Red Tails hasn’t hit theaters yet, but filmmaker George Lucas is already ready to turn it into a big-screen saga if the movie performs well in theaters.
“There is a prequel and a sequel, and they’re better than this movie by a long shot,” George said on the “Daily Show.”
However, those films will never take flight if filmgoers don’t head to theaters to see Red Tails, a film that was considered a gamble by Hollywood.
“It’s a reasonably expensive movie. Normally, Black movies—Tyler Perry movies or something—they’re very low-budget,” George said. “This cost more than what those movies make, so they figure…They don’t believe there’s any foreign market for it.”
Although George said he financed the movie himself, studios weren’t willing to pick up the tab for promoting the film that George has been trying to get off the ground for more than 20 years.
Not even his track record of successful film franchises, such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones, could persuade the studios to get behind the movie. George has his suspicions about why that is. “There’s no major White roles in it at all. It’s one of the first all-Black action pictures ever made,” he reasoned.
Despite the challenges he faced getting the film distributed, George was determined to tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen.
“I wanted to make an inspirational for teenage boys. I wanted to show that they have heroes. They’re real American heroes," George explained. "They’re patriots that helped make the country what it is today. It’s not Glory where you have a lot of White officers running these guys into cannon fire."
Luckily for George, a lot of A-list actors, including Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding, Jr., were more than happy to lend their names and talent to the project. Red Tails also has the support of the real-life Tuskegee Airmen.
“You’re talking about two years of hard work and anticipation waiting for it to come out. Then to sit there with the Tuskegee Airmen," Terrence told "Entertainment Tonight" recently, "that’s like Charlton Heston getting a chance to sit down with Moses before he played Moses … These were real people. These were real individuals."
Red Tails has also received support from influential Black leaders such as Spike Lee, Oprah Winfrey and even President Barack Obama.
“We’re actually going to sit down with President Obama on the 13th and screen this film,” Terrence said. “It’s a very important piece of American history that has finally been told.”
Watch George discuss the movie on “The Daily Show.”
Terrence, George and Ne-Yo talk Red Tails. Watch.
Cuba discusses Red Tails. Watch.
Watch a clip from the film!
—Tracy L. Scott