War is hell. But sex, that’s even tougher, at least when Annaud (”The Lover”) is behind the camera. ”We shot scenes of troops crossing the Volga River with explosions going off everywhere, and that was no problem,” the director says. ”But when Jude and Rachel [Weisz] have to make love inside a tunnel in a bunker amidst a group of sleeping soldiers, THAT’S a real test of nerve.”
The true story of a World War II duel between a Russian shepherd turned sniper (Law) and a refined German officer (Harris) sent to kill him, the film costars Fiennes as the Soviet propagandist who builds Law’s skilled marksman character into the hope of all Russia. The movie, set against the epic Battle of Stalingrad, is based on a book of interviews with real life survivors on both sides, which lent a certain gravity to the production.
Of course, it wasn’t exactly somber on set. ”It’s interesting to film a movie with such exquisitely polite and good looking men,” says Annaud, who also directed Brad Pitt in ”Seven Years in Tibet.” ”I got the feeling that women were falling for these guys wherever we went.” Da, baby! GOOD SIGN Could be this year’s ”The Talented Private Ryan.” THEN AGAIN Oscar nominee Law hasn’t yet been tested as a leading man.