Director picked to pilot Lucasfilm's "Red Tails"

Wed Oct 1, 2008 1:49am EDT
 
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By Jay A. Fernandez

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - George Lucas' "Red Tails" project is on the runway, ready for takeoff.

Anthony Hemingway, who has directed episodes of "The Wire," "CSI: NY" and "ER," will helm the long-gestating World War II film. John Ridley has written the script. Lucas will serve as executive producer on the Lucasfilm feature, which will shoot in Prague, Italy, Croatia and England.

Red Tails was the name of the first group of black airmen to serve as pilot escorts for American bombers in the war. Although their ability to fly had been questioned on racist grounds, the Red Tails' record in the sky was so impressive that they were in demand to lead bombing runs over Italy and Germany in the last year of the conflict.

Their story began under President Franklin Roosevelt, who as an experiment sent the soldiers to Tuskegee, Alabama, to train once the war started. There, they experienced rampant racism and harassment. After their exemplary performance in the war, they helped to desegregate the Army's flying crew.

Lucas has been developing the project since 1989 but put it aside to complete his second trilogy of "Star Wars" films and revive the "Indiana Jones" franchise.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter