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There's a scene I remember from seeing this movie a long time ago- Willard touches down on the ground and a bearded man in civilian garb and a cameraman with camera are standing close by and the bearded man is shouting something at Willard (I don't remember exactly what he said but I think it was something similar to instructions a director would give an actor).

Was the bearded man Copolla? And if so what was the point of his appearance?

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Yes, the news cameraman directing Willard to pass by 'as if he was fighting' was Francis Ford Coppola, who stepped in to perform the role as the original actor that had been cast was unable to make it to the set that day.

Source - Directors Commentary, Apocalypse Now 3 Disc Collecters Edition Region B BD enter image description here

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