VIDEO] In the mid-1990s, HBO aired a TV movie named The Tuskegee Airmen. Of course the movie starred Cuba Gooding who is also starring in the coming film also about the "Tuskegee Airmen" entitled Red Tails.
The Tuskegee Airmen is the popular name of a group of WW2 US Army Air Force (precedes the US Air Force) pilots that are well known for their exploits escorting American bombers in the skies of Europe. It started with the 99th Pursuit Squadron and the pilots of that squadron began their training at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). That unit actually still exist in the US Air Force as the 99th Flying Training Squadron.
Eventually the Tuskegee Airmen would be assigned to the 332d Fighter Group. As members of this Army Air Force unit, the tail of the planes would be painted crimson, and thus they acquired another nickname alluded to in the coming coming new film "red tails" or "red-tailed angels".
I read a story recently about how this film got to be made. It was produced by George Lucas who largely put up his own funds because Hollywood was unwilling to produce this project. I'm sure Hollywood was skittish about a project advertised as an action-flick with a mostly Black cast because they were unsure about whether or not money could be made. Even he tried to look at the big picture:
But still, Lucas claims he foot the bill himself for the budget, because that’s how important getting the film out there was to him. Lucas also pointed out that he wanted to make the film for teenage boys (young, black teenage boys in particular), to show them real heroes and real role models (outside of the Jay-Zs and Michael Jordans as he said). However, while talking to the folks over at USA Today, he said the pressure of having it do well at the box office has him worried about what impact Red Tail‘s success could have on the success of future films with all black casts.It wasn't just about the money but to help advance Black filmmakers. Perhaps even change the range of films they will be able to make. It also about giving the young boys the real heros and the real role models. Very laudable goals because the men the boys look up to will need some form of diversity. Who says you must only look up to entertainers and be entertainers?
“I realize that by accident I’ve now put the black film community at risk,” Lucas said. “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.”
You know I saw somewhere, some attribute his interest in doing this to the fact that he's dating a Black woman. This may be a true reason although certainly it's good thing what he seeks to do in this endeavor. It's still very important to be able to bring to the public the story of WW2's Tuskegee Airmen!
BTW George Lucas if you don't know owns Lucasfilm. His company has produced both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. They've made lots of money over the years so don't assume Red Tails will be a slouch on the silver screen!