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Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2002

Captain, you heard of Col. Walter E. Kurtz?

You think you know your "Apocalypse Now" trivia? Then put your knowledge to this test. Answers below.

1) Which actor originally was cast in Martin Sheen's lead role of Capt. Willard?

a) Steve McQueen

b) Robert De Niro

c) Harvey Keitel

d) Jack Nicholson

2) Which actor nearly died of a heart attack on set?

a) Marlon Brando

b) Dennis Hopper

c) Martin Sheen

d) Robert Duvall

3) "Apocalypse Now" was originally slated by Coppola's Zoetrope studio to be directed by:

a) John Milius

b) Martin Scorsese

c) George Lucas

d) Terrence Malick

4) The Doors' song originally planned for use in the film was:

a) "Light My Fire"

b) "Break on Through"

c) "The End"

d) "Riders on the Storm"

5) The groundbreaking soundtrack by Walter Murch was recorded in:

a) Dolby stereo

b) quadrophonic sound

c) quintaphonic sound

d) digital surround sound

6) The "severed heads" scattered around Kurtz's jungle compound were:

a) prosthetic latex masks

b) computer-generated effects

c) extras buried up to their necks

d) actual heads from corpses

7) The helicopters used in the Air Cav attack scene came courtesy of:

a) the U.S. Armed Forces

b) Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos

c) the Australian military

d) captured U.S. surplus provided by the North Vietnamese government

8) Francis Coppola had an on-set affair with:

a) Playmate Cyndi Wood

b) Playmate Linda Carpenter

c) screenwriter Melissa Mathison

d) French Plantation actress Aurore Clement

9) The original ending to the film, as written in John Milius' script, was:

a) Willard calls in an airstrike, obliterating Kurtz's jungle compound

b) Willard kills Kurtz and takes his place as leader

c) Willard convinces Kurtz to return and face court-martial

d) Willard and Kurtz fight side-by-side as the compound is overrun like The Alamo by Viet Cong troops

and the winner is...

1) c: Harvey Keitel was fired for being too much of a city boy to handle the jungle. The other actors all declined the role, due to qualms about what looked to be a hellish shoot on location. Coppola tossed all his "Godfather" Oscars out the window in frustration.

2) d: Sheen collapsed from the stress of a never-ending shoot that stretched over 15 months. Hopper's substance abuse did not fell him, nor did Brando's obesity. Brando, in his contract, limited his time on set to two weeks maximum.

3) c: Lucas was long attached to John Milius' script, but was off making "American Graffiti" when the call came. Some say that "Star Wars" is Lucas' version of what he wanted to do with "Apocalypse" -- just read Darth Vader as Col. Kurtz, and the Rebel Alliance as the Viet Cong. (No, really!)

4) a: "Light My Fire" was specified in Milius' screenplay. Many Doors' tracks were tried over the course of two years of editing, but only "The End" remained in, um, the end.

5) c: Quintaphonic sound was quad sound from the four corners of the room, with a fifth channel under the screen, which contains most of the dialogue. Digital sound didn't exist then, silly.

6) c: The extras worked hard for the money. There were actual corpses strewn around the compound, too. The crew thought they were from the morgue, but actually the supplier was outsourcing from graves.

7) b: Ferdinand Marcos would do anything for a buck. The U.S. military was opposed to helping the film in any way. That may be why "Apocalypse Now" contains an element of truth.

8) b and c: Trick question. Coppola broke it off with Carpenter after his wife, Eleanor, justifiably laid down the law. Significantly, only Cyndi Wood and Colleen Camp appear in the second (restored) Playgirl sequence. The Mathison affair apparently continued for quite some time.

9) e: Yes, Milius envisioned a "Rambo" ending to the film, which Coppola eventually rejected. Milius imagined these to be Kurtz's last words: "We are chosen to be the warriors of heaven -- in this, the Twilight of the Gods . . . this . . . the Gotterdammerung . . . this the Apocalypse . . . now!"

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