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Facts Behind the Story
The War--Thoughts on the Production
We were initially brought in on this film due to our earlier friendly and respectful relationship with star Kevin Costner, who became a fan after we worked with him on Oliver Stone's JFK. Director John Avnet understood that his audience would be unable or unwilling to suffer along with his star if the trauma he experienced in Vietnam was other than convincing. I was able to talk to him and Costner at length about survivor guilt and PTSD in general and we agreed that the Vietnam combat sequences should be violent and frightening from an individual, personal point-of-view, rather than typically just going over the top with explosions and gore.
I like to think we had a significant hand in demonstrating how small a combat infantryman's world becomes when the fighting becomes desperate at close quarters.