Platoon, Oliver Stone’s gut-wrenching war epic that was based on his own Vietnam War, almost never got made because money issues and films like Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter had already successfully portrayed the war experience. But when Platoon finally did happen some 15 years after Stone had originally written the script it became a lauded success whose impact is still appreciated 30 years later.
If you’re a fan of the film and/or an admirer of Stone’s and you want to get a sense of the goings on behind the scenes, take a look at this list off factoids.
1. Oliver Stone was hoping that Jim Morrison would appear in the movie. It seems odd that Stone would have any hopes of Morrison appearing in his movie considering that singer died 15 years before the film came out, but at one time it was a real possibility. Oliver Stone told Entertainment Weekly that he had been working on his Vietnam War epic since the late 60s and had gotten a rough draft to Jim Morrison in 1971.
“It was another version of it — a very mythic version. The character dies in Vietnam and goes to the Underworld. A lot of mythology. I couldn’t deal with Vietnam yet in a completely realistic way at that point. And I did send it to Morrison because it had a lot of Doors music in it. And he had it in his apartment in Paris when he died. It was returned to me in 1990 when I made The Doors. Very bizarre.”
2. The actors really were getting high on set. Whether it was a commitment to realism or Charlie Sheen just broke into Oliver Stone’s personal stash, the actors opted for real weed for the “underworld scene.” William Dafoe has said that by the time the cameras actually started rolling though most of the high had worn off and nobody felt much like acting.