From Steven Spielberg to Quentin Tarantino and Clint Eastwood, movies chronicling World War II are not just gritty and glorious, celebrating the best of America, but they can get seriously extensive. In fact, filming epic WWII movies can be a war itself on set, with gruelling shoots and demands for the actors to portray the conflict and struggle for authenticity — something actor, Jesse Kove discovered while shooting the upcoming WWII movie, D-Day.
In an exclusive with PopCulture.com, Kove admitted the shoot was "the most physically draining movie [he'd] ever done," additionally explaining that while it takes place during the Normandy landings, it actually tells a story many are less familiar with.
"It's actually about a group of the first army rangers that ever went in. They were trained by the British commandos and there was like 200 of them," Kove told PopCulture.com. "They went in and they were basically told to do this special mission, which was to go inland, and in this area called Pointe du Hoc. They had to scale these cliffs, shoot these, repel these hooks up, and scale these cliffs."
Kove adds that while these soldiers were being shot at and climbed to the top, they endured some harrowing challenges along the way.
"They then had to clear the bunkers out that were on top," he went on to say. "And then that's where their intel was told that the Germans had these cannons that were there that were pointed at Omaha Beach that would have killed a lot of the guys storming Omaha Beach.
"So they had to go in there, and take these cannons out. But when they got to the top after, unfortunately a lot of men died," Kove continued. "They weren't there, so they then had to go even more inland and they found them near these farm houses. These cannons were there, but they were hidden and they then destroyed them there. And this all happened on the same morning of when they stormed the beaches in Normandy."
In addition to Kove, the film also stars Weston Cage Coppola, former UFC fighters, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture.
"They are such nice guys. They really enjoyed being there," Kove said of working with Liddell and Couture, both of whom are MMA icons. "They were really very generous with their work and, they had a really great time."
Interestingly, Kove and Coppola have been good friends since high school, after bonding over their similar interests and another — more rare — type of shared experience: being the children of famous actors.
While Kove is the son of actor Martin Kove — best known for his roles in classics such as the original Karate Kid trilogy, as well as Rambo: First Blood Part II and 1975's Death Race 2000 — Coppola is the son of actor, Nicolas Cage (Face/Off, National Treasure). The pair have also already gone on to work together on numerous projects.
"We both actually met in theater class in high school and we just started talking about traveling and the arts and we both have a lot of similar things that we just love. And we started talking about all this stuff, we just became very close," Kove said of his long-time friendship with Coppola.
Coincidentally, the two friends didn't even know that the other had auditioned for D-Day, but discovered it one day while discussing new projects they had coming up.
"We were on the phone one day and we were just calling each other and he told me he had a callback for this movie," Kove recalled, "And I said, 'Oh, so do I, I have this callback with this movie as well.' And he's like, 'Oh, what is it for?' I said, 'It's for this World War II movie.' And I said, 'So was mine.' And we couldn't believe that we had both had booked the same movie. We had no idea. It's just so rare that anything like that ever happens."
As far as filming D-Day, Kove says they were intent on making sure their performances came across as realistic and authentic as possible. One way he prepared to do that, was by screaming his lines as loud as he could over the sounds of gunfire videos on YouTube.
"In the audition process, there was this point where I had to shout a lot of my lines over like gunfire and all this," he recalled. "So I remember there was one day that I was, I wanted to get this down. I was in my car and I literally went on YouTube and I played sounds of war on YouTube, on the phone. And I turned it up full volume in my car while I was driving on the freeway with the windows down and I was shouting my dialog over this sound of war. So I kinda got an understanding of what that was like."
Kove adds that the movie was "probably the most physically draining movie I've ever done," adding how he and Coppola and him would drive to set together.
"We would help each other out with our dialects," he disclosed. "I think each of us put a little bit of a southern dialect in our characters. We talked about things our characters were thinking, what we were doing at the time, and we helped each other out a lot, which was so much fun."
If getting to work with his best friend wasn't enough, Kove reveals during the filming of D-Day, his father stopped by set and wound up being offered a cameo on the film, which gave him yet another opportunity to work with his dad.
"He played this Polish rebel who we happen to stumble upon later on halfway through the movie that helps give us some intel into where to find these canons that we're looking for to destroy it," Kove said of Martin's role in the film." It's basically just a scene with he, Weston, and myself, and it was just a great, great scene."
Ultimately, for Kove, D-Day was more than just a movie he was acting in. It was also a way to use his talents as a means of honoring the men who fought hard and gave their lives in the name of freedom on that fateful day.0comments
"It was such a pleasure to dive into these characters, you know? Because they were real and they really did put their lives on the line," Kove added. "We really wanted to do them justice, and so maybe their families or whoever saw these people one day, they were able to be like, 'Wow, like look what these guys did.' And we really wanted to honor those men by our work."
D-Day will release in theaters, on demand and digital Sept. 13.