Andrew Menzies’ production design for “Fury” is so good that audiences might think the crew simply filmed an old Sherman tank he found.
It wasn’t that easy.
Director David Ayer’s goal was to be “as authentic as we could be,” Menzies says. They studied thousands of photographs to capture every detail, down to the stitching on the soldiers’ jackets.
“It was difficult but well worth the effort,” he adds. “The actors and crew realized the level of realism we were aiming for, and I think it helped them.”
That authenticity extended to the two replicas of Fury, the tank that Brad Pitt and his team maneuver behind enemy lines in the Sony film. Fiberglass exteriors were built, with one added to the base of a modern tank, so Fury would move like a WWII-era, 29-ton machine; the other, used mostly for second unit, weighed only five or six tons. Otherwise, the two were identical, down to the smallest ding and dent.
The big challenge in creating the interior, Menzies says, was finding authentic pieces. “They needed to be removable,” he explained, “so you could get the camera into that position. It was all fragile — yet it all needed to hold up, as it was thrown around on a gimbal” to simulate battle action.