“I lay down in the grass and cried”: the actors suffered on the set of Civil War

On the occasion of the release of “Civil War”, here are five things to know about this blockbuster which plunges us into an America ravaged by a new civil war.

What is it about ? A frantic race through a fractured America which, in the near future, is more than ever on the razor’s edge.

A fiction so close and so real

Alex Garland, the writer and director of Civil War, imagined the possibility that violent conflict could ravage an unprepared nation. For him, whether it is a civil war or a war with a neighboring country, the reality of the conflict remains the same. He transposes into his film the images we know of the streets of Washington in war zones.

American landscapes, destroyed by violence, seem both surreal and surprisingly real. Wagner Moura, who plays Joel, was really disturbed when he read the script: “These images, which we are used to seeing on TV and which usually take place in distant countries, were taking place here in the United States, it was crazy and scary.”

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An intense shoot

In order to capture the full horror of the fighting, Alex Garland insisted on using blank weapons whenever possible: “The noise these machines make is very loud. Some of them, like the 50-caliber rifles, almost create an air vacuum, almost like someone tapping you on the chest.”

Kirsten Dunst had to wear earplugs to drown out the sound of gunshots on set. She remembers : “One day I was very far from the sets to have my makeup done, and the whole caravan shook because of an explosion they were making.” She even says she suffered from post-traumatic stress the two weeks following the end of filming.

For his part, Wagner Moura was marked by one of the strongest scenes in Civil War, when the group comes across a mass grave and a troop of soldiers, one of whom is played by Jesse Plemons:

“Filming that sequence was very brutal and very physical. At the end of that whole day of begging for my life and the lives of my friends, I remember laying down in the grass and crying for almost half an hour.”

Variety / A24

Jesse Plemons

Jesse Plemons in the game

Jesse Plemons, who makes a short but notable appearance in Civil War, joined the cast of the blockbuster only a few days before filming began. The reason ? The actor who was originally supposed to play his character withdrew from the project. Kirsten Dunst, Jesse’s wife, then recommended her husband to director Alex Garland. The couple had already filmed together in the second season of Fargo and Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog.

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Military advisor

Alex Garland called in military advisor Ray Mendoza. He was given carte blanche to choreograph, with stunt coordinators Jeff Dashenaw and Wesley Scott, the final sequence showing the siege of the Capitol. Around fifty stuntmen were mobilized.

The director specifies: “Ray is a former Navy SEAL, so those who were in that sequence were his colleagues. We just asked them to do what they did in everyday life. So I didn’t give them notes or explained how they should play. The only thing I told them was not to worry about the camera.

Mendoza adds: “I hired a lot of veterans and I thought it was great to see them immerse themselves in the scene. Whether it’s the dialogue, the atmosphere or the shootout scenes, everything is very faithful to reality .”

A Yellowstone survivor!

Note the casting of Jefferson White in the role of Dave. The actor is best known for playing Jimmy Hurdstrom in Yellowstone, a former drug addict who joins Kevin Costner’s team to work on the latter’s ranch. This endearing character has undergone notable development in the hit series and is very popular with fans.

In Civil War, Jefferson White plays a video journalist rival of Joel, the photojournalist played by Wagner Moura.

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