Today, the Shattered Lens celebrates the 78th birthday of the iconic screenwriter and director, John Milius!
While director Francis Ford Coppola definitely put his own stamp on 1979’s Apocalypse Now, the film started life as a script written by John Milius and the film itself is full of dialogue that could only have been written by Milius. The most famous example is Robert Duvall’s monologue about the smell of napalm in the morning. Actually, the entire helicopter attack feels like pure Milius. Reportedly, Duvall’s character was originally named Colonel Kharnage but, by the time the movie was made, his name had become Kilgore. It’s still not exactly a subtle name but it’s not quite as obvious as Kharnage.
(When James Caan read the script, he loved the role so much that he was offended to not be offered it and, as a result, he turned down offers to play not only Willard but also Kurtz.)
Happy birthday, John Milius!