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JFK--Training

We didn't do much formal training on the project but we did one hell of a lot of research and spent a lot of time on Dallas Police Department firing ranges. Oliver Stone obtained permission from the mayor of Dallas to shoot in Dealey Plaza and inside the Texas Schoolbook Depository building, so I spent a lot of time walking through those locations and trying to compute ballistic angles as well as keep fans and rabid Conspiracy Theorists off the Director's back.

In consultation with FBI ballistic experts, we obtained a Manlicher-Carcano carbine and telescopic sight exactly like the ones used by Lee Harvey Oswald. This weapon was engineered to exact specification provided by the FBI Agents who examined Oswald's rifle immediately after the assassination. We even arranged for the scope to be an exact 11 M.O.A out of zero as was the case with Oswald's weapon when it was found. Once I was familiar and comfortable with this weapon, I began to teach actor Gary Oldman the finer points of bolt-action rifle marksmanship. We conducted this training with live rounds on a police range. I also spent range time with actor Brian Doyle-Murray who played Jack Ruby, teaching him to replicate the incident in which his character kills Oswald. The deed was done with a snub-nosed S&W .38 caliber Detective Special so we obtained a similar weapon and moved to the range where we created a crowd with silhouette targets and had Murray rush forward to fire at the Oswald target in the center.

One of the most unforgettable aspects of training for this film was the experience of actually sitting on the sixth floor of the Texas Schoolbook Depository with Oswald's weapon and trying to replicate his shots while actors playing the Kennedys and the Connolys passed under my window in a Cadillac limo. By the end of the rehearsal and filming of that sequence, I had shot the President 94 times by actual count.