For over 25 years, “Star Wars” mastermind George Lucas has been trying to make a movie about the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, the brave African-American men who flew over the skies of Europe, risking their lives to fight for a country who still treated them as inferiors. Lucas’ dream has finally come to fruition with Red Tails, directed by Anthony Hemingway (“The Wire”), a fictionalized look at one group of airmen who went above and beyond to earn the respect of their peers and country while fighting in World War II.
Last week, ComingSoon.net had a chance to talk to some of the cast, including Nate Parker and David Oyelowo play Marty “Easy” Julian and Joe “Lightning” Little, two of the black pilots whose bravery transcended the racism of the time. Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. plays their immediate superior Major Emmanuel Stance, while Oscar-nominee Terrence Howard plays Col. A.J. Bullard, the Pentagon liaison for the Air Force’s black pilot division. Some of the other Tuskegee pilots featured in the film are Elijah Kelley’s Samuel “Joker” George, Tristan Wilds’ Ray “Junior” Gannon and Andrew “Smokey” Salem, played by chart-topping singer-songwriter Ne-Yo.
Since we didn’t have a lot of time with any of them, we kept things to three very simple questions: How they heard about the project and what was involved with them becoming a part of it, what they did for preparation for their respective roles, and what it was like meeting the real Tuskegee Airmen. We then closed things up by talking to one of the real honest-to-gosh Tuskegees, Dr. Roscoe Brown, who we would have loved to have more time with, since he was actually there in the air in 1942, fighting Nazis above Berlin in the real aerial dogfights depicted so well in the movie thanks to the CG talents of Industrial Light & Magic.
Red Tails opens theatrically on Friday, January 20.