American Military News hosted the cast and crew of the new World War II film “RECON” for an exclusive live video call on Monday to talk about the film, which was adapted from author Richard Bausch’s novel “Peace.”
Bausch’s novel “Peace” was itself based on some of the true experiences his father lived through during World War II. The novel and screen adaption “RECON” follows the story of a small team of American soldiers navigating their way through a dangerous mission through the Italian mountains. Complicating their mission are the team’s uncertainties about the true allegiances of an Italian man they’ve tasked with guiding them through the mountains, as well as their lingering moral concerns after witnessing the murder of a civilian.
Bausch attended the call, as did actor and executive producer Alexander Ludwig, actors Chris Brochu and Lochlyn Munro, and producer Rick Dugdale. Screenwriter and director Robert Port directed questions on the 50-minute call. Watch it below:
Bausch said he learned of his father’s World War II experience in his late teens or early twenties but waited many years before adapting his father’s story into his novel. Bausch’s father recalled to Bausch a similar experience following the guidance of an Italian man through the Italian mountainside during the war and then being told by a superior to shoot the man, but refusing the order.
Port said he was intrigued by reviews of Bausch’s novel and its presentation of the moral questions soldiers face in war.
“I wasn’t looking to do a movie that was filled with thousands of explosives [Steven] Spielberg has done that, arguably done the best version of it,” Port said. “I wanted to make more of a dramatic, more of a crucible type situation and Richard provided that with his incredible book.”
Ludwig said the drama of the film is both the external threat of the war, as well as the moral dread of what the soldiers experienced internally.
“This isn’t about the battles. Those are heroic and those are terrifying in their own right, but this isn’t about that. This is about the time in between, what these guys are struggling through,” Ludwig said.
Port complimented Ludwig’s intensity during the film. “There were one or two times where … you were so intense I had to pull you way to the side and say ‘dude, are you okay?’ and then also, and it was heartbreaking for me to say, ‘you’ve got to back off a little.'”
Port also complimented the realistic nature with which Brochu portrayed his own character.
Brochu, whose father was a U.S. Army Special Forces “Green Beret” said he shaped his character off of what he learned as a “military brat.” Brochu said, “There’s so many parallels that I feel with that character.”
The cast and crew also discussed some of the difficulties of filming in freezing temperatures on set during the Canadian winter.
As he considered his own character in the film, U.S. Army Capt. Rodgers, Munro recalled his upbringing being a captain in various team sports throughout his life. “I was always the one on the back of the bus telling jokes, but I was always the one on the ice that came to defend any of my teammates all the time. . . so I really do equate bringing that personality to Rodgers.”
Munro told Port, “The reason why everyone showed up to do what they did bro, is because you are a leader, you’re a guy that people will go into the trenches for, and Rick Dugdale is the same way. You guys worked your asses off and you were the captains of the ship and you were right there with every one of those young guys.”
“Damn right,” Ludwig agreed.
Bausch said there were sections of the movie that he felt went beyond the book and added to the story he had envisioned.
“The things that you added, I thought added to the book,” Bausch said. “There’s this scene over a suspension bridge that is just stunning. It’s one of the best scenes I think I’ve ever seen in a film and its so so tense and the tension all the way across, all the way across is building and building and then it seems to let down and then something happens and it’s amazing, I mean it’s genius. And then for me, I turned to Lisa, my wife, and said ‘God damn, that’s good. Jesus, and I didn’t think of that.'”