VIDEO: ‘Smartass’ reservists made Braveheart a success

Irish tax breaks and "smartass" army reservists helped make the movie ‘Braveheart’ a huge success, Mel Gibson reveals in newly-released footage taken during the epic shoot.

VIDEO: ‘Smartass’ reservists made Braveheart a success

Some 1,600 members of the Irish Defence Forces were hired as extras during filming of the Oscar-winning movie at the Curragh Camp in 1994.

Twenty years later, they’re enjoying a trip down memory lane thanks to a remastered documentary entitled ‘Braveheart Extra’ just released by the Irish Defence Forces’ audio visual unit.

In it, the Braveheart actor/director, who played Scottish warrior William Wallace, admires the discipline and professionalism of the young Irish soldiers.

“They’re terrific. You know, they’ve been really good, really professional. Like any group of young men, they’re probably 75% smartasses, but they’re okay. They’re having fun I think,” Gibson tells the three-part documentary.

The actor also reveals that the last-minute move from Scotland to shoot the film here was the right decision because Ireland had “everything you need”.

“It’s all positive stuff and it looks good. Creatively (Ireland) worked better for us. You can find battlefields that work close to a major centre and logistically it’s just an easier task to complete. There’s tax concessions here (but) they’re more than used up in just the move from Scotland because it was a late decision,” he added.

English actor Alun Armstrong, who played the Earl of Mornat, said the Irish ‘extras’ were the best he had worked with.

“They’re just so self-disciplined. You look at the hillside and there’s nobody there and you turn away for a couple of minutes and chat and you turn back and suddenly there are 1500 guys there, it’s just unbelievable,” he said.

YouTube links to the documentary have been posted on the Facebook page of the Irish Defence Forces which praises the FCÁ and An Slua Muirí “whose punctuality and professionalism contributed so much to this landmark in cinema”.

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