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Brass Balls

In 2000, Ewen Bremner and his Pearl Harbor co-stars spent a week in a U.S. Army boot camp in preparation for the film.

The actors quickly discovered that their Hollywood status was meaningless to hard-bitten boot camp trainers. "By the second day, I thought, 'These guys think I'm just one of the soldiers. And that sucks!'" Ben Affleck recalled. "I didn't want to make my bed. I didn't want to clean my gun. And I didn't want to take my toothbrush to the f---ing floor in the bathroom."

Indeed, the physical demands were such that Bremner, whose previous "workouts" had consisted of occasional yoga classes, collapsed from exhaustion on the final day. "I was hallucinating, I couldn't walk properly, and my temperature was going bananas," he recalled. "They were sending someone to check on me every 15 minutes as I slept, to see if I was still breathing."

When a sergeant insisted on taking Bremner to the hospital, however, he intrepidly refused. "Ewen was like, 'I want to finish the mission, sir,'" Affleck recalled. "You could tell they were thinking, 'This kid has balls!'"

Indeed he did: Having survived, Bremner was presented with the camp's coveted "Brass Balls Award": a plaque sporting a pair of grenades dangling from a rope.

[The grueling experience left the cast well prepared to handle the film's famously tempestuous director (Michael Bay).]

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