When Midway hits theaters on November 8th, you’ll have many people to thank for the World War II epic’s bursting-at-the-seems action. Chief among them, of course, is director Roland Emmerich. But it’s the likes of Ed Skrein and Luke Kleintank who, as hero dog-fighting pilots, are at the tip of the spear among an ensemble cast that features Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Mandy Moore, Nick Jonas, and Dennis Quaid.
Much of the heavy lifting for the action is provided by Skrein’s cocksure yet righteous depiction of legendary WWII fighter pilot Navy Lt. Richard “Dick” Best, whose risky yet impeccably placed bombing runs arguably turned the tides of the war. As such the film is packed credits-to-credits with death-defying, dive-bombing, and stomach-churning antics courtesy of Skrein’s maneuvers from the cockpit of his trusty Douglas Destroyer.
Among Skrein’s squadron of fearless fighters is Navy Lt. Clarence Earle Dickinson Jr., played by Luke Kleintank. Like Best, Dickinson was a decorated pilot (the first in history to receive three Navy Crosses) whose actions helped turn the tide of the war. He was among the first to spot the Japanese war fleet that had congregated near Midway Atoll on June 4, 1942.
Check out the player above to see our interview with Skrein and Kleintank about what it was like to play real-life heroes who helped to save the world—and how they were so convincing behind the throttles of those crazy airplanes. Below you’ll find a few topics we discussed:
- How they trained to play convincing WWII pilots and war heroes, both behind the controls and on the ground.
- The documentaries and books they read to prepare for their roles.
- Their time spent researching the war at the Pacific Aviation Museum, and Skrein’s infatuation with his character’s plane.
The sense of responsibility they felt to accurately depict their characters as true-life war heroes.
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.