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Nellis Airmen play role in Hollywood Transformers film

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Nellis Airmen look on during filming of the Transformers movie on location at the Hoover Dam June 9, while waiting for their opportunity to get in front of the camera. Sixty-five Airmen from Nellis served as extras for the film, playing Army medivac troops, Sector-7 commandos, Hoover Dam security guards and tourists. Filming began at Hoover Dam June 8 and ended Saturday. U.S. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Kenny Kennemer)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Nellis Airmen look on during filming of the Transformers movie on location at the Hoover Dam June 9, while waiting for their opportunity to get in front of the camera. Sixty-five Airmen from Nellis served as extras for the film, playing Army medivac troops, Sector-7 commandos, Hoover Dam security guards and tourists. Filming began at Hoover Dam June 8 and ended Saturday. U.S. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Kenny Kennemer)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- There’s more than meets the eye to the 65 Nellis Airmen who played small roles in the live-action movie, Transformers, movie currently being filmed.

The Airmen, who were used as extras June 8 through 10 during filming at Hoover Dam just outside Las Vegas, played the roles of Army medevac troops and commandos for the Dreamworks and Paramount Pictures production, which is slated for release July 4, 2007.

“We’re playing background characters,” said Staff Sgt. Charles Davis, 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron aircrew resource manager. “I was a Hoover Dam security guard yesterday, and today I play a Sector 7 commando.”

Nellis’ involvement in the picture is part of a larger involvement by both the Air Force and the Department of Defense. Army Blackhawks, F-22A Raptors, CV-22 Ospreys, A-10 Warthogs and F-117 Nighthawks are just some of the military aircraft that make appearances in the film, said Capt. Christian Hodge, the Air Force Entertainment Liaison Office’s project officer for the film

“The Air Force is fully engaged in the film,” he said. “It’s had the most Air Force involvement of any movie since Air Force One.”

The production team spent two weeks at Holloman AFB, N.M., and the Army’s collocated White Sands Missile Range. A combat controller was also used to train the actor playing the Air Force character on the mannerisms and language of the career field.

“The working relationship with the Air Force is fantastic,” said Ian Bryce, a producer for Transformers. “It’s just been a first-class relationship from beginning to end, and one that (the director) and I are very protective of. We wanted to portray the military in the strongest possible light, and I think we are.”

Accuracy is a key reason for the Defense Department’s involvement in a film, said Army Col. Dan Wolfe, Department of Defense project officer for this production. “We want to make sure the film gives a true and accurate depiction of the military.”

“Whenever DoD is approached for support, one of the things that we do is try to ensure that any military depiction is accurate and real,” he said. “We want to make sure the servicemembers being depicted represent the overwhelming majority of the armed forces – that they don’t engage in behavior on camera that they wouldn’t really engage in.”

However, that’s not to say that the Defense Department tries to censor what the film says.

“The Department of Defense will support a movie even if it doesn’t portray the military in the most positive light, as long as the portrayal is accurate,” Colonel Wolfe said. “The more authentic a movie can be, the better that movie will appear to the audience.”

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