Midway, the latest look into the United States’ role in World War II, is set to for release this week. The film encompasses the lives of real people who had important roles to play in the outcome of the famous battle. Dennis Quaid and Patrick Wilson play two such men, Vice Admiral Halsey and Edwin Layton respectively, and they shared the honor the felt in an interview with Screen Rant.
First off, congratulations on the film; this was amazing. I love World War II films; my dad's a big World War II history buff, so this is right up his alley. World War II has been described by many as America's finest hour. Why is it important to explore this war in contemporary times?
Dennis Quaid: Well, it’s important to explore World War II to maybe avoid war coming up at us. What did they do? It was first time that aircraft carriers had been used in warfare, which changed a lot of things. It's interesting in a number of [ways]. There's a number of things to be learned by studying this battle on many different levels: personal, historical, philosophical, whatever.
Layton is actually one of the more interesting characters to me. I am really fascinated by him and, doing a little bit of research, I know he was fluent in Japanese, which gave him this kind of globalist point of view. During your research about Layton, what else did you find? Because I know he was also sharp-witted, and kind of ahead of his time when it came to thinking.
Patrick Wilson: He was pretty mouthy, in a good way. He wasn't afraid to talk to anyone, I think, if he had the opportunity. That's why, even when he was a young attaché and was in a room with Yamamoto – he was the type of person that, if he's in a room, he's going to grill him. He's going to talk to him; he's not going to be sheepish, he's going to walk right up to him and converse in Japanese, even though Yamamoto was fluent English.
So, he had a tremendous amount of respect, but he was also extremely smart. He knew, much like the Japanese at the time, that this is going to come to a head at some point. When you're playing someone like that, you play with both reverence and [enjoyment] because to play someone that driven and that fearless is exciting. It’s rewarding. It's rewarding because, for him, it was a very personal journey.
Congratulations on your Japanese. It was pretty good.
Dennis Quaid: Can you order something online in Japanese now?
Patrick Wilson: Online? Yeah, because I can type it. That’s easy.
Dennis, you're a bit of a history buff, I've heard. And you have a personal connection to Halsey, because your dad served in World War II. I believe he was a Marine; my dad was also Marine.
Dennis Quaid: My dad was a Merchant Marine, so he was on the ships that were going across the Atlantic. Mostly to ferry supplies and try not to get sunk by a U-Boat.
But your dad's buddy, T Bone Burnett, was on –
Dennis Quaid: Well, that's my buddy, T Bone Burnett. The guy who did the music to O, Brother, Where Art Thou. His father was there.
That's crazy. How did you personally connect with Halsey, knowing that you had a connection with him?
Dennis Quaid: I just think he was such an incredible personality. To begin with, he was one of those old school people. Even back then, he was old school. Yet at the same time, he was one of the inventors of this new thing called warfare between aircraft carriers, which was like playing chess in a way but with men's lives at stake.
It’s incredible. His men loved him; the Enterprise, his ship, was in more battles than any other ship in World War II and survived. Made it through. It’s just an amazing story.
It was an amazing story. I hope everyone sees this film; it’s amazing and visually stunning, too.
- Midway (2019) release date: Nov 08, 2019