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Watch: 7 Minutes From The George Lucas Produced WWII Film 'Red Tails'; George Lucas Says Black Cinema Riding On Its Success

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by Kevin Jagernauth
January 10, 2012 2:11 PM
8 Comments
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In the works for decades, the George Lucas-produced WWII film "Red Tails," about the famed Tuskegee Airmen, first started filming way back in 2009. And there is a lot riding on this movie, including no less the fate of financing for movies centered around or featuring black actors in the lead role. According to Lucas, the future of those types of films may inadvertently be in the balance as Hollywood eyes the success (or failure) of "Red Tails."

Speaking recently with USA Today (you can watch the full interview below), Lucas was candid about how his project may change perceptions in Hollywood where it's already difficult to get black movies made. ""I realize that by accident I've now put the black film community at risk [with 'Red Tails,' whose $58 million budget far exceeds typical all-black productions]," Lucas explained. "I'm saying, if this doesn't work, there's a good chance you'll stay where you are for quite a while. It'll be harder for you guys to break out of that (lower-budget) mold. But if I can break through with this movie, then hopefully there will be someone else out there saying let's make a prequel and sequel, and soon you have more Tyler Perrys out there."

And by Tyler Perrys, he means (hopefully) not the lowest common denominator dreck that actor/writer/producer/director trots out every six months or so (albeit to massive financial success), but rather more folks with the power to greenlight stories and get movies made. And we're with him on that.

At the very least, "Red Tails" will have Lucas' full Industrial Light & Magic arsenal and firepower behind it. Directed by Anthony Hemingway ("The Wire"), with reshoots helmed by Lucas himself (Hemingway was busy shooting "Treme" at the time, but had final approval of the project) the film looks (thus far in the trailers) to provide great action, while the dramatic parts are a bit more uneven. And in the stretch of the seven minutes of the film that have popped up online (via Shadow & Act), that assessment still holds true as well, which does leave us with some concern about the movie.

That said, when it's got a cast featuring folks like Terrence Howard, NeYo, Andre Royo, Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Cuba Gooding Jr., Bryan Cranston, Method Man and more, and features a score by Spike Lee regular Terence Blanchard, we're keeping an open mind.

"Red Tails" opens on January 20th. Watch the footage and the interview with Lucas below.

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8 Comments

  • Eddie | January 10, 2012 11:19 PMReply

    Read the initial user reactions on Rotten Tomatoes. As of two weeks before its release, there are no official reviews, indicating Fox and LucasFilm have not screened the movie. The first audience feedback is witheringly bad. Audiences at FREE word of mouth screenings say the dialogue is awful, the acting worse and the story completely lacking in the serious depth that should be afforded the subject. It's possible to make a movie both exciting, thought-provoking and historically accurate -- but apparently it is beyond the abilities of Lucas, who has been stuck in a "gee-whiz, I'm a MOVIE DIRECTOR" mentality for years and whose decision to take the film away from its original director and reshoot and recut most of it himself was probably a poor one. Anyone remember "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones"? Apparently he hasn't improved much in the past thirteen years. Anyway, it's not just "badmouthing" Lucas, whose technical skills are always beyond peer -- I'm just reading the commentary from people who have actually seen this thing, which has been sitting on the shelf for two years.

  • Cinematic_High | January 10, 2012 8:10 PMReply

    Black Cinema is riding on something that HBO did a far better job on conveying on film eons ago? Black Cinema has been fucked since Soul Food, The Cookout and pretty much every fucking Tyler Perry movie that has been released......this black man says it will do very little to dig itself up from this hole that the "cement bath" better known as Black Snake Moan has kept us in place.....if all else fails....George can release as a 3D double feature with Phantom Menace....

  • Rachel | January 10, 2012 5:51 PMReply

    I won't be in the country, but I really hope this does well.

  • Zinjo | January 10, 2012 5:04 PMReply

    It's about G*dDa*n time Lucas produced something outside the Star Wars - Indiana Jones universes!!

    You've got a guy sitting on a mountain of cash bemoaning how hollywood doesn't understand film makers and then does absolutely NOTHING about it for decades, except incessant tinkinering with already finished works of cinema...

    I am looking forward to seeing any film about these WWII aces. The film is long overdue.

    Hey George, find your "true bliss" by being THAT GUY who film makers want to produce their projects. Be the guy that you always hoped you'd find when you were starting out and create a legacy greater than Star Wars has ever been.

  • LeonRaymond | January 10, 2012 3:02 PMReply

    No Black films in the pipe line, no Black films getting produced or going into production, No black themed screenplays moving forward , sounds very scary and sad and the truth is we are so close to that now like right on the edge of that cliff and the last Boulder we are standing on is starting to give way. I just wish, hope, that this film does well or gets a chance to have legs like David Fincher's TGWTDT

  • zinjo | January 10, 2012 5:07 PM

    Perhaps the scripts are crap?! Do we really need more sh*it on the screen?

    Blame Tyler Perry for putting up junk and calling it relevant black cinema...

    I'd wait for a great African American film over a poor one any day.

  • a | January 10, 2012 2:27 PMReply

    yes, anything that has Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ne-Yo makes me want to keep an open mind. Did you really just say that?

  • KT | January 10, 2012 2:47 PM

    You do realize they get the runt of the litter as far as film roles go and hardly any great offers or opportunities because they are... wait for it... black.

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