Seven Minutes of ‘Red Tails’ Footage; George Lucas Talks Black Cinema

Published 3 years ago by

Red Tails movie Clips George Lucas Interview Seven Minutes of Red Tails Footage; George Lucas Talks Black Cinema

If you don’t know about Red Tails yet, it’s a movie about a crew of African American pilots trained in the Tuskegee program during WWII. While they spent most of the war (literally) grounded by the unjust laws of military segregation, eventually they were called upon to fly dangerous missions, ultimately proving their worth as some of America’s most dedicated and skilled fighter pilots.

Sounds like you average feel-good historical drama dealing with America’s complicated history with race, but here’s the twist: Red Tails is, in part, a product of Lucasfilm, with its story conceived by none other than the Star Wars creator George Lucas, who also serves as the film’s executive producer.

George Lucas and black history? Yep, it’s happening.

Today we have seven minutes of Red Tails footage to share, along with an interview with Lucas himself, discussing how this project may just change the state of African American cinema (for better or worse). Yep, you heard right: if this movie turns out to be a financial success, black cinema may indeed get a boost (in terms of budget at least) thanks to…George Lucas. And who says that life has no surprises left to offer?

Check out the 7-minutes of footage from Red Tails below, which boasts some hi-end effects work from Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic team to create action-packed WWII aerial dogfight sequences. You’ll get a glimpse at a notable lineup of actors (both black and white), including Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, David Oyelowo, Tristan Wilds (The Wire), Wu-Tang rapper Method Man, Lee Tergesen (Oz), Michael B. Jordan (The Wire), R&B singer Ne-Yo, Josh Dallas (Thor) – among others:

RT Clip from Tambay Obenson on Vimeo.


Now, check out a snippet of what George Lucas had to say to USA Today about Red Tails, and how the assumed risk of making a $60 million film that is considered “black cinema” may become a thing of the past and offer new opportunities to other minority filmmakers – if the movie actually makes a sizable profit in theaters. If the movie doesn’t perform strongly…well, Lucas has a few fears about that scenario as well. Hear his thoughts on race and cinema below:


Will George Lucas break the door for black cinema wide open? Or will his bold endeavor flounder and re-affirm some of the stereotypes that obviously still permeate the landscape of Hollywood (and by extension, the larger moviegoing public)?

We don’t have a crystal ball handy in order to predict this imminent future, but it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out once the box office numbers for Red Tails have all been tallied. ‘George Lucas: savior of black cinema…’ Trust me, it doesn’t sound any less strange once you’ve said it over and over a few times…

Red Tails will be in theaters on January 20, 2012. It will be opening against Underworld 4 and Steven Soderbergh’s spy thriller Haywire, so competition is going to be stiff, to say the least.

Sources: FOX &  USA Today

TAGS: Red tails
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  1. This looks like it would be cool, but I get skeptical of any project Lucas is attached to. Even if he’s only executive producer.

  2. Is it going to have aliens in it?

    • No but it may have live Teddy Bears. :-D

  3. I am looking forward to this because I like military history movies… but I am skeptical about Lucas behind the helm.

    About six minutes in did you hear the planes… they sounded like pod racers!!

    • I wonder if Lucas will re-release this film with additions. Perhaps he could add Jar Jar in a cameo?

      • Was my comment removed?

      • Haha. That would divide his attention from continuing to capitalize on his Star Wars franchise. I am sure there is still much more he would like to add/change in those films.

    • They sounded like pod racers, because they used quite a few of sounds from classical aircraft engines to create the pod racer sounds. For example, when Anakin stalls and restarts the pod racer engine? What you hear there ia a big old radial engine that you would find on a Douglas DC-3 or similar aircraft, just slightly distorted.

  4. I read that George is claiming the future of black cinema depends on how well his movie does. Please, George, I’d rather you just beg people to see you movie than play the race card.

      • Have you considered that, if this movie is not well attended, it might be because it is a bad movie, not because it features a primarily black cast? But of course, Mr. Lucas couldn’t make a bad movie, could he? A poor turnout would have to be the result of racism, then.

      • Before implying that Spielberg is a racist, which you are, perhaps you should watch his movie Amistad…

    • Even if he has good intentions, it sounds like Lucas has a rather pompous view of himself, not that it should surprise anyone following his career starting around the time of Return of the Jedi.

      I’d rather have all of Hollywood stop pulling its white race card before I ask for Lucas to stop trying to get minority actors more roles.

  5. I think haywire and underworld will make more than this

  6. i dismissed this movie when i saw the commercial and it was playing dubstep music to to a wwII setting. im sure it will find its audience, but not for me.

    • Lucas didn’t direct this movie, which will already make a huge difference. Don’t be taken aback, just because you see the name George Lucas plastered all over the movie. Reserve your judgment until after you’ve seen it.

  7. What’s with you people? George Lucas funded this movie himself so it would appropriately praise these men, not because they were black, but because they’re heroes. He didn’t fall into the Hollywood formula of having a white guy fighting for them or anything, just the actual story. Even with his name & company behind it, studios wouldn’t take it because all the main characters were black and not Denzel or Will Smith. Sorry, but those are the only two Black men allowed to star in a Blockbuster and even then, it has to have strong white characters.
    But you’re writing it off for petty reasons or to be pretentious elitist. Shameful.
    I don’t like it being called “Black Cinema” it should just be the best actor for the role, no matter what the race.

    You’re all responsible for Ryan Reynolds making 50 movies a year.

    • that last bit about ryan reynolds made me spit out my coffee laughing

  8. I do believe the RED TAILS is going to be the a great movie and will end up getting a nominated for award. If it doesn’t that will be a great shame. The previews look awesome, can’t wait for it to come out..

  9. I’m all for this movie doing well, but wasn’t a movie about them already made called The Tuskeegee Airmen?

    • Only one film about a group of WWII airmen can be made???

      • haahahh! Good one Archaeon!

      • I’m not saying only one movie about them can ever be made, but George Lucas is acting like this is breaking new ground and bringing black war heroes to the foreground, without even acknowledging that a film about them was already made using well known black actors.

        • Well, it’s a difference if you make a small TV movie with a low budget for a limited audience or if you make a big ass blockbuster for the theater. And yes, he is breaking new gound in that respect.

    • That was an HBO movie, not a theatrical release.

    • @ Pedram ~ “Tuskeegee Airmen” was a made-for-TV movie, I believe, not a $60 blockbuster.

  10. I’m watching it

  11. Lucas behind it leaves me doubtful but i will give this movie a chance

  12. I doubt it will make more than Underworld. I hope it does but that’s just the general moviegoers sadly. They don’t want to see a full black roster unless (like someone has mentioned) it stars Denzel or Will Smith.
    And it’s not just about race but for females too. A lot of studios are scared to take risk on a all female cast for action movies because they always flop.
    Either way I’m going to see this and Underworld 4.

    • so basically u saying white people are racist

    • @”A lot of studios are scared to take risk on a all female cast for action movies because they always flop.”

      Yeah, anybody see Sucker Punch? No, b/c it flopped.

      I don’t mind watching a film with a full black cast, in fact, I’ve seen many. I would agree that many would be more inclined if it were a film with Denzel Washington or Will Smith, but that’s b/c they’re high profile names.

      • but we got to remember Denzel Washington and Will Smith was nobodies before they become big name actors. its annoying that now all these unknown white actors get major Hollywood roles but black and asian actors only get supporting roles.

        • Everybody who is a somebody was a nobody first.

  13. Cuba Gooding Jr came down to Miami (Doral to be exact) to do a screening at the Dolphin Mall. They gave away free passes to HQ USSOUTHCOM troops. They had a good turn out. I missed it, but most def going to check it out, then go see Gina kick butt right after.

  14. I do hope the movie makes money or just break even. It looks very good.

  15. Don’t know why so many here believe the trailer looks good. I can spot the CGI a mile away, and was that Jar Jar Binks in one of the planes? Just kidding about the latter, but not the former. The CGI is obvious.

    • The trailer DOES look good. It looks like the film will have its dramatic, tension-filled moments as well as those of intense reflection. What I don’t understand is why so many are willing to dismiss the film simply because of their hatred of Lucas or at least of his decisions on FANTASY films. This looks to be a fair straight translation of real events to the big screen (albeit, I’m sure, with some dramatic flair that virtually ANY director would employ). I can see this being much more interesting (and very possibly much more accurate) than movies like “Pearl Harbor” or “Titanic” (no matter what you think of them, you have to admit they were certainly impactful).

      Now, will it be as good as, or better than, “Saving Private Ryan”, “The Shawshank Redemption”, “Valkyrie” (I know, I know…but I liked it), or “Apocalypse Now”…or any number of other films with a specific historical bent? Who knows? Cutting it down so completely seems premature and pointless.

      • …sigh: fairLY straight translation…

      • Can’t speak for everybody, but I am cutting it down solely because Lucas is attached. If it had been Spielberg, I’d be much more excited about it. For myself and obviously others, Lucas has lost all credibility as a film maker, and it is not because he has done fantasy films, but how poorly he has done them. Perhaps he will prove us wrong, but I doubt it…

      • Oh…and the CGI, at least for me, was obvious. For some, that detracts from the escapism and realism of a movie.

        • I agree with you about the CGI. There seems to be too much of a disconnect between the CGI scenes and the cockpit ones. It also took me right out of the moment.

          I’d rather have low (or lower) budget movies with more realism (i.e., actual planes flying by) rather than CGI cartoon moments. No matter how good CGI looks, it still looks fake.

          Some people have complained that the new Bat vehicle in Dark Knight Rises looks like it’s hanging from some rig, and yes, it does. But I’d much rather have that than a CGI vehicle. Nolan could have gone all CGI, including with Batman himself, but by staying away from CGI as much as possible, the action looks better.

          • Let me see if I have this right.
            You want to see actual P-51s, actual B-117s and actual Me109s?
            And all for a lower budget?

            Do you know how many of those planes are still flying?
            You probably have more fingers and toes. Actual fingers and toes.

            • Preferably, but not necessarily. Maybe just better CGI? Some of it in the clip, as stated before, is quite obvious.

              • The CGI itself is actually pretty good. It’s the animations that are problematic. They seem to stretch the laws of physics a bit too much to look totally believable.

    • Being able to guess that the camera can’t fly through exploding debris does not make one good at spotting CGI.

  16. I like Terence Blanchard, but the music he composed for that action scene with the train didn’t seem to fit all too well. I’d rather have no score at all or a theme that was more serious in tone.

  17. ‘Black Cinema’? Why are you using that phrase? What exactly does it mean? The whole point Lucas is trying to make is that there isn’t such a thing as black cinema any more than there’s white cinema.

  18. Heroes are not born heroes! Sometimes they are made! Usually they are just ordinary people thrown into extraordinary situations that require them to either take flight or fight! Dispite their fears, despite the possiblity of dire consequences, despite backlash, negative public oppinion, or adverse peer pressure, heroes determine to act,and follow through. Because it’s the right thing to do.

    Therefore I Salute you George Lucas! You are a hero!
    Tuskegee Airmen, I Salute you!
    “Tuskegee Retails” Up, Up, and Beyond! Ernie King

  19. black guys talkin like modern black guys . yea they had their slang words bk then but these dude talk waasy to modern thts what mske this look fak. btw not racist I got black funny friends. & they thought these dudes talk to modern.

  20. Last night I had the opportunity to see the premiere of the movie “Red Tails” starring Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. (due to be released January 20th 2012). The movie was fantastic. George Lucas did a great job retelling the story of the Tuskegee Airmen heroes during World War II. The movie was wonderful and it holds your interest from beginning to the end. The scenes were clear and you can understand what is being said throughout; both in English and in the German (in captions) language. The sound track was captivating. Thank you George Lucas; you did a wonderful job. As the author of “America Huh! I’m Going Home,” I only hope its movie will be just so.

  21. My biggest complaint about this movie is that, after reading the cast list on IMDB, the producers decided to completely leave out Gen. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. He was the commander of the Tuskegee Airmen for crying out loud. Why would a major historical figure like that be excluded from this movie?

  22. As long as there are plenty of sneering, blue-eyed, constipated looking Nazis to kill, all will be well. (I hate those guys, but what would H-wood do without ‘em?)

    I hope that this does give some new talent of color a chance to shine, and that they are written and directed well enough not to be upstaged by the FX.

    WW2 areal combat footage was the original inspiration for the space battle set pieces of Star Wars, but FX have only recently progressed to the point where you could attempt to re-create the air war. The black void of space was always great for hiding a matte line. (No pun intended.) Most people now spend a lot of time with computer graphics and are keen at noticing CGI tells, but it certainly looks a lot better than anything that came before in this genre.

    Using real planes that aren’t the right type or can’t be flown to their maximum envelope because of their rarity is just as disappointing to me as a poorly rendered highlight or motion blur.

  23. I get tired of this internet meme that the entire planet was running in the streets cursing Lucas existence because of the newer trilogy. That’s probably less than half of you. Probably a portion of you just chimed in because you were afraid of not going with the the (loudest) crowd. Some of you forget that the original trilogy wasn’t exactly flawless. But really, what does any of that have to do with the Tuskegee airmen? Nothing. Be happy that somebody with the dough to make it happen is making it happen. And not gripe because he invented an alien whose voice you don’t like.

    • The first SW trilogy was 2/3 flawless, but the wheels came off as soon as we entered Jabba’s lair and the franchise never got it’s groove back no matter how much money was thrown at it.

      If Lucas has produced this pic with his own scratch, it is obviously a project he believes in and cares about, which is more than I can say about every SW ep since Empire.

      Han Solo’s path to redemption was a much better story than Ani’s descent into darkness. Had I given the world Jar-Jar, I might want to redeem myself too, after all, no amount of money or sycophantic underlings could completely insulate you from the fanboy outrage that permeates the web.

      Let’s hope Lucas finds his way home, and we finally get a film worth watching.

  24. I know the real history and it deserves to be told on the big screen. However the trailer sucks and makes me think its going to be awful. Over dramatic scenes, stupid rah rah football type pep talks before flights,and what appears to be graphics that defy physics and common senss. I expect at least half the movie will take place in the US where the Tuskeegee men fought one war at home. It was not losses that kept them in the US, it was politics and racism. it was politics that finally game them as well as a few all black ground units the chance to fight up front. Fingers crossed that its better than I fear it will be.