Part of what high-flying World War II epic Midway gets right is its treatment of what happens behind the scenes of the battlefield, where intelligence is collected and strategy defined. In the case of the film’s vivid representation of the Battle of Midway’s many dimensions, two of the main players pushing the needle are Dennis Quaid and Patrick Wilson.
In a performance just as intense and hair-raising as the action sequences helmed by the likes of daredevil pilots played by Ed Skrein and Luke Kleintank, Quaid plays larger-than-life Fleet Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, Jr. and Wilson does his part as intelligence officer Edwin T. Layton.
Both men were instrumental in the strategies behind identifying and acting on intelligence that seemed to suggest their Japanese adversaries were planning a follow-up to Pearl Harbor at Midway Atoll, with their threat of success all but securing the Pacific Theater in the hands of the Axis powers at a crucial moment in World War II.
Check out the player above to see what Quaid and Wilson had to say about their immersion into the historical and character-driven nature of their roles, and below is what they had to say about depicting such important historical figures and the importance of the events Midway covers.
- What they learned about WWII from their work on the film, specifically the intelligence side of the war.
- Quaid’s admiration for his character, Fleet Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, and his commitment to getting his portrayal right.
Their favorite war films, and the glut of films on the European front vs. those focusing on battles at sea.
- The “original” Midway released in 1976, starring Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda.
- Reconciling historical aspects of filmmaking and their performances.
Midway’s official synopsis:
Midway centers on the Battle of Midway, a clash between the American fleet and the Imperial Japanese Navy which marked a pivotal turning point in the Pacific Theater during WWII. The film, based on the real-life events of this heroic feat, tells the story of the leaders and soldiers who used their instincts, fortitude and bravery to overcome the odds.