James has been in the edit for a couple of weeks with John Wilkinson [Editor] putting together a rough assembly of the material we have shot thus far. But yesterday the crew returned to Normandy for an extra day of filming with Top Gear’s Richard Hammond, our presenter. Today we were at the observation post at Pointe du Hoc, from which you get an incredible 180 degree view out to sea to where the massive landing fleet would have been waiting on D-Day.
Pointe du Hoc itself is rather extraordinary, like the face of the moon pock marked with huge bomb craters. James has written the PTCs [‘Pieces to Camera’] for Richard prior to filming, but we spend time rewriting some of these with Richard so he feels comfortable with the wording and delivery. This afternoon we do a ‘two-way’ between Richard and Simon, and James is particularly pleased with how this goes.
Simon has bought with him a giant blow up aerial reconnaissance photograph taken at midday on D-Day of a section of Omaha beach. He shows this to Richard, pointing out hundreds of small black specks on the beach which he explains are individual American soldiers. He explains that those lying perpendicular, near the top-end of the beach are the wounded – like Ray – who have been dragged up the beach, but those lying horizontal are the dead, washed in on the tide. It is very sobering.