26 April 2012
Airfix Model World has teamed up with Momentum Pictures to offer a free screening of Red Tails for the competition winner, and up to 30 of his/her guests. The screening will be at a cinema local to the winner, and they will also win a signed Red Tails film poster.
Red Tails tells the story of the African-American 332nd Fighter Group in World War Two, whose pilots who defied prejudice and became some of the best protectors of Allied bombers. The film has stunning aerial battle scenes and amazing special effects.
To enter, all you have to do is enter the competition click here
The winner will be notified before the film opens in the UK on June 6. This competition is only open to UK residents.
RED TAILS SOARS INTO CINEMAS ACROSS THE UK & IRELAND ON 6 JUNE
Directed by ANTHONY HEMINGWAY
Executive Produced by GEORGE LUCAS
CUBA GOODING JR. as Major Emmanuel Stance
TERRENCE HOWARD as Colonel A.J Bullard
NATE PARKER as Marty “Easy” Julian
DAVID OYELOWO as Joe “Lightning” Little
NE-YO as Andrew “Smokey” Salem
Inspired by the true story of World War Two’s first African-American fighter squadron, RED TAILS is a thrilling action-packed film with the most realistic dogfights ever to hit the screen.
Executive Produced by George Lucas, Produced by Rick McCallum and Charles Floyd Johnson, Written by John Ridley (THREE KINGS) and Aaron McGruder (THE BOONDOCKS) and Directed by Anthony Hemingway (THE WIRE), RED TAILS tells the story of the heroic 332nd Fighter Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps who overcame racial discrimination to become one of the most distinguished squadrons of the war.
The Inspiration & History
The history of the Tuskegee Airmen began when the Civil Aeronautics Authority selected 13 cadets to participate in an experiment at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, aimed at training “coloured personnel” to become combat pilots for service in the Army Air Corps. However, fierce discrimination, lack of institutional support and the belief that these men lacked the intelligence and aptitude to be pilots or maintain military aircraft dogged their every step.
When they were finally awarded the opportunity to fight for the Allied forces, these men flew thousands of missions, and in a two-year period between 1943 and 1945, the Tuskegee Airmen shot down more than 100 German aircraft, including three of the first German jets ever used in combat. Their aircraft, P-51 Mustangs painted with distinctive red tails, came to be feared by the enemies and respected by Allies.
By the end of the war, the Tuskegee Airmen had earned 96 Distinguished Unit Citations and as individual pilots won several Silver Stars, Purple Hearts and hundreds of other awards and medals.
“I thought their story would make a great film,” says Lucas, “An inspirational one that shows the incredible things these men went through to patriotically serve with valour and help the world battle back the evils of fascism. It is an amazing story, and I wanted to memorialise it.”
To be as true as possible to the spirit of the Tuskegee Experience would require direct input from the original airmen themselves. Lucas and producers Rick McCallum and Charles Floyd Johnson spent hundreds of hours with the surviving Tuskegee Airmen, visiting them in their homes, attending the annual Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. National Convention and hosting many of them at Skywalker Ranch, George Lucas’s production offices in Northern California.
“When I first met many of the Tuskegee Airmen, they were in their 50s and they were captains of industry, educators, entrepreneurs and community activists,” recounts Johnson. “They all had a real interest in making sure people knew about their legacy.”
Though rooted in history, the story Lucas wanted to tell was not one found in thick, dusty tomes that line a study hall. Lucas envisioned an action-packed inspirational picture about phenomenally skilled and brave young men who fly amazing machines in very dangerous situations.
“This is an adventure movie and not a civil rights movie," says Dr. Roscoe Brown, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen who consulted on the film. "It is about us overcoming the obstacle of racism with excellence and friendship, camaraderie and discipline. Those are the eternal lessons that affect anybody.”
George Lucas and his team pored over many scripts over the years as they searched for the right balance between airborne action, grounded drama, and the fellowship among young men. “It’s a big story and if we attempted to depict everything, we’d end up with a ten-hour movie,” Lucas says. Ultimately, screenwriters John Ridley (U-Turn, Three Kings, Undercover Brother) and Aaron McGruder (Boondocks) focused their efforts on the exploits of the heroic 332nd Fighter Group based out of Ramitelli Airfield in Italy in 1944, as well as the happenings within the halls of the Pentagon that saw that group put into action.
“I think there was a bit of destiny involved with me being the writer on this film,” says Ridley. “My uncle was a Tuskegee Airman. He never talked about it, and when I got to meet the Red Tails, they never talk about it. That was one of my big takeaways from working on this film. You have to remind yourself when you’re talking to these 90-year-old men that they were 19 and 20 years old at the time and they didn’t think what they were doing was monumental. They thought of it as something that was necessary.”
As with many of the people who worked on Red Tails, Ridley found this to be a passion project. “I have a father who was in the Air Force and who lived through the Second World War. I also have a young son, so I was writing for both of them,” he says. “I wanted the film to be exciting and inspiring to young people. At the same time, for someone like my father I wanted the film to be engaging on an intellectual level and be realistic in terms of its portrayal of the time and the War.”
McGruder came onto the film to add depth to certain characters, to quicken the pace of certain scenes, and add a timeless spark of classic adventure. “I wanted to combine the historic story with the fun, action-adventure vibe that you expect from a George Lucas-produced film,” says McGruder. “It has a comic book-feel that only he could bring to a film. Before this, we didn’t have our John Wayne, but we now have that kind of larger-than-life treatment, and the Tuskegee Airmen deserve it.”
As the script came together, the production needed a director who could balance a mix of multiple, memorable characters as well as the focused drama called for by the story. The acclaimed work of Anthony Hemingway on television series such as Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, and The Wire drew the producers’ attention.
“I got a call from my agent and he said that George Lucas and Rick McCallum wanted to meet me,” Hemingway remembers. “I was like, ‘Yeah, right. Why me?’ He told me that they were doing a film about the Tuskegee Airmen and I was immediately engaged in the conversation.”
The thrill of the opportunity to helm his first feature film soon expanded into the humbling realization that he’d been tasked to tell the story of Tuskegee Airmen. “I feel like I’m following in their footsteps as a young black filmmaker,” says Hemingway. “I feel a sense of responsibility to make the right moves and work towards becoming what I hope will be an example to anyone, especially young black kids in the world.”
The actors had high praise for Hemingway's approach to directing. “He came and spoke to me every take," describes Terrence Howard, who plays Colonel A.J, Bullard in Red Tails. “He manicured what I was doing, because I needed him. That’s the whole point of having a great director. I wanted to find the character inside of me that I couldn’t see, and so Anthony was really the architect of my character. I think he’s done very well with it, because not one time have I left the set and felt that there was something I forgot to do.”
David Oyelowo (who plays Joe ‘Lightning’ Little), was taken in by Hemingway’s ability to balance technical proficiency and attention to detail. “He has a very good bird’s-eye-view of everything that’s going on, and because of that he’s secure enough in his ability that he can allow others to bring things to the table.”
Elijah Kelley (Samuel ‘Joker’ George) appreciated Hemingway’s trust in the actors. “He allowed us to go beyond the words on the page. As long as we had the foundation, if we felt something would help the scene he allowed us to do it.”