3:56 pm - 06/17/2008

Tuskegee Airmen to be subject of George Lucas film

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The black airmen whose lives will be the basis of a George Lucas movie know the picture will highlight their record of successfully escorting thousands of U.S. bombers in World War II.

They also feel it should tell of the trials they encountered stateside, like seeing German prisoners of war being treated better and afforded rights that were withheld from black American citizens.

Now that "Red Tails" is in preproduction, some of the airmen say they are excited their story is coming to the big screen but torn over how much it should devote to each of their two historic fights — against Adolf Hitler abroad and Jim Crow at home.

Lt. Col. Eldridge F. Williams, 91, wants the film to recount the discrimination they had to overcome in their own country. Williams, who served in the military from August 1941 to November 1963, said a white doctor's false diagnosis of an eye condition kept him from achieving his dream of being a pilot, though he became a navigator.

"I think the story that has not been told is stories like mine in which the home battle that was waged ... shall we say, helped open the door so that the unit could enter combat and demonstrate its capabilities and be successful," he said.

Col. Herbert Carter, who also was with the airmen in the '40s, said the racism the men encountered should definitely be mentioned but not dwelled upon in the Lucas film.

"So many want the movies to focus in that sense and that's bitter history that has been thoroughly emphasized and publicized," the 88-year-old said in an interview.

He said the real story is how they blew apart the notion that blacks could not fly planes in war.

Producer Rick McCallum said both elements are addressed in a script by John Ridley that "balances difficult and painful issues with what is, at its heart, the story of men with a dream to fly and serve their country."

Lucas hopes to begin shooting by year's end or early 2009, McCallum said. The movie's title refers to the color of their fighter planes' tails, which were distinctive and allowed U.S. bomber crews to know they were being escorted by the aggressive Tuskegee Airmen.

"It is a story of incredible adventure and enormous courage," said the producer, who's scouting locations for "Red Tails" in Prague, Czech Republic, and Italy. "I think the story will speak to anyone who has ever wanted to succeed at something others told them was impossible."

At first called the "Tuskegee Experiment," the first aviation cadet class began with 13 students at the Tuskegee Army Air Field, about 40 miles east of Montgomery, in July 1941. Black people weren't allowed to fly in the military at the time and the "experiment" was to see whether they could pilot airplanes and handle heavy machinery.

Over the next four years, the airmen went on more than 15,000 combat trips throughout Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa.

Nearly 1,000 pilots were trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field before its 1946 closing, after which the men from the all-black units were sent to an air base in Ohio. President Truman's 1948 order to desegregate the country's armed forces eventually led to a racially mixed military.

The men have been the subject of several documentaries and books. But a 1995 HBO movie "The Tuskegee Airmen," starring Laurence Fishburne, was the film that jump-started much of the attention the airmen have received in recent years, said Christine Biggers, a park ranger at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.

The HBO movie "was about 50 percent Hollywood, but it gave a good overview and got the word out. People all over the world saw it and it whetted their appetite to want to know more," Biggers said.

Lucas plans for the movie to be based on the historic record that brought the Tuskegee Airmen fame, drawn from their own accounts.

Carter was one of several airmen who were invited to Lucas' Skywalker Ranch a few years ago to record their oral histories, which will be used in developing the film.

Carter tells of the constant adjustment of being respected as a soldier on base, then having that dignity snatched away once off-base, where they were "just another Negro in Alabama in the eyes of the civilian population."

But he said the real story is how they overcame an environment that said "they didn't have the ability, dexterity, physiology and psychology to operate something as complicated as aircrafts or tanks."

The black airmen's response was "train me and let me demonstrate I can," Carter said. "We said the antidote to racism was excellence and performance and that is what we did."

This movie has been in pre-prod since Episode 3, I believe. Source: ici. Also, sorry for so much joker but it saves me from getting the post rejected because they think I'm hotlinking!
Page 1 of 3
<<[1] [2] [3] >>
watermeloncholy 17th-Jun-2008 11:17 pm (UTC)
Well...let's hope they don't fuck it up.
_generalsmuts 17th-Jun-2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
It's George Lucas, so that's a big possibility.
watermeloncholy 17th-Jun-2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
Let's hope someone else is writing the dialogue.
larrylurker 17th-Jun-2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
Now if they don't put any black actors in this one than Spike Lee has free reign.

rhomea 17th-Jun-2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
under_pressure 18th-Jun-2008 01:02 am (UTC)
aliens are kinda a part of mayan culture ... also when you're doing a satire/homage to the fifties it's kind of hard NOT to put a flying saucer in there.
eclecticmuse 18th-Jun-2008 04:16 am (UTC)

I thought the Roswell reference was nice and subtle, at least.
nikcool 17th-Jun-2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
I'll wait to see if before I pass judgement.

And I wonder how messed up the casting will be? I mean, Hollywood has black actors, but they tend to use the same few for all of the movies. Are they going to use the really terrible actors that are in all the crappy movies my mom manages to track down?
nikcool 17th-Jun-2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
He was already in a movie like this...

I'm kinda hoping Lucas drops it, and someone good picks it up.

I'm an out of work black actress, and I'd love to be in a movie like this...
under_pressure 18th-Jun-2008 01:05 am (UTC)
will smith, sam jackson, bernie mack, mos def, chewitel, morgan freeman, laurence fishbourne. no one else allowed. Ok maybe eddie and arsenio?
choosetodo 17th-Jun-2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
For the first time ever, I'm reading the comments on every post just so I can see all the jokerizing that's going on.
mramericandream 17th-Jun-2008 11:22 pm (UTC)
einimaria 17th-Jun-2008 11:23 pm (UTC)
Lol! I'm doing the same thing.
beingabotch22 17th-Jun-2008 11:23 pm (UTC)
lol I'm jumping like crazy between posts. I look like Britney in a manic episode.
boogabooga_xx 17th-Jun-2008 11:28 pm (UTC)
love yours, bb
nappyxheadedxho 17th-Jun-2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised no one has jokerized a picture of a penis or a vagina yet
noplanesgo 17th-Jun-2008 11:37 pm (UTC)
mines the cutest. you should just look out for mine and you'll be ok
sereneecho 17th-Jun-2008 11:44 pm (UTC)
me too
vivisexion 17th-Jun-2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
Same! I love the jokerization way too much.
quitequite 18th-Jun-2008 12:54 am (UTC)
IKR? This is so much fun
alchimie_amour 17th-Jun-2008 11:22 pm (UTC)

I seriously wanted to direct this :(

It was going to be my Oscar winning film. %$^$^#%$ George Lucas
watermeloncholy 17th-Jun-2008 11:35 pm (UTC)
My condolences.
noplanesgo 17th-Jun-2008 11:37 pm (UTC)
you should do something drastic
under_pressure 18th-Jun-2008 01:05 am (UTC)
I mean he's been talking about this project for over 10 years ....
noplanesgo 17th-Jun-2008 11:22 pm (UTC)
ah they came to my school in like 10th grade
getsome_getsome 17th-Jun-2008 11:23 pm (UTC)
oy vey

lucas please dont find a way to incorporate lightsabers and starships

rhomea 17th-Jun-2008 11:24 pm (UTC)
get some fresh actors for this, no Denzel or Terrance Howard.
eclecticmuse 18th-Jun-2008 04:18 am (UTC)
For some reason Terrance Howard fails to impress me. Ever since he won his Oscar he's just seemed like a smarmy bastard to me.
537paperstreet 17th-Jun-2008 11:24 pm (UTC)
Will this have aliens in it?
boogabooga_xx 17th-Jun-2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
...I bet denzel will be in this.
thelittlevoice 17th-Jun-2008 11:28 pm (UTC)
For pictures, just in case, just make a note about how it is your site. I think I am starting to get good at rememebering...but there are 11 of us, so you might get someone who does not know / remember.
under_pressure 18th-Jun-2008 01:12 am (UTC)
no it's cool :) I just get bummed sometimes when I'm the first to post but I forget to note it and then someone else ganks my story.
resin 17th-Jun-2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
i think i'm late but i decorated my picture up haha
diapergenie 17th-Jun-2008 11:35 pm (UTC)
I could have sworn I already saw a film about this and I liked it.

noplanesgo 17th-Jun-2008 11:36 pm (UTC)
whenever i see "and I liked it" i immediately think of that shit song by katy perry
noplanesgo 17th-Jun-2008 11:36 pm (UTC)
someone post something new
c2a 17th-Jun-2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
I did. Hopefully it goes through. I didn't see it posted today and I did the LJ search but sometimes that still doesn't work.

It includes a jokerized pic.
c2a 17th-Jun-2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
ARGH DAMNIT the lj search thing didn't work AGAIN and it had been posted. There was only a little different stuff in the article i found. Well, sorry bb, I got nothing.
Page 1 of 3
<<[1] [2] [3] >>
This page was loaded Dec 27th 2014, 5:20 am GMT.