Team Edwards supports Warner Brothers' 'Man of Steel'
by Laura Mowry
2/7/2012 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Through 11 days of filming, Team Edwards played a supporting role in the upcoming Warner Brothers production, "Man of Steel," with location, facilities, logistical support and numerous Airmen cast as extras.
The men and women of the Air Force Flight Test Center joined forces with fellow servicemembers from the Army, National Guard, and Marines to lend an authentic military presence to the film, which wrapped up shooting at Edwards Feb. 2.
"We needed a place where we could have aviation, the look of the Air Force, and also accommodate our unique logistical demands," said the supervising location manager, Bill Doyle. "When you factor in the close proximity to Los Angeles and the other nearby military instillations, Edwards just made sense."
Edwards, in close proximity to Hollywood and neighboring military instillations, has vast open space with unique landscapes and variety of aircraft making it an ideal location for the production.
In addition to providing logistical support for the film, approximately 200 servicemembers were cast as extras. Although a majority came from Edwards, other branches of service contributed, bringing an impressive display of skills to the film.
"Choosing to cast the servicemembers as extras was an easy decision. Not only did it make sense from a logistical standpoint with the incredible tactical skills that they bring to the table, but they really fill the uniform. It's a natural role for them and it works great," said Doyle. "Everyone in uniform has been hugely supportive. It has been an absolute pleasure working with them each and every day."
The decision to film at Edwards was made by the film's director, Zack Snyder.
"It was a great choice," said Mark Scoon, the Executive Vice President of Physical Production for Warner Brothers Pictures. "Our experience at Edwards has been beyond phenomenal, no matter how you look at it -- from the bottom up, or top down. There has been an extraordinary [amount of] cooperation across the board."
For Scoon, Edwards and its immense size played a critical role in allowing the film crew to accomplish its goals.
"The sheer size and scope of Edwards is incredible. It's truly remarkable that you can have all this filming going on and yet continue to accomplish the mission," Scoon said.
The varying landscapes and facilities unique to Edwards provided ideal surroundings for incorporating the military into the movie; easily accommodating Army, Air Force, and National Guard assets. The collaborative efforts not only met the production needs, but allowed Team Edwards to continue carrying out the day-to-day mission of flight test with no negative impacts.
"It's wonderful to welcome the film industry back to Edwards," said Col. Gregory E. Schwab, 95th Air Base Wing commander. "Because we are so close to Hollywood and we have this great 308,000 acres, not to mention the amazing mission of the 412th Test Wing; it provides a unique cross-section that you can't find anywhere else."
The Edwards community is no stranger to Hollywood productions, with the "Man of Steel" production serving as the latest example.
"Since the 1950's there has been a string of movies filmed here at Edwards. We're absolutely thrilled to have such a good rapport and working relationship with their community," said Schwab. "It's a tradition that makes Edwards, the Air Force, and the Department of Defense look good and we're proud that movies continue to be filmed here."
Although the Edwards landscape was impressive to film producer, Deborah Snyder, the Edwards community and the commitment of every man and woman in uniform to serve their country is what impressed her the most.
"It's just amazing to see all these people and their roles of protecting our country," she said. "These real Airmen and Soldiers give the movie such an incredible, authenticity. It has been so wonderful being able to work and talk with them."
Her first time at Edwards, Deborah was in awe of the array of aircraft and became fascinated with the size and capabilities of the C-17.
"I have never seen something so massive, what an incredible aircraft. The variety of aircraft and technology at Edwards are just unbelievable," Snyder said.
The C-17 was just one of the many aircraft the Warner Brothers crew had the chance to get up close to during their time at Edwards, thanks to the cooperative efforts put forth from the 412th Test Wing.
Lt. Col. Robert J. Poremski, 412th Operations Group standardization and evaluation deputy chief, held the responsibility for overseeing the assets of the 412th Test Wing and ensured that they were properly taken care of and used as agreed upon between the U.S. Air Force and Warner Brothers.
During his time working with the film crew, Poremski bridged the gap between military protocol and Hollywood.
"Work at Edwards is highly technical and structured and the entertainment industry is far more fluid and spontaneous in their day-to-day operations. Balancing the creative nature of the movie crew with the rigorous, disciplined approach at Edwards has been challenging, but very fulfilling," said Poremski.
Pleased with the way Team Edwards stepped up to accommodate production needs; Poremski looks forward to seeing the end result.
"It provides us with an opportunity to showcase the highly trained and professional servicemembers, facilities and aircraft. Ultimately, I hope everyone enjoys the movie. The whole experience has been positive, and I hope I have the opportunity to work with the film industry again," said Poremski.
Brig. Gen. Robert C. Nolan II, commander, Air Force Flight Test Center, was highly impressed by the efforts put forth by Team Edwards to make filming a complete and total success. However, what amazed him most was successful execution of the day-to-day mission.
"I was really impressed with all the hard work that the men and women of the Air Force put into making this project a success," said Nolan. "But what impresses me the most, is the effort put forth each and every day by those same men and women who deliver capability to the Air Force. From my perspective, they are the real super-heroes."