The Patriot Film Insights: Trivia
12. "There is a graveyard in the Pembroke location and as a joke some of the names on the tombstones were characters that Mel Gibson had played in other movies." - Special Effects Artist Bill "Splat" Johnson
13. Screenwriter Robert Rodat originally gave the lead character (then Francis Marion) six children, because Mel Gibson had six children. When Gibson and his wife had their seventh, Rodat added another child to the script.
(Ed.: There has been some discussion about this. Although, this would be a good explanation for why Rodat gave Marion six children, when he was actually childless and unmarried-not a widower-during the war. It also fits because one child, William, is the only child that has no scenes and could have been removed from the film without impacting the story at all.)
14. During filming, morale among the extras and reenactors got so low that the producers feared that they would walk, so Mel Gibson was asked to speak to them and tell them how important they were to the film.
(Ed.: It wouldn't be surprising if the cheerleaders and marching band were as much for the morale of the extras, as for Emmerich's birthday.)
15. The big battle scenes as well as the scenes of General George Washington at Valley Forge (Ed: which were largely cut) were filmed at the Darby Farm in Chester County, South Carolina. This is the location where the reenactors chose to sleep in tents and served as the production's base of operations from September to December.
16. Historic Brattonville provided locations for the Camden plantation, interiors of Charlotte Selton's plantation and interiors of the Howards' home. Mansfield Plantation served as exteriors for Charlotte's plantation. Middleton Place was where the British ball was shot. Botany Bay Plantation on Edisto Bay was the setting for the beach slave camp.
17. The production then moved to Charleston, using the College of Charleston and the Colonial era street that still remains. Production wrapped at a man-made marsh near Charleston known as Cypress Gardens, a fully realized swamp created in the late 1920s, which was used for the militia's island hideaway.
18. On the last night of production, the crew was treated to a rare lunar eclipse.
19. The filmmakers used 200 extras along with another 200 reenactor as "core soldiers." These men were cast for long hair among other things, so that the production could save on wigs. The extras spent two weeks at soldier training camp, learning such 18th century skills as shooting and marching. The reenactors served as the instructors. They all portrayed Patriot, British and French soldiers and were used over and over in the battles and often 'died' several times.
20. The Martin house and accompanying crops as well as Pembroke Villiage, were built by the production. They were built east-west so that Director Roland Emmerich could use natural backlighting.
21. Peat moss was used to simulate exploding dirt from the mortars. Flour was shot out of the cannons to create the "smoke."
22. Benjamin Martin's statement, "Why should I agree to swap one tyrant three thousand miles away for three thousand tyrants one mile away?" is a variation of a comment made by the Loyalist clergyman Reverend Mather Byles, "Which is better - to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?"
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