Trivia: Band of Brothers

Trivia page for the TV series Band of Brothers

In what seems to be a combination of Due to the Dead, The Dead Have Names, Never Speak Ill of the Dead, Shrine to the Fallen, and other remembrance tropes, cable networks show the series without any edits to or censorship of the graphic nature of war or the horrors of the concentration camps.

  • Ability Over Appearance:
    • Damian Lewis said as much in an interview. He talked about going to the audition and how the actor in front of him looked so much like the real Dick Winters. He said he felt for sure that guy was going to get the part. For the record, the real Winters was blond and Lewis is redhead - and he received near universal critical acclaim. Malarkey received a similar Adaptation Dye-Job, being blonde in real life and played by redhead Scott Grimes.
    • As noted under Dawson Casting below, a couple of the actors were notably different ages from their characters in real life. Liebgott was around thirty when the war ended, and Ross McCall was twenty four during filming. The reverse is the case for Buck Compton - where he was twenty three in real life and Neal McDonough was a full ten years older than him. Ditto for Bull Randleman, who was the same age as Compton and played by the thirty five year old Michael Cudlitz. It's widely agreed that all the casting choices were spot-on regardless.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Retroactively for Eion Bailey. Webster is a student of literature and goes on to become a writer, eventually writing about sharks and getting lost at sea. In Once Upon a Time he again plays a writer who nearly got lost at sea, since he's Pinocchio.
    • Perconte complains about the quality of army spaghetti. James Madio played a big spaghetti lover in the sitcom USA High.
    • A minor one. During one of the Currahee runs, a soldier hurts his leg and nearly falls. Sobel orders them not to help him. David Schwimmer tore ligaments in his knee during boot camp and did that scene with the injury (which took over a year to heal).
  • Actor-Shared Background:
    • Colonel Robert F. Sink's actor, Captain Dale Dye, is a retired US Marine who fought in the Vietnam war.
    • Ron Livingston is a Yale graduate just like his character, Captain Nixon.
    • A retroactively hilarious one. Ross McCall is not Jewish. Although his character Liebgott is Jewish on the show, he wasn't in real life.
  • Cast the Expert: Dale Dye is an actual retired military man who specializes in training actors for war movies.
  • The Danza: Private James Miller is played by James McAvoy.
  • Dawson Casting:
    • Several early-20s characters are played by actors in their early-to-mid 30s (e.g., Bull Randleman, Blithe, Buck Compton, John Martin, Guarnere). Col. Sink, in his late 30s, is played by Dale Dye in his late 50s. Most of the actors are older than their historical counterparts, many of whom turned 20 in 1942.
    • Inverted for Liebgott. Historically, he is supposed to be older than most of the others in Easy Company (he was 32 by the time he was discharged at the end of the war), but he's played by a younger actor.
    • The Dawson Casting even induces a bit of a Tear Jerker because some of the actors were older than the characters they played were when they died. It's also worth pointing out that war does age a person rather strongly.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
    • Fifty of the main cast members endured a ten day boot camp to prepare them for their roles. During this time they had to refer to each other by their character names, as well as proper rank. For the non-American actors, they had to speak in American accents and slang words (and were punished for not doing so).
    • Shane Taylor was also expected to act as a medic during the boot camp. While it was going on, Neal McDonagh's weapon went off and a shard of it cut his chin. He went to Taylor, expecting him to patch it up since he was playing the medic.
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • David Schwimmer was isolated from most of the other cast members during boot camp, to help generate a feeling of resentment among the men. Schwimmer joked that his only friend on set was Simon Pegg - who played Sobel's right hand man Evans.
    • Because Webster wasn't in episodes six and seven, Eion Bailey went on vacation to India while the rest of the cast was filming. The cast members used the jealousy and resentment they felt towards him when he came back to channel their characters' feelings towards Webster in episode eight.
  • Fake American: The list of British actors playing American characters includes: Damian Lewis (Winters), Ross McCall (Liebgott), Shane Taylor (Doc Roe), Marc Warren (Blithe), Matthew Leitch (Talbert), Rick Warden (Welsh), Robin Laing (Heffron), Stephen McCole (Heyliger), Tim Matthews (Penkala), Craig Heaney (Cobb), Tom Hardy (Janovec), James McAvoy (Miller), Simon Pegg (Evans), Andrew Lee Potts (Jackson) and a good few others - as this was filmed primarily in England. Non-Brits included Michael Fassbender (German-Irish), Peter O'Meara (Irish) as Norman Dike as Christensen and Peter Youngblood Hills (South African) as Shifty Powers.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Interestingly, most examples of this trope were in this show before they became famous for other roles, which makes this more Retroactive Recognition. From the top:
  • Irony as She Is Cast / Casting Gag:
    • Michael Fassbender has a small role as a soldier who it's implied can't speak Germannote  when in real life he's half-German and fluent in the language.
    • Peter O'Meara says he was a huge military fan and idolised many war movies growing up. Highly ironic that he then played the officer who was incompetent in combat.
  • Playing with Character Type: Captain Sobel is essentially Ross Geller's negative personality traits (pettiness, refusal to take responsibility for his actions, being a Know-Nothing Know-It-All) taken Up to Eleven with none of his positive traits.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: This was the intent of producers, casting most of the men based on their resemblances to their real-life counterparts. It's especially evident with Matthew Settle (Speirs), Frank John Hughes (Guarnere), Donnie Wahlberg (Lipton), Rick Gomez (Luz) and Shane Taylor (Doc Roe).
  • Star-Making Role: For Damian Lewis.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The script called for Lipton to be cold and hostile to Lt Jones when he first arrives. Donnie Wahlberg recalls going over the scene with the real Lipton, who said he actually got on very well with Jones in real life - and thus he adjusted the way he said his lines.
    • Malarkey was in the script to go on the eponymous "The Last Patrol" but the real one insisted that he wasn't on it.
    • Matthew Settle auditioned entirely for the part of Nixon. During the callbacks, Tom Hanks himself personally asked Settle to read for Speirs. Likewise Michael Fassbender had auditioned reading for Speirs.
    • James Madio intended for Perconte's "Reason You Suck" Speech to O'Keefe to involve him physically attacking the young private. He said that the change was absolutely for the better.