Steven Spielberg changed the way Hollywood perceived war movies with his 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan. With an ensemble cast led by Tom Hanks, the movie follows a group of US soldiers under Captain John Miller’s command on a mission to locate and save Private James Francis Ryan.
The movie featured a lot of painful moments that deeply impacted the audience. However, Steven Spielberg revealed that one of the film’s most emotionally powerful scenes had less violence and involved another actor, not Hanks or Matt Damon, who played the titular role.
Steven Spielberg’s Most Painful Scene In The Movie Involved This Actor
In Steven Spielberg’s epic war film, as the group embarks on their mission to find Private Ryan, they encounter several challenges along the way. Among the soldiers is Corporal Timothy Upham, a French-German interpreter who lacked any combat skills, played by Jeremy Davis. Davis is popularly known for his voice role as Baldur in the video game series God of War.
In a scene near the climax of the movie, Private Stanley Mellish, played by Adam Goldberg, engages in brutal hand-to-hand combat with a German soldier. The fight ends with Mellish being stabbed and killed. Throughout this scene, Upham is nearby, hearing the fight, almost frozen by the chaos surrounding him. The fear is evident in Upham’s face, and as he comes to terms with Mellish’s death, he breaks down in tears.
It is interesting to note that Steven Spielberg came up with the idea for the scene on the day of the shoot. The Jaws director’s spontaneous decision gave rise to one of the most memorable and poignant scenes in war movies.
Steven Spielberg Wanted Jeremy Davies’ Character To Represent The Audience
Steven Spielberg understood the profound impact of wars on different people before diving into the subject. For the research of the movie, Spielberg visited several US war veterans who gave insights into the realities of warfare and its effects on soldiers. But, the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial director wanted to show the audience’s perspective in the film – those who are not trained and not ready for this kind of violence. Jeremy Davies shared the Jurassic Park director’s idea for his character:
“Halfway through the shoot. Steven took me aside and said he’d seen some of the dailies, and that he’d been inspired to start telling Ryan from Upham’s POV. He told me that Upham represented the audience more than any other character, given that, of course, most of us will never experience war, and Upham was only trained to serve as an interpreter in non-combat situations.”
Saving Private Ryan grossed $482 million at the box office, becoming one of the biggest hits that year. The film went on to win numerous awards, including the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest war films in cinematic history.
Saving Private Ryan is now available for streaming on Paramount Plus.
Source: LA Times