As HBO viewers begin drinking in the second half of The Pacific this weekend, they'll see the story line of Marine Eugene B. Sledge really kick in - which means they'll be seeing a lot more of Joe Mazzello.
Just like co-star James Badge Dale, Mazzello made sure he read his character's memoir (1981's With the Old Breed) and met his widow and children.
The book was particularly helpful to prepare for a scene in which someone close to Sledge dies. Mazzello read the passage about that on-set, recalling: "I really felt like I was getting directions from the man himself. Eugene was speaking to me and telling me how he felt, and I just tried to use what he gave me and put that on-screen.
"And then also talking to his two sons - I felt like I was talking to Eugene; they had his same characteristics and attitudes and humor and beliefs, and I really felt like when I spoke to them that I was actually getting to converse with the man that I'll never be able to meet."
What struck him most about the book was that Sledge recounted "these brutal things that happened to him with total bluntness, like it's a grocery list," Mazzello says.
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