The Lucasfilm Ltd. production of Red Tails
– a fictional story inspired by the historic and heroic exploits of America's first all black aerial combat unit – has completed casting and will soon begin principal photography in Europe. Produced by Rick McCallum and Charles Floyd Johnson, directed by Anthony Hemingway ("The Wire," "Battlestar Galactica") and written by John Ridley (Three Kings
) from a story by executive producer George Lucas, Red Tails
will star Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire
), Oscar nominee Terrence Howard (Crash
), Emmy winner Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad"), Nate Parker (The Secret Life of Bees
), David Oyelowo (The Last King of Scotland
), Tristan Wilds ("The Wire"), Cliff Smith aka Method Man ("The Wire"), Kevin Phillips (Pride
), Rick Otto ("The Wire"), Lee Tergesen (Monster
), Andre Royo ("Heroes"), Grammy award winner Ne-Yo (Stomp the Yard
), Elijah Kelley (Hairspray
), Marcus T. Paulk (Take the Lead
), Leslie Odom Jr. ("Grey's Anatomy"), Michael B. Jordan ("The Wire"), Grammy nominated singer Jazmine Sullivan, Edwina Finley ("Law and Order"), Daniela Ruah (Midnight Passion
) and Stacie Davis ("The Wire").
"I've been wanting to do 'Red Tails' for 20 years, and we've finally got the means to showcase the skill of the Tuskegee pilots," said Lucas. "We're working on techniques which will give us the first true look at the aerial dogfighting of the era. And our top-notch cast will really make this story special."
"I'm thrilled to have such a fantastic cast of actors and such a talented director to work with," said McCallum. "The story of the Tuskegee Airmen represents a milestone in American history, and we're all proud to be paying tribute to their heroic efforts. That cultural significance is not lost on anyone in this great young cast."
1944. World War II rages and the fate of the free world hangs in the balance. Meanwhile the black pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program are courageously waging two wars at once – one against enemies overseas, and the other against discrimination within the military and back home. Racial prejudices have long held ace airman Martin "Easy" Julian (Nate Parker) and his black pilots back at base - leaving them with little to do but further hone their flying skills - while their white counterparts are shipped out to combat after a mere three months of training. Mistakenly deemed inferior and assigned only second-rate planes and missions, the pilots of Tuskegee have mastered the skies with ease but have not been granted the opportunity to truly spread their wings.
As the war in Europe continues to take its dire toll on Allied forces, Pentagon brass has no recourse but to reconsider these under-utilized pilots for combat duty. Just as the young Tuskegee men are on the brink of being shut down and shipped back home, Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard) awards them the ultimate chance to prove their mettle high above. Undaunted by the prospect of providing safe escort to bombers in broad daylight - a mission so dangerous that the RAF has refused it and the white fighter groups have sustained substantial losses - Easy's pilots at last join the fiery aerial fray. Against all the odds, with something to prove and everything to lose, these intrepid young airmen take to the skies in a heroic endeavor to combat the enemy – and the discrimination that has kept them down for so long.