Writer-director David Ayer is all about in-your-face verisimilitude. For 2005's “Harsh Times,” he relayed his South Central childhood directly to screen. With 2012's “End of Watch,” he flocked to those same streets for a found footage exercise. And despite it's World War II setting, Ayer's ambition for raw intensity should keep his latest film, “Fury,” squarely in the real. Not every director would pull strings to get an actual 1943 tank out on his recreated battlefield.
In a new feature for the Sony Pictures release, Ayer and producer John Lesher walk us through the squadron of authentic vehicles the pair lined up for “Fury.” If the audience is going to understand why it took 50,000 American Sherman tanks wipe out 15,000 German Tigers, they have to see the hulking beast in action. In the film, Brad Pitt's Don “Wardaddy” Collier leads his men in what, on paper, looks like suicide mission. It's their Sherman, the “Fury” of the title, against a wave of German forces. That includes the Tiger 131, one of the few German tanks captured during the war that remained stationary at the Bovington Tank Museum… until Ayer came along. “Fury” will be the first feature to use an actual Tiger tank since WWII.
“Fury” recently bumped up its release date from November to Oct. 17, where Oscar hopefuls like “Argo,” “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” have recently thrived. We won't know if Ayer's movie has the manpower to roll over the competition until it plays for audiences, but this glimpse into the making-of touts a welcome alternative to the “prestige” war movie.