George Lucas gave an interview about Red Tails this week that completely changed my mind on wanting to see the movie. Before, I had no interest. Now, I am probably going opening day. For those who can't view the interview because of regional blockage, I'm going to transcribe the interesting quotes about the film here.
Stewart: How long have you been working on this?
GL: 23 years. 23 years, we finished it, I financed it myself, I figured I could get the prints and ads paid for by the studios and that they would release it. I showed it to all of them and they said no. We don't know how to market a movie like this.
GL: It's not green enough.
GL: They only release green movies.
Stewart: I didn't realize that. So because the message is patriotic and jingoistic and doesn't have any recycling in it...
GL: No. It's because it's an all-black movie. There's no major white roles in it at all. It's one of the first all-black action pictures ever made.
Stewart: In this day and age though... is it because of the pedigree of it, they didn't want to take a chance on it?
GL: Yeah. They just... it's a reasonably expensive movie. Normally black movies... they're very low budget... And they do well, but they do a certain amount of money and they know what that is, and this costs more than those movies make, so they figure, "well...". And they don't believe there's any foreign market for it, so that's 60% of their problem.
GL: It was presented as, which the reason I did it completely, I wanted to make an inspirational for teenage boys. I wanted to show that they have heroes, that they're real American heroes, they're patriots, they helped make the country what it is today. And it's not gory (or gory? Can't tell what he said) where you have a lot of white officers running these guys into cannon-fodder....they were real heroes.
GL: The problem was, it's exactly like Star Wars... I wrote the first script, tried to get it to work, it was way too big. The story is too fantastic and wonderful to cram into two hours.
Stewart: Are you telling me there's gonna be six of these bad boys?
GL - I am hoping, if this works, if we get a good first weekend, there is a prequel and a sequel, and they're better than this movie by a long shot.
*laughter and applause*
GL: I took the soft center, and I said I'll give you the really good ones if we can get this one to get made.
GL: This is not a movie about victims. This is a movie about heroes.
GL: I'm just talking about a bunch of guys, kids, you know they're 19, 20 years old, flying the fastest prop plane ever built, and going up against the newfangled jets. And it's a combat movie. To be honest with you, because you know I'm normally not - this is the closest you'll get to Episode 7.
*laughter, cheering, applause*