Release Date: January 20, 2012
Director: Anthony Hemingway
Screenwriter: John Ridley
Cast: Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Bryan Cranston, Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Tristan Wilds, Cliff Smith, Kevin Phillips, Rick Otto, Lee Tergesen, Andre Royo, Ne-Yo, Elijah Kelley, Marcus T. Paulk, Leslie Odom Jr., Michael B. Jordan, Jazmine Sullivan, Edwina Finley, Daniela Ruah, Stacie Davis, Gerald McRaney
Genre: Action, Drama, War
Synopsis: 1944. World War II rages and the fate of the free world hangs in the balance. Meanwhile the black pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program are courageously waging two wars at once – one against enemies overseas, and the other against discrimination within the military and back home. Racial prejudices have long held ace airman Martin “Easy” Julian (Nate Parker) and his black pilots back at base – leaving them with little to do but further hone their flying skills – while their white counterparts are shipped out to combat after a mere three months of training. Mistakenly deemed inferior and assigned only second-rate planes and missions, the pilots of Tuskegee have mastered the skies with ease but have not been granted the opportunity to truly spread their wings.
As the war in Europe continues to take its dire toll on Allied forces, Pentagon brass has no recourse but to reconsider these under-utilized pilots for combat duty. Just as the young Tuskegee men are on the brink of being shut down and shipped back home, Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard) awards them the ultimate chance to prove their mettle high above. Undaunted by the prospect of providing safe escort to bombers in broad daylight – a mission so dangerous that the RAF has refused it and the white fighter groups have sustained substantial losses – Easy’s pilots at last join the fiery aerial fray. Against all the odds, with something to prove and everything to lose, these intrepid young airmen take to the skies in a heroic endeavor to combat the enemy – and the discrimination that has kept them down for so long.
Blackfilm.com interviewed Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ne-Yo On Red Tails -
Cuba Gooding Jr.: I’ve seen the movie, I’ve seen the special effects, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about that movie and for people to see it. In my career I’ve done a couple of movies that blown up the zeitgeist of cinema and hit social consciousness, like ‘Boyz N The Hood’ or ‘Men Of Honor’ or ‘Jerry Maguire.’ These are movies where people are affected by either a scenario or scene or environment they’ve never been exposed to, or it just hits them and in their everyday life they can identify with. We actors live for that, and we’ve done that again with George Lucas’ ‘Red Tails.’ The movie is breathtaking, and the thing about it is, visually you haven’t seen the things that George is doing with these fighter sequences. It’s insane. The real people we portray, like my character Major Emanuelle Stance. He took these young black men out of the schools of Tuskegee, Alabama and into the Air Force Base in Italy and turned them into warriors. You fall in love with not just the pilots but these men that helped them along their journey. Terrence Howard’s and my character were based on the exploits of Benjamin O. Davis who was the initiator of that whole Tuskegee experiment in putting together these fighter groups to join the efforts in World War II. I don’t want it to sound like it’s going to be a historical thing, which it is, but visually, I’m telling you, if you stay in your seat while you’re watching this movie I’ll be shocked. (laughs)
Ne-Yo: I am personally waiting on ‘Red Tails’. ‘Red Tails’ is George Lucas’s film about the Tuskegee airmen. I play one of the fighter pilots by the name of Andrew Salem, aka Smoky. And he’s from Alabama. I had to develop a really thick Alabama accent. He chews tobacco. It’s really, really, really a character role. I actually shot that before I shot this, which is odd. But I mean George Lucas pulled money out of his pocket to pay for this film. So this is his baby. So the one thing that I do about George, I don’t know a lot about him, but the one thing I do know is that it’s not going to come out until it’s absolutely right.