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Laurence Fishburne

Laurence Fishburne Lied About His Age to Get A Role in Apocalypse Now

Laurence John Fishburne III is a multi-awarded American actor. He earned three Emmy awards and a Tony for his roles on stage and screen. He has been praised for his films’ decisive, militant, and authoritative characters. He is best known for his role as Morpheus in the Matrix film series. But did you know that Laurence Fishburn lied about his age for a role?

Laurence Fishburne was only 14 years old when he was cast in “Apocalypse Now”. He lied about his age to get the role. The film’s production took so long, he was already 17 by the time it was released.

Laurence Fishburne’s Lie that Started His Career

Laurence Fishburne made his major film debut in the war drama Apocalypse Now; here’s how the then-teenager landed the role. 

Laurence Fishburne plays Tyrone Mr. Riverboat, a 17-year-old member of the riverboat patrol crew. Clean Miller, a cocky Bronx native, is tragically killed in a riverboat attack while listening to a tape from his mother. Mr. Clean is one of the youngest soldiers Willard encounters, which isn’t surprising given that Fishburne was only 14 years old when Apocalypse Now began filming.

Fishburne told CBC that he lied about his age in his audition, telling Coppola he was 16 when he was actually two years younger. Apocalypse Now took over two years to film, so by the time Fishburne finished all of the scenes, he was 17 – the same age as his character.

Today, everyone recognizes Fishburne as a phenomenal Oscar, Tony, and Emmy-nominated actor who has led franchises such as The Matrix, dramas, and comedy TV shows like Blackish.

Apocalypse Now is responsible for all of Fishburne’s roles that have influenced modern Hollywood, and audiences and the industry owe a debt of gratitude to the film. Apocalypse Now was Fishburne’s first significant role after a small part in a minor movie a few years prior, and his first big part turned out to be in what is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.

That movie was really the beginning of me thinking of myself as an artist. It was the beginning of my understanding of cinema, it was the beginning of my understanding of the world, because I was suddenly taken out of Brooklyn and I was in the Philippines in the middle of Asia. I was in a place where most of the people looked like me, so it opened up a whole world of possibilities. My work with Francis on Apocalypse Now and all the films I did afterwards with him The Cotton Club, Rumble Fish, Gardens of Stone really shaped me and formed me as an artist.

Laurence Fishburne

(Source: Screen Rant

What is Laurence Fishburne’s Traumatizing Experience Filming Apocalypse Now? 

Apocalypse Now played a vital role in Fishburne’s career. But he was also involved in a harrowing behind-the-scenes situation. He befriended Martin Sheen’s son, Emilio Esteves, who played an extra in a deleted scene from Apocalypse Now when he was 14 years old.

When the boys were out on a boat on set one day, they got stuck in the mud. Esteves jumped in to help clear the mud but ended up getting stuck and nearly drowning. Martin Sheen recently recalled the incident, claiming that Laurence Fishburne drew him back onto the boat and saved his life. (Source: Screen Rant)

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