It will be
Dec. 7, 1941,
all over again

Japanese attack aircraft -- Zeros,
Kates and Vals -- will fly toward and
over Pearl Harbor this week

By Tim Ryan

click on the thumbnail for full-size image

all photos By George F. Lee, Star Bulletin

IT'S deja vu all over again at Pearl Harbor today when the U.S. Navy base is attacked by several Japanese attack aircraft.

No need to panic, though. It's only scenes being photographed for the $135 million Disney World War II action-romance "Pearl Harbor," starring Ben Affleck and Cuba Gooding Jr. Affleck and Josh Hartnett play the two male leads; Kate Beckinsale is their mutual love interest.

The film, with Michael Bay as director and Jerry Bruckheimer as executive producer, actually started second-unit photography -- scenes without major actors -- on Saturday. The production will film at several Oahu military bases through May 3, though most filming is slated for Pearl Harbor's Ford Island.

According to sources, the production has taken up an entire hangar on Ford Island with vintage planes and vehicles. Fifteen vintage aircraft were brought by barge from Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, including Zeros, Kates, P-40 Warhawks, B-17 bombers and PBYs.

Those living near Pearl Harbor or Leeward Oahu this week can catch a glimpse of aerial "warfare," with Japanese attack aircraft -- Zeros, Kates and Vals -- flying toward and over Pearl Harbor.

Bay confirmed at a news conference yesterday that the film will feature live bombardment -- real explosives -- of as many as 15 naval vessels moored at Pearl Harbor. The ships to be "destroyed" sit near "Battleship Row," moored at the Middle Loch of Ford Island. A Navy official said yesterday that the production is not going to sink "anything."

Some shots were to be taken this morning, including a "rising sun shot" showing Japanese planes high overhead; an armada of Japanese planes racing low over the water, then crossing the shoreline and ridge line; then the same planes "peeling off" for the famous attack, sources said.

Tomorrow, three major scenes are scheduled to be shot in Pearl Harbor's inactive-fleet area, including torpedoes heading toward the USS Oklahoma (actually the retired USS Buchanan), shots of torpedoes being fired and splashing in the water in Pearl Harbor, and several transition shots showing the fleet "calm at anchor" just prior to the Dec. 7, 1941, attack.

Through Saturday, lots of scenes will be shot at Ford Island and Hangar 54/Mechanics Row showing P-40s and Zeros, aircraft zooming by, and evasive flying between buildings and air-to-air combat.

Filming will also be done at the Ford Island golf course, where the character Adm. Kimmel receives a message about a U.S. submarine being sunk prior to the attack. Another shot featuring the first wave of attack by Japanese aircraft will show several Boy Scouts scared out of their wits by the attack. The USS Missouri also will get its first scene this week, but as background to a spy photographer talking with a taxi driver.

Next Sunday, there will be a scene of sailors running across the decks of the burning ships and jumping into Pearl Harbor. Low-flying Japanese torpedo bombers will be filmed racing through clouds of thick smoke.

But news media have been barred so far from any set visits. And to ensure the film's major special-effects scene -- the Dec. 7, 1941 bombing -- is kept secret, it appears Bay and Bruckheimer may complete that in the first week.

All this action and special effects takes a huge staff and crew. "Pearl Harbor's" staff and crew -- including personnel in California, Hawaii, New York and Mexico -- totals slightly more than 500. The base production unit from Los Angeles alone includes 40 special-effects people, eight stuntmen, four pilots, 12 photographers, 23 costumers (including a "military uniform historian"), 10 producers and associate producers, 44 prop makers -- welders, painters and laborers -- and four environmental consultants, including Tom Lee and Lorraine Palumbo of Honolulu.

Hawaii has 67 staff and crew. Local workers, in part, include seven production unit members headed by coordinator Pam Gossage, 23 construction unit workers, five set decorators, four for special effects and 10 drivers.

Pearl Harbor heavies

Jerry Bruckheimer, producer, is one of the most successful producers of all time, with films having grossed move than $4.5 billion. His string of film successes include "Flashdance," "Beverly Hills Cop," "Top Gun," "Dangerous Minds," "Crimson Tide," "Enemy of the State," "The Rock" and "Armageddon."

Michael Bay, director, is directing his fourth Bruckheimer production with "Pearl Harbor." Most recently, Bay and Bruckheimer collaborated on the box-office hit "Armageddon," "Bad Boys," starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence and "The Rock," starring Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage. He began his career in the advertising industry, directing commercials and music videos for Propaganda Films.

Ben Affleck, actor, is reunited with Bruckheimer and Bay following their successful partnership on "Armageddon." Affleck is one of the youngest actor/writers in Hollywood to see his first film -- "Good Will Hunting" -- honored with an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. He and best friend and co-author Matt Damon won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Film credits include "Reindeer Games," "The Boiler Room," "Dogma," "Forces of Nature," "Shakespeare in Love," "Chasing Amy," "Dazed and Confused" and "School Ties."

Josh Hartnett, actor, can be seen currently in "Here on Earth." He made his film debut in "Halloween H20." He has since appeared in "The Faculty" and Sofia Coppola's "The Virgin Suicides." Future films include "O," "Blow Dry" and "Town and Country."

Kate Beckinsale, actress, gained notice in the U.S. for her performance in "Cold Comfort Farm." Most recently, she starred in "Brokedown Palace," Whit Stillman's "The Last Days of Disco," "Shooting Fish" and "Much Ado About Nothing." The English actress also had the title role in A&E's "Emma." She can be seen this fall in "The Golden Bow."

Cuba Gooding Jr., actor, earned an Academy Award for his performance as Rod Tidwell in "Jerry Maguire." Film credits include "As Good As It Gets," "What Dreams May Come," "Boyz N The Hood," "A Few Good Men," "Losing Isaiah" and "Chill Factor." He recently completed production on "Navy Diver," due out later this year.

Alec Baldwin, actor, plays the part of General James H. Doolittle. He most recently appeared In "Outside Providence." Other film credits include "Notting Hill," "Mercury Rising." "The Edge." "Ghosts of Mississippi," "Glengarry Glen Ross," "Hunt For Red October," "The Shadow" and "Miami Blues." Future films include "State and Main" and "Thomas and the Magic Railroad."

Romantic triangle enters the picture

Star-Bulletin staff

Rafe and Danny -- Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett -- grew up like brothers dusting crops in Tennessee. Both become pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Rafe falls in love with Navy nurse Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale).

As their romance begins to blossom, Rafe joins Eagle Squadron and leaves for Europe to fight the Germans in the early stages of World War II; Danny and Evelyn meanwhile are stationed at Pearl Harbor.

Word arrives that Rafe has died. Evelyn and Danny comfort one another, soon falling in love.

Guess what? Rafe is alive! He returns to Hawaii, creating big problems between the trio, and then the Japanese attack!

The U.S. is so annoyed at its embarrassing defeat that the government organizes a suicide mission to bomb Tokyo. Rafe and Danny are picked to lead the mission. And this makes their love for Evelyn the focal point of the story.

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