WARZONEBy Judy Sloane
Tom Hanks contemplates the price of victory

War is hell… and director Steven Spielberg doesn’t pull any punches in bringing it to the screen, showing every gory detail that undoubtedly occurred during World War II when, on D-Day, the allies landed on Omaha Beach. Lauded as one of the greatest war movies of all time, Saving Private Ryan takes a stark and brutal look at warfare while honouring the extraordinary fortitude of the human spirit. The movie chronicles the search by Captain John Miller and his men to find and save one soldier – Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have already been lost in battle.

For Steven Spielberg, the project was definitely a labour of love. “I had been quietly looking around for a story to tell of the Second World War,” he concedes. “My father, who is still alive, fought in it and told me a lot about it. It just happened that an agent at CAA said, ‘There’s a script called Saving Private Ryan by Robert Rodat that I think you should read. It’s very compelling.’ I read the script and I thought this was the basis for something that I wanted to do, which was an anti-war World War II story.”

Simultaneously, Tom Hanks was approached to star in the movie. Spielberg admits that their friendship almost precluded their teaming up for the film. “We got on the telephone and talked. Did we want to take that social real life experience to the work place? What if we didn’t agree on something? What if he’s stubborn about something that I’m stubborn about? How do we argue and compromise without doing damage to the relationship? That was the first consideration. We thought the subject matter was important enough that we would risk it, and we became better friends because of it.”

Hanks, who portrays Captain Miller, was immediately fascinated by the enigmatic officer. “You’re not really supposed to know anything about him,” he says. “You know he’s a captain, but beyond that, even his own men don’t know where he’s from, what he does for a living, what his motivations are."

Picture copyright: Paramount
Read the full interview feature in the October issue of Film Review
Includes profiles of the six rising actors in Tom Hanks' troop

Saving Private Ryan takes a stark and brutal look at warfare while honouring the extraordinary fortitude of the human spirit

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