In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, producer Daemon Hillin talks about the action/wartime movie from Saban Films and Paramount Pictures, Battle For Saipan, starring Casper Van Dien and Louis Mandylor. Discover what happens when a lone medic must defend his wounded band of brothers from their enemy.
THE PLOT: “On July 7th, 1944, a US Army hospital on the remote island of Saipan is overrun by Japanese forces during a relentless attack. Outgunned and surrounded by the enemy, a lone medic puts it all on the line to lead a band of wounded warriors to safety.
Now in select theaters and On Demand, producer Daemon Hillin opens up about the cast for Battle For Saipan, the research behind the story, and translating historical events into fiction. Join us as we head on over to our conversation about the craft of filmmaking.
VILLAIN MEDIA: Before taking on the narrative, how did you discover the battle of the Pacific campaign?
DAEMON HILLIN: I have been a WW2 and south Pacific theatre fanatic my whole life. With the amount of time I spend in Asia, I felt like it was a good time in my career to make films about the heroes that fought for our country.
VM: Did the project require a lot of reasearch?
DH: I was inspired by historical events to find a writer to research this. In which our writer and director, Brandon Slagle, conducted research to ensure that there were similar buildings and structures in Saipan at the time that we could match as close to what was available to us in Thailand. For instance the location we chose as the exterior of the hospital strongly resembled an actual photograph of a building that was used as a hospital by the US.
VM: Tell me about putting the ensemble cast together for the film.
DH: I put this cast together with the help of a brilliant talent manager in Hollywood named Jeff Goldberg and his client Jeff Fahey. They both played a crucial role in the casting of this film, and gave us inspirational ideas for each character.
Casper Van Dien was perfect for the role of the surgeon, from his good looks to his kind heart, which were showcased on screen. Jeff Goldberg highly recommended Louis Mandylor and this was the first time I worked with him. He is one of the most talented actors and directors I have met, and even a close friend of mine. Jeff Fahey, who is a long time friend of mine, always blesses our movies when working together with his extraordinary talent and capability to bring things to life.
VM: Tell me about distinguishing the facts from fiction.
DH: While our events are fictionalized, the heroics and heart of the soldiers is quite accurate. At the time, it was discouraged that medics and surgeons were armed and much of the hand to hand combat is stylized, though one could argue that Louis’s character could have picked up various fighting styles during his travels since there were hints of him being well traveled.
VM: You mentioned Louis Mandylor’s role in the film. Is there another character in the film based or inspired by real soldiers?
DH: Casper’s character Vic was loosely inspired by a Dentist named Ben Solomon who was
stationed in Saipan as a surgeon who, during the final Banzai charge, defended his hospital post and killed close to 100 enemy soldiers before unfortunately losing his own life. He was posthumously given a purple heart by Obama.
VM: Tell me about the emphasis of the medical aspects in the film.
DH: It felt suitable to show more than just the soldiers but also how this affected the lives of everyone involved, especially the nurses.