A week ago, the online community was in a tizzy when reports that the African American WWII airplane drama Red Tails was in a tailspin and that George Lucas would step it to make a hefty overhaul of the film in place of director Anthony Hemingway. Now, according to Nicole Sperling in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly [via The Playlist], much of that was grossly exaggerated. Sperling reports that the reshoots are quite normal and this is nothing out of the ordinary. Of course, how Lucas and company plan to get the cast back together is something of a mystery, if in fact these reshoots weren’t worked into the schedule beforehand.
For a deeper explanation of the madness and why this story might not quite be finished, hit the jump.
The cast of Red Tails is massive, but notably includes Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad). The story follows the Tuskegee Airmen, the first squadron comprising African-Americans, and their efforts in WWII.
Quoting FirstShowing, who first broke the news of the massive reshoots, they claimed that Lucas was “very displeased” with the work of Hemingway and that they would “completely change the main characters and their storylines,” undergoing massive reshoots and extensive rewrites. When Lucasfilm (producers of the movie) claimed the reports were “inaccurate,” FirstShowing stood its ground, saying the report was “accurate and true.”
Of course, the validity of any of this can always be questioned. Hollywood, for such a massive machine, has a tendency to move very quickly, and a lot of people can be blindsided. Months ago, we ran a story about how John Malkovich was waiting on a script for Sam Raimi’s fourth Spider-Man film. However, the next day, news broke that Sony had axed the director and was rebooting the film franchise with a new cast and crew.
The absence of Hemingway might be curious to some, as he is busy directing episodes of the HBO show Treme. Everything seems to indicate that this is more of a coincidence than Hemingway pulling the eject lever on the film, but why news of reshoots broke just a few weeks ago when the film had wrapped shooting in November is also odd. Whatever the case may be, reshoots aren’t out of the ordinary, and Sperling is reporting that Lucas will direct the reshoots, with fellow producer Rick McCallum overseeing the work, and that Hemingway would get final approval.
Red Tails is set to release this year, and was supposed to be in post-production by now, with Industrial Light & Magic handling the effects. Stay tuned to see if this story is eventually quashed or if this was all a big misunderstanding.