BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Tanks and troops appeared on the streets of Bangkok,
sparking fears that yet another military coup was being staged, local newspapers
reported on Dec. 14.
But the military deployment Dec. 13 turned out to be Hollywood hiring Thais to recreate
the Vietnam War.
The Bangkok Post reported that startled motorists around the Royal Plaza-a focus
of military action in coups past-telephoned to inquire whether another power grab
was under way.
Six tanks, 10 military trucks and about 2,000 Thai extras were hired for a scene
from "Heaven and Earth," directed by Oliver Stone. The movie tells the
real life story of a Vietnamese woman caught up in the war.
Stone, a Vietnam War combat veteran, is the director of several popular films including
"Wall Street," "JFK" and the award-winning Vietnam movie "Platoon."
Most of the shooting for "Heaven and Earth" has been done on the Thai resort
island of Phuket. A section of the capital was used to recreate a typical Vietnamese
The Royal Plaza, around which several 19th and early 20th century buildings are set,
was used to recreate Saigon, the capital of what was once South Vietnam.
Military coups have plagued Thailand since 1932 when absolute monarchy was abolished.
Many have been bloodless and consisted of a show of force, often tanks rumbling through
the streets of Bangkok.
Last May, the military gunned down pro-democracy demonstrators during four days of
street violence. The protests led to the ouster of a military strongman and democratic