The director of Brad Pitt’s new movie has offered his “heartfelt apologies” after filming Nazi war scenes in an English village on Remembrance Day, provoking outrage.
US film-maker David Ayer staged pre-dawn explosions and had extras act out battle scenes dressed as Nazis as the rest of the UK readied itself to honour the nation’s servicemen yesterday.
— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) November 11, 2013
The team behind the film, called 'Fury', were said to have refused to stop filming over the weekend, despite a plea from the nearby Watlington Parish Council.
Producers sent residents leaflets last month warning them to expect gunfire and explosions, according to the Daily Mirror.
But Ayer expressed his sorrow online after a backlash.
He wrote: “My heartfelt apologies for any disrespect on Remembrance Day. I am a veteran myself. It is an honour to film here in the UK.”
He also posted a picture of servicemen at a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
The inappropriateness of the filming had earlier been condemned.
Parish council chairman Ian Hill said: “Whoever is responsible is insensitive. A letter has been sent to express our feelings of how inappropriate it was for Sherman tanks to be rolling across the countryside while explosions were being let off. Local people are very angry.”
Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said the decision to film was disrespectful.
“At the very time a nation pays tribute to those who gave their lives to stop Nazis rampaging across our land it seems grossly insensitive to impose such scenes on villagers,” he told the Mirror.
“A director whose film is profiting from the sacrifices made by 800,000 British and American soldiers in the Second World War has a duty to ensure his crew are allowed to pause to pay proper respect to the dead.”
Shadow defence minister Kevan Jones said: “I’m astonished producers would not consider it to be inappropriate to film such scenes on Remembrance Sunday.
“And it is outrageous appeals from locals to reconsider plans to film on such an occasion were ignored.”
The film’s producer Sony did not respond to efforts to seek a comment.