Interview with Dale Dye

Dale Dye is currently playing the role of Porter in TNT’s new show “Falling Skies”. Dale is also co-starring in this summer’s “Larry Crowne”, directed by Tom Hanks.  If you have seen a movie in the war genre, it is most likely that he has worked on the film as the Military Technical Advisor.  He supervised such films as “Platoon” to “Saving Private Ryan”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Dale about “Falling Skies” and working in the business.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role as Porter in TNT’s “Falling Skies”?
Dale Dye: Porter is a recently retired professional military officer.  He is a native of Boston. He has been called on to be the professional head of a resistance group that has formed around the Boston area.  He has organized a of guys together into a milita group. It is like volunteers who arm themselves and undergo a little training and attempt to get some resistance going against the alien invaders.

MG: What drew you to the role?
DD: I guess it is typecasting at its best [laughs]. I am a former professional military guy for almost all my adult life, before I got into the weirdness that is show business.  Of course I know Steven Speilberg very well from previous projects that I worked with him on.  It just seemed like the the right role.  It was an opportunity to be the steady guy in this absolute mess of aliens invading the earth. I thought here is a hero shot, it is a chance to be the old, wise and sage professional mentor to a bunch of guys who are doing there best to resist against this situation.  I don’t want to say it was a no-brainer but I can definitely say it appealed to me.  I could see myself for real in that role.

MG: Even though the show is about alien invasion, do you feel the show is realistic and focuses on the character development?
DD: It really does.  Anytime you are talking about science fiction of this calibur with guys like Steven Speilberg and his team.  There is always the tempation of just making a jaw dropper and make it all about the spectical and to hell with the story and the characters.  I am not too interested in those types of projects.  When you have Steven Speilberg producing, I can guarantee you that is not doing to be the deal.  He is a consumate storyteller and I knew that coming on.  For this project, I saw he was going after those human emotions or elements that make the story so appealing. It was all there in the scripts.  Even though, I knew it was going to be a hell of a spectacle…the human story was still there.

MG: Tell us how has bit been working with the rest of the cast?
DD: It is always great to walk on the set and see a mixture of seasoned pros along with really anxious and talent younger actors.  That is what makes this project so appealing. You got guys like Noah Wyle, he has been around for a while and is a really good actor.  Will (Patton) also along with Noah were really pros.  You have people like Moon (Bloodstone) and some of the other younger actors, I think their best performances are brought out when they are working with old pros. Everyone was excited about working on this show.  We were shooting in Toronto.  I could sense that excitement while walking on the set.  This was a set in which there was a syngery going between both the veterans and the new actors, who were really trying to make their mark.  That is the way that film business should be by my perspective.

MG: You have taken on the role of Military Technical Advisor on many projects, do you enjoy this task?
DD: That is a awful long story [laughs]. It was among my believe that Hollywood wasn’t treating military characters and war in general in an appropriate impactful way.  You can do a lot of things when you are ignorant that people tell you can’t do.  I came out and said I wanted to find a fix it.  I was able to convince people how to get these things done.  We succeeded very well in my first project which was with Oliver Stone in the film “Platoon”. Oliver let me do it my way and we won four Academy Awards including Best Picture. In Hollywood, nothing succeeds like success.  I began to have people watching me train actors. They began saying “He is pretty convincing.  Maybe if we put him in front of the camera, then he can do it on film”  I guess they found some hidden talent in me somewhere.  It is kind of like Oliver told me when I appeared as Captain Harris in “Platoon”, he told me “If you ever take an acting lesson, I will never hire you again”. So there must be something there, I guess I have been a performer in my life in one way or another.

MG: Do you have a favorite film in that genre?
DD: There are couple that stand out for me, “Platoon” will always have have a soft spot in my heart.  This is due to the film success and the way I discovered to train actors and bring a certain performance to the screen.  It was also my big break.  I also love “Saving Private Ryan”.  In the television world, I love “Bands of Brothers” and “The Pacific”.  I think those films definitely stand out for me.

MG: You are featured in this summer’s “Larry Crowne” with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, tell us about working on that film?
DD: Tom has been a good personal film as well as a professional colleague. He kind of admires what I do.  I am always whinning to him how typecast I am.  I tell him “I can be a doctor, lawyer, or a politican…why am I always able to be stuck playing the military officer”.  I think Tom listened to it for a while and said “Hey listen, you get those roles because you are good at it”. I said “Yeah Yeah but…Yeah Yeah but…”  Eventually it came around that Tom wanted to see if I could do other things.  So when “Larry Crowne” came around I got a call and he said “Listen I got something for you” and I said “Ok, what uniform do I have to wear now”.  But in the film, I play his boss and I get to fire him in a wonderful little scene. It is ironic because he was hiring me.  “Larry Crowne” is probably one of the best written romantic comedies that I have ever seen and Tom is a tour de force in it.  I am glad to have a little shot at it.

MG: You are currently writting and directing your first film “No Better Place to Die”, what can you tell us about that?
DD: We are able to start shooting.  I am making my feature directorial debut. It is, naturally, a WWII D-Day film about the fight that the 82nd Airborne Division had at a very critical bridge in La Fiere. I am looking forward to it. I have done a lot of second unit directing.  I am also usually staging and choreographing combat.  This is a story I wrote and everyone is very excited about the script, so I guess it is good [laughs]. We will see whether or not I have learned over last 20 years from guys like Steven Speilberg, Tom Hanks, Oliver Stone, Robert Robert Zemeckis and many others.  If you are going to go to school, you definitely want those guys as your teachers.

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