29

Thanks for joining us once again here at Left of Boom for this great episode with the legendary Dale Dye. You can find Blake Stillwell on Twitter at @BlakeStilwell, that's one L in Stil, two in Well, and I'm on Twitter as well, @Hope Seck. If you have feedback on the show or ideas for future topics, send us an email at I promise we'll read and respond, and we may even give you a shout-out in a future show. If you're listening on Apple podcasts or really anywhere else, please take a moment to rate and review Left of Boom so that new listeners can find us. And as you're waiting for upcoming shows, remember to check out for all the news and information you need about your military community. We'll see you here next time.

Show Full Article