The Patriot Film Insights: Trivia
1. Francis Marion was the lead character in early drafts before the character was changed to Benjamin Martin. However, Martin still bore elements of Marion. Other parallels include that Marion was the youngest of seven children. His grandfather, father and nephew were all named Gabriel. He also had a brother named Benjamin.
2. During filming, Director Roland Emmerich celebrated a birthday. As a surprise, Mel Gibson arranged for the cheerleaders of the nearby Carolina Panthers football team and a local marching band to come out and help celebrate.
3. Leon Rippy, who portrayed John Billings, was born and raised in Rock Hill, South Carolina, which is near where much of the movie was filmed.
4. Jason Isaacs (Colonel William Tavington) did much of his own research on Banastre Tarleton (who was the early inspiration for the character of Tavington) on the Internet.
5. Some of the reenactors used in the film chose to camp in tents on the set for "the duration of the movie." - Producer Dean Devlin
6. The filmmakers cast amputees for use with some of the brutal battle scenes in order to aid the filming of the depiction of the severing of limbs.
7. Ryan Phillippe almost landed the role of Gabriel Martin, but Director Roland Emmerich chose Heath Ledger.
8. The Smithsonian Institute served as Technical Consultant on the film. This is the first time that it was involved with a film in such capacity.
9. The movie was shot entirely in South Carolina from September 7, 1999 to January 2000, lasting 101 days.
10. Production was interrupted for several days and the sets evacuated because of the late season Hurricane Floyd, which narrowly missed the film's location. A total of four hurricanes slowed production.
11. Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger trained on how to lock and load the period muskets. Gibson stated that he had learned (and practiced enough) to load and fire his pistol in under a minute. During filming, Ledger ripped open one of his fingers, requiring three stitches, on a musket flint lock.
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