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I was hired as the Assistant Military Advisor for this film that takes place in 1870's era Japan when she was transforming from a Samurai culture nation in to a Westernized power.
Filming took place in Japan, New Zealand and Los Angeles. The Technical Advisor, Sgt.Maj. James Dever (USMC-ret) and I set up a 1 week boot camp for the 500 Japanese extras from Japan whom for the most part had never even seen a rifle! In addition to the bootcamp and handling of the Japanese soldiers, we assisted with many historical aspects of the film including period language, buildings, uniforms and other military aspects.
I found Tom Cruise to be very intense and focused on the task at hand. I was impressed that he took the time to thank the 500 extras for their hard work personally at least once a week (through me as translator).
The Japanese stars of the film, Ken Watanabe and Hiroyuki Sanada were equally professional and dedicated to the project.
SgtMaj Jim Dever and I had several cameos in the film as German Officers, American Businessmen in Yokohama and as Cavalry Sgt's but unfortunately nearly all of it wound up on the cutting room floor. That's showbiz.
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