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Hollywood brings to life a local woman's father.

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Midlothian woman is preparing to see a much younger version of herself and her parents, Hollywood-style, in a Mel Gibson movie due out in March.

Camille Olsen is portrayed in "We Were Soldiers," a movie based on the true story of one of the most savage battles in U.S. history, fought in the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam.

The movie is bound to stir some mixed emotions in her, Olsen says.

In 1965, Olsen was 5 months old when her father, 2nd Lt. John. L. Geoghegan, was killed in the Ia Drang Valley battle. He was trying to save the life of one of his men.

Olsen's mother, Annandale resident Barbara Olsen, eventually wrote about her late husband as part of a chapter in the book "We Were Soldiers Once and Young."

Director and screenwriter Randall Wallace, whose credits include "Pearl Harbor," "Braveheart" and "Man in the Iron Mask," happened to pick the book up at an airport book store. He fell in love with it, Camille Olsen says, and wrote the screenplay.

Wallace then contacted her mother, who sent him information about Geoghegan and her life with him. She and Wallace developed a friendship, Olsen says. Still, she adds: "We didn't even know until March of 2001 that there was actually a part for my mom and dad.

In the movie, Olsen's father is played by Chris Klein. Her mother is played by Keri Russell. Olsen, now 36 and married with two daughters, appears in the movie as an infant. The film also stars Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Sam Elliot and Greg Kinnear.

The whole experience has been weird and exciting, Olsen says: "My mom and I joke that my dad's up there in heaven looking down saying 'OK, when are you all going to realize that we're up here orchestrating this whole thing?'"

Olsen, her mother and her stepfather were invited to visit the set in Fort Benning, Ga., to watch some of the filming. "It was an amazing experience," Olsen says. "We were treated like royalty. It was so neat because all of the actors seemed so honored to meet us."

On the set, they were asked to be extras in a chapel scene along with some of the other families portrayed on the big screen, Olsen says. "My mom was actually sitting right behind Keri [Russell] holding the baby, and I was sitting beside my mom. It was so neat."

Unfortunately, that scene ended up on the cutting room floor. Olsen says producers told her it would be included in the DVD version.

The next day on the set, Olsen and her mother noticed that the top of the call sheet read "Geoghegan house," so they stayed to watch scenes filmed at their fictional home.

"It's a bittersweet kind of feeling because it's about a tragic time," Olsen says. "And it's strange for my mom when they say her name or have her saying things like, 'Well Jack just shouldn't be leaving Cammie and me.'

"But the whole thing — it's just been such an amazing experience and I know that this movie will honor all that served and died."

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