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Exclusive: George Lucas Directing Drastic Red Tails Reshoots

by
February 17, 2010

Red Tails / George Lucas

Say what you will about George Lucas, but when the man sets his mind to something, you can bet he's going to get it done one way or another. Such is the case with Red Tails, the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American pilots to fly in a combat squadron during WWII, as an inside Secret Squirrel source told me that Lucas (serving as executive producer) was very displeased with TV director Anthony Hemingway's work, and is taking it upon himself to direct some massive reshoots. With these re-shoots come some hefty re-writes which I'm told completely change the main characters and their storylines.

Principal photography wrapped in November last year with Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Bryan Cranston starring in a fictional story of the historic and heroic exploits of America's first all black aerial combat unit in WWII. While the film is supposed to be in post-production right now, instead, Lucas' producing partner Rick McCallum is said to be pouring over dailies right now, trying to salvage whatever footage they can from Hemingway's work in order to figure out exactly how much will need to be re-shot. Combine that massive undertaking with an attempt to keep from going over budget if at all possible (even though this is a Lucasfilm project), and McCallum should be feeling quite a bit of stress about this project.

No word on how soon these re-shoots will be taking place (or specific details on the re-writes behind them) or how much this will delay its release. Either way, this doesn't bode well for Red Tails or Hemingway, who might find some difficulty getting more work in the future. On the flipside, Lucas hasn't exactly been at the top of his game as of late, but maybe directing something outside of the Star Wars universe will allow him to show the side that struggled to get films like American Graffiti out. Like the Winter Warlock in that old claymation "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," I hope he has just a little magic left to put on the big screen.

Update: Lucasfilm has been emailing various websites claiming that this story is inaccurate, however we are standing our ground and not changing our story, because we know that everything above is accurate and true, despite what Lucasfilm says. Other webmasters with deep industry connections have started supporting us as well, saying, "Lucasfilm Red Tails story is 1000% accurate, nuff said." Despite what you may be hearing about this story elsewhere, our sources are legitimate and this scoop is 100% accurate.

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  • el
    uh-oh
  • DEADPOOL,MERC WITH A MOUTH
    oh great another george lucas film (sarcasm),which his chosen to direct the reshoots because his not happy with them.GEORGE HOW ABOUT YOU RESHOOTING YOUR LAST THREE FILMS & MAKE ME & MILLIONS OF OTHER FANS HAPPY.
    • Anonymous
      How about you grow the fuck up and get on with your life. Stop obsessing over your raped childhood.
  • Hattori Hanzo
    Say what you want about Lucas but no one knows aerial battles better than him. His passion for this project is good news and may be just what he needs to rekindle the old Lucas. If nothing else, you know that the dog fights are going to be amazing to watch and hear. Bring it on George
  • Ann
    Hey #2, if you don't like Lucas films, what do you care? And who elected you to speak for millions of others? If you have an opinion, it's yours and yours alone.
  • DEADPOOL,MERC WITH A MOUTH
    @ 4 ann,your right i can't speak for others maybe i should of left that part out,growing up with the original star wars trilogy was how i got into my love of films, i waited fourteen years for the next trilogy plenty of time for him to get it right & saying it was a major balls up is going easy on the man.
  • d1rEct
    I know Lucas doesn't enjoy directing but If he's going to get involved with a film perhaps he should just bite the bullet and direct. Imagine how Hemingway feels, he shouldn't have even been hired.
  • 9mm
    I heard he wants to make the tuskeegee airmen more cuddly to sell more toys. And he is going to have them beat the nazi empire by dropping boulders on them from hang gliders. ...any hope that this movie would be good is officially gone. With Lucas at the helm, the only place this can go is down now.
  • John J
    Lucas is one big pimp nowadays with his films. Only thinks about how many dollars he can get out of them.
  • Frank
    I heard he is trying to find a way to work Jar Jar Binks into the story. Turns out the two of them are sleeping with each other and George owes him for all the great BJ's. This is the only plausible theory I have come up with for Jar Jar.
  • http://www.djljewellery.com Discount jewellery Toronto
    GO Lucas!
  • Johnny Walker
    Hemingway was a 1st AD on the Wire before getting his break and directing several hour-long dramas. Obviously a natural transition.
  • dRailer
    "Say what you will about George Lucas, but when the man sets his mind to something, you can bet he's going to get it done [one] way or another." LOL...this is possibly the most accurate line about Lucas ever.
  • Cody
    From now when I see Lucas' face all I imagine is the South Park episode where he and Spielberg raped Indiana Jones. I still cant get over that disaster...I wanted a IJ for this generation and that cannot be it, seriously Spielberg and Lucas get on that please. :)
  • Scott McHenry
    I can't believe how rich this guy is, just for making coming up with two general ideas and letting others critique them and make them better, indiana jones and star wars
  • Colca
    I'd say Revenge of the Sith proved he still has a lot of creativity and excitement in him. It was 10 times better than most of the blockbusters released in the last decade. The weakness in his films has always been in the dialogue, and Lucas didn't write the script for Red Tails. There's no indication that the rewrites are being done by Lucas, only the reshoots. And like it was said before, nobody understands aerial battles better than Lucas. Strange that people are determined to form an opinion on this based on Star Wars, when the projects have no similarities between them other than Lucas' involvement. Young Indiana Jones would be a better comparison, especially because of the historical settings. If Young Indy is any indication, this movie will be fantastic.
  • WB Exec
    # 2 the force is not strong with you
  • Joseph H.
    No offense to George but if he's displeased, it's probably pretty good. Did someone already make this observation?
  • SlashBeast
    I'd really like to see Lucas direct something other than Star Wars. His direction on American Graffiti is miles ahead of his work on Star Wars.
  • Xerxex
    I'm game, Lucas is a good director in my opinion, and thsi sounds good.
  • DEADPOOL,MERC WITH A MOUTH
    @ 17 wb exec read comment 5 i do explain my dislike of mr lucas.
  • Wes
    @10 Lucas's very problem as a moviemaker is that he answers to no one. The best movies and art arise from collaboration and creative solutions to problems, not a single auteur with unlimited resources and a gaggle of yes-men. Lucas needs LESS control on projects, not more.
  • Alex T.
    Lucas is the devil. However I will say I appreciate all the Lucas fans that are still sucking at his teat. It takes that kind of dedication for me to get 20 bucks from them for a little lego Darth Vader on ebay. In a way I can see why George has no problem making money off of morons. "The circle is complete now I am the master". Playing people the way Lucas and his butt buddies hasbro played me during my entire childhood. And I don't feel guilty about it because people have had their chance to realize the evils of George Lucas and his franchises just as I have, but they still refuse to accept it and continue to throw more money at him. #8 (John J) is entirely right.
  • scorpius
    Lucasfilm has denied Ethan Anderton's report. Of course, firstshowing doesn't want to give this information... Thanks to firstshowing for giving us false news... http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/movies/a203820/lucasfilm-red-tails-reports-inaccurate.html
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Ethan Anderton
    @ #24, Scorpius, This news is still accurate and we stand by it. We're in contact with Lucasfilm about this story and waiting for word from a higher-up who isn't just responsible for damage control. We've clarified more than a few times that these reshoots are not a part of standard production pick-ups that always later accompany principal photography and we now have not just one, but two independent anonymous sources confirming the news we are reporting is absolutely 100% correct. If your movie was having production woes as this, would you say you hated the way filming turned out and are frantically working to try and fix it? No. You try to keep things like this quiet. Regards,
  • Mega Jet Jaguar
    Oh Puh-leeze! Say what you will about George Lucas and his directing or writing skills or what have you, but C'Mon! He is not the Devil! He doesn't force anyone to buy any of the toys or other merchandise based on his movies. That is just plain ridiculous.
  • Xerxex
    Scorpius fuck off man, start your own damn website.
  • curtfrmcali
    @ #2 OHHHH SNAPP! tell em' Wade!
  • scorpius
    Strange that you prefer believing obscure sources (it's so easy to be anonymous!) than official reports. Whatever... The reason your informations are surely wrong: when John Ridley finished the screenplay, Lucas agreed and looked for a director and locations for the shooting. Then he was on the stage during the shooting. And your sources are saying it's now in post-production that Lucas dislikes the screenplay and the work of Hemingway ?!!! Nobody can believe that...
  • last son
    So Lucas was displeased with Hemingway's cut of the film and decided to step in and do massive reshoots! It's too bad that there was no one who could have stepped in and reshot "The Phantom Menace" & "Attack Of The Clones".
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Ethan Anderton
    @ Scorpius, We reported this story because we received the information from a very reliable industry source and not some random John Q. Public hack trying to start an unsubstantiated rumor. Personally, I think it's stranger that you think there could be absolutely no mistakes from a director who's never helmed a feature length film before and that hands-on George Lucas didn't want to change anything about it. Have you seen the Star Wars: Special Edition releases? So the reason you think our information is wrong, is because of something you read on the Internet. Yeah, that makes sense. Were you on set and know George Lucas was there for every decision and every bit of filming? You have no specifics, no inside information, but seemingly wish to pass yourself off as an insufferable know-it-all for some reason, blindly defending a film in which you have no personal investment. When you actually work in the industry, or have valuable information other than unfounded speculation, let us know. We know what's going on behind the scenes. You do not. Regards,
  • Cody
    Scorpius just got owned on like 10 different levels.
  • Dan
    Did many Bothans die for you guys to get this information?!!!
  • scorpius
    @ Ethan Anderton It's not a question about defending a movie or not, perhaps it will be a masterpiece, perhaps it will be the worst movie of the decade... I'm just logical: if Lucas was displeased with the screenplay and Hemingway's work, he would have noticed that before the shooting (for the screenplay) or during the shooting (for Hemingway's work). And yes Lucas was on the stage. There were several reports in press here in Europe (the movie was shooting in Europe). If you posted this information before the shooting, I could believe it. But now in post-production? Sorry no... Perhaps Lucas is crazy, not at this level... About Hemingway's first movie: remember that Spielberg's first movie is Duel, Andrew Niccol's first movie is Gattaca, Jason Reitman's first movie is Thank You for Smoking, and George Lucas' first movie is ... THX 1138... More examples? And yes I have seen the Star Wars: Special Edition releases, so what?!
  • RachelReplicant
    #15 Lucas did more with those two films for cinema than most directors are pulling off today in terms of legacy and affect on the craft. Oh and sw and indiana jones arent the only two amazing things he's done. Ever hear of thx1138? its 39 years old and still holds up after all that time as a great film! Ever hear of American Graffiti? Ever hear of Tucker? check them out. Not to mention he and coppola executive produced some great foreign films like "Kagemusha" and "Mishima" and countless others including "Powaqqatsi" (all of which I would rewatch any day at the drop of a hat) Im excited for him to work on something other than star wars because it only means his future sw material will only be that much stronger! shit, even some of these season two clone wars are blowing me away! #3 and #27 are right on too! Scorpius, here is the thread here to file complaints: http://www.eatadicksandwich.com
  • Badger
    He didn't produce Kagemusha. He was executive producer for the international version (which nobody, who knows the Japanese version, gives a crap about.) Kagemusha wouldn't exist without Kurosawa's genius. Lucas was irrelevant in that movie. Same with Coppola. Nobody cares about the international version. When it comes to Kurosawa, only the Japanese versions count. Lucas made a bazillion "final" versions of Star Wars, killed the franchise with stupid prequels (and horrible casting, not to mention really crappy directing), went from "It's a nine episode story" to "it's about Anakin Skywalker" and now he's going to mess up this one. Great. Han shot first, btw.
  • Lando Calrizzle
    watch a kurosawa documentary or two and you'd know lucas and coppola were instrumental in having Kagemusha funded (the remaining funding of about 6 million) in a time where most japanese considered Kurosawa "washed up" or "out of touch" with modern society. Toho and all other japanese film companies were not willing to fund him and he even had to go to the soviet union to have his movie funded (Dersu Uzala). Both he and Coppola did "EXECUTIVE PRODUCE" (which is what I said) Kagemusha. Yes, it was Kurosawas Genius that made Kagemusha, no doubt about it..but we wouldnt be sitting here talking about it if not for their hands in his work! and Im not talking about versions.. Yea, I agree Han shot first and that bothered me in the revisions. I disagree with him killing the franchise so we have our own opinions...
  • Lando Calrizzle
    what happened to my previous post? anyhow..recapping: Lucas was executive producer for the international version and while it may not be the best, it was a strong introduction to Kurosawa for someone like me who had never seen his work (I was 8 or 9 when I saw it and it rocked even for a kid!!!) but because of this, I was well aware of who he was as soon as sony classics started releasing classics like hidden fortess, yojimbo, etc on vhs in the later 80's!
  • George
    Nice, but I would rather seeing a Star Wars: The Force Unleashed movie!
  • Wordage
    We all know how well Lucas works with actors....right? "Do it again.....but faster this time...." This has shit sandwich written all over it.
  • http://www.hurlingpie.com Hurling Pie
    I agree that Star Wars is utter trash. I've been falsely deceived nine dozen times now with his misleading titles. The only reason he has all that money is because people want to see John Travolta and James Stewart fight. What's the deal with that furry thing or the squeaky muppet? Wow she swords that glow! Awesome! Jar Jar Binks however will remain one of the most complex characters ever portrayed on the silver screen. The allegorical nature speaks volumes to millions of people like me with tongues too long for their mouths. Binks saved my life and I'm grateful for that.
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
    Just posted an update in the article above for those who are wondering what's going on.
  • RachelReplicant
    Hurling Pie, let me guess, Avatar is the shit right? am i right? dances with smurfs or saturday night public enemy? meesa see a tool box!
  • scorpius
    And Firstshowing still doesn't want to tell more about their sources. This is very suspicious...
  • WWII historian
    "Lucasfilm Red Tails story is 1000% accurate" I agree that Mr. Lucas should be able to re-shoot whatever he wants, but... he should do it technically correct. Many of the props used in the still pictures I have seen from the re-shoot set are technically and historically incorrect. Which leads to a good story but an inaccurate portrayal of history. 4 quick examples... 1. The Chevy Cargo truck pictured did not exist. They never made an open cab Chevy. That is a "Bubba" truck. 2. Jeeps were not used as tugs pulling aircraft. They would have either used a dedicated tug or Cletrac M-2. 3. Aircraft would never have been parked so close to the soldiers living area as the planes were the prime target of Luftwaffe attacks. There would have been a great distance between the plane hardstands and living area. 4. There would have been heavy deployment of anti aircraft weapons at a base such as this. None are seen in the pictures. There are scores of other details that are incorrect. Someone hasn't done their homework. There are pictures all over the net of what it was really like in Italy in WWII. My father was a pilot stationed at a B-17 Bomber base in Foggia (and was frequently escorted by the redtails), he lived in tents, in no way did did the layout of bases resemble what is portrayed in the movie. Successful historic films of today try to be 100% correct, doing other than that takes away from the movie, whoever is handling this for Mr. Lucas is doing a poor job. He should be replaced.
  • Walter Glover
    I saw a stage play about the Tuskegee Airmen in NYC Off-Broadway called Black Angels Over Tuskegee. Best show I have ever seen in my life. A writer and director named Layon Gray penned it and staged it. Hire this guy quick! His vision can save this important film.
  • Rick Evans
    Hmmm. When I heard Lucas was making the Red Tails I was cautiously (or naively) optimistic he'd make an epic in the tradition of The Longest Day or Tora-Tora-Tora. It's a compelling action rich story that begs to be made by a quality film maker. Hemingway routinely directs CSI: NY and The Wire both well regarded shows with the critics and fans. OTOH Lucas seems to turn everything into an animated comic strip. Add to that the film is fictionalized and I see yet another hyper CGIed special effects orgy with a shallow, cliche filled story. Hope I'm wrong.
  • Robase
    As a former Marine CH-53 pilot who served in the Air wing I hope this movie is a big hit..I hope he deciced to do the reshoots because it was good..not great..I want this to be a great movie..this is a true event in African American history that we hold in high honor and it should be held up as an example of what our country can become if we come together..on a Personal note being Africa American having the Chance to meet one of these gentleman while in Okinawa it really brought tears to my eyes to meet true American Heros who served died, cried, and sacraficed..for our country...for all of us.
  • Edith N Roberts
    Dear Mr. Lucas, I am the widow of George S."Spanky" Roberts who was the First Cadet chosen and a member of the First Class 42C, 3/7/42. We married that same day,same place,same people as guests after the graduation ceremony at Tuskegee Airfield,AL. My husband died 26 years ago at the age of 65 (service connected according to his Death Certificate). He would have been 93 this year 2011 ,had he lived. On March 18,2011 I will be 92. I have been hoping I,at least,and my children,grands and greatgrandchildren would be around to see the film you promised many years ago. I was delighted to meet all the young actors and Anthony Hemingway at your Ranch not too long ago. They were so much like my grandsons. I felt quite at home! I eagerly look forward to the finished film before all of us so called "Originals" have disappeared from the planet Earth. I know absolutely nothing about making movies but I know it requires much planning,time, effort plus money and great talent. My children and I wish you much success in telling "our story"which never got in the History Books even at this late date... and it's not just about flying airplanes. How much longer must we wait to see the Legacy of this early Civil Rights Action? Wishing you the best, Edith Roberts

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