Tank Museum reflects on brush with Brad Pitt as Fury gets set for London Film Festival

By Culture24 Reporter | 15 September 2014

David Ayer, the Director of new Brad Pitt film Fury, says the cast's return to England will be a "homecoming" after borrowing blockbuster tanks from a much-loved museum

A photo of people in suits standing in front of tanks inside a museum
Left to right: Director/Writer David Ayer, Logan Lerman, Brad Pitt, Jon Bernthal and Producer Bill Block pose in front of a Sherman Tank during the Fury photo call at The Tank Museum in Bovington© Getty Images / Sony Pictures Entertainment / QED International / Tank Museum
When Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf re-enact the heroics of a daring US Army tank crew during the final month of World War II in the forthcoming blockbuster Fury, theirs will also be the first contemporary film to use a genuine Tiger tank, loaned from the receptive Tank Museum in Dorset.

Curators at the museum say writer-director David Ayer was determined to make the film “as historically accurate as possible” when he originally contacted the collection in Bovington, which welcomed Pitt and a few of his fellow cast members last month. They toured a display which includes the Tiger 131 tank loaned to the set for two weeks.

In an unprecedented agreement, the museum also allowed its Sherman to act as the “hero” tank for the film, clashing with the Tiger in scenes portraying the Allies behind German lines at the end of the war.

“We hear how well the British film industry is doing and, having seen those skills at work on the set, it was fantastic to realise that the collection here is part of that success,” said David Willey, the museum’s Curator, who saw the cast visit the ranges at Lulworth, where they witnessed modern British Army tanks in action.

“With our unrivalled collection, our contacts and staff we were an obvious choice for the filmmakers to consult. After witnessing the care and attention that has gone in to making this war film, we really look forward to seeing the end results."

The film was shot in Oxfordshire late last year, when staff from the museum cared for the vehicles and stayed on set with a recovery tank in case of breakdowns.

Pitt’s battle-hardened army sergeant, Wardaddy, commands a Sherman and her five-man crew on a deadly mission in Ayer’s script, facing overwhelming odds against enemies who outnumber and outgun them.

The actor’s previous film set in World War II, 2009's Inglourious Basterds, grossed more than $321 million worldwide.

The film will also close this year’s London Film Festival in a finale at Odeon Leicester Square in October which will offer fans an early chance to see it.

“Rarely is a film so successful at balancing the human drama of war with such thrilling action sequences,” said Clare Stewart, the Director of the festival for the British Film Institute, calling Fury a “resounding cinematic achievement.”

“We look forward to welcoming David Ayer and Brad Pitt to London as we draw the 58th festival to a monumental close.”

Ayer said the closing night celebration would be “a great honour”.

“It’s a true pleasure to be returning to England, where we shot the film,” he reflected.

“The fields of Oxfordshire and Bovingdon Airfield in Hertfordshire were our home for 12 weeks last year, so it’s something of a homecoming for us to present the movie at its European premiere.”


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More from Culture24's coverage of the Tank Museum:

Jeremy Paxman digs for victory at the Tank Museum

Tank Museum acquires replica Mark IV World War I Tank from Steven Spielberg's War Horse

Tank Museum to spruce up Mark I German Tiger Tank after winning £20,000 cash boost
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