Iron Thunder Production Notes
I’d proved by making a low low budget film on a short schedule (PUBLIC ENEMY) that I could make a much better film with more time and more money. This should not be the exception to the rule but it is.
This was the first fiction film since my first, BEYOND DREAM’S DOOR, that I had a greater part in developing from the ground up as a script. The script was written as we scouted locations and this helped inspire the writing and make the material easier to film when we got to that point. I still consider it to be one of my best-scripted films. We shot on 16mm film though the miniatures would have looked better in 35mm.
Richard Hatch shot for less than half of our schedule but because I went to several locations with him alone and shot out his scenes and then went back and shot the other half of the same scenes with the rest of the cast it looks like he was there far more than he was. The whole shoot was an elaborate mix of set stuff, real location, full sized mock up, miniatures, explosions, and a few CG effects. The complexity of all the odd bits and pieces make editing the film together extremely rewarding.
No one was making war movies when we did this, though by the time we were done, Saving Private Ryan was being released. One website criticized our uniforms as being unconvincing but shooting in the desert near the real Edward’s Air force base we were constantly being confused for the real thing. So though our uniforms weren’t good enough for a web expert, they worked just fine in the real world.
My director’s script I kept in a camouflaged real army surplus notebook and you can see it being used in the film as a prop at certain times.
Actor T. Bruce Page who plays the mad scientist of the piece had been in one my previous films and went on to play one of the boy’s fathers at the start of Mystic River.
Actor Christopher Grey was one of the original Dancing Judge Ito's on Jay Leno's Tonight Show.