Eastwood to Tackle TWO Separate Iwo Jima Films

by | October 17, 2005 | Comments

You’re probably already a bit familiar with master filmmaker Clint Eastwood‘s upcoming project, "Flags of Our Fathers," but Time Magazine brings us a fascinating new wrinkle on the story. Seems that Mr. Eastwood is not content with helming just one movie; he now plans to direct "Lamps Before the Wind," which will tell the WWII story from the Japanese point of view, while "Flags" will deal focus on the American perspective.

A rather excellent article by longtime Eastwood colleague Richard Schickel begins like so:

"Sometime this month in Chicago, Clint Eastwood will complete principal photography on his latest movie, Flags of Our Fathers. It’s the 26th feature film he has directed since he made Play Misty for Me in 1971. And just as he has done before ("The Bridges of Madison County," "Mystic River"), he is basing it on a best-selling book. But this movie is different from all the others that he or anyone else has directed, for Flags is only half the story he wants to tell.

The book, by James Bradley and Ron Powers, recounts the ultimately tragic tale of six young U.S. Marines who happened to raise a huge American flag atop Mount Suribachi in the midst of the great battle for Iwo Jima during World War II, of how an Associated Press photographer squeezed off what he thought was a routine shot of them doing so that became an iconic image, of what happened to some of those kids (only three survived the next few days of battle) when they were hustled home to be heedlessly exploited by the U.S. government to raise civilian morale and, incidentally, sell billions of dollars’ worth of war bonds. That story, rich in darkly ambiguous nuance, would have been more than enough to preoccupy Eastwood’s attention for a couple of years.

But when Eastwood tried to buy the rights, he discovered that Steven Spielberg already had them, and so he moved on instead to "Million Dollar Baby." Then, backstage at the 2004 Academy Awards (at which his "Mystic River" was a multiple nominee), Eastwood encountered Spielberg, and before the evening was out, they agreed to a "Flags" co-production, with Eastwood directing. Shortly thereafter, the project began to elicit an uncommon, almost obsessive, interest from its director. He has not often attempted fact-based movies, and he had never undertaken one that contained such huge combat scenes. He began to read more widely and deeply on the subject. And he began talking to both American and Japanese veterans of Iwo Jima, which remains the bloodiest engagement in Marine Corps history and the one for which the most Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded (27). As for the Japanese, only about 200 out of 22,000 defending soldiers survived. At some point in his research, Eastwood realized that he had to find a way to tell both sides of the story–"not in the "Tora! Tora! Tora!" way, where you cut back and forth between the two sides," he says, "but as separate films.""

For the rest of the article (which is definitely worthy of a read), head on over to Time Magazine’s website and bask in the warm glow of Clint Eastwood’s unstoppable commitment to quality filmmaking. (Hey, I’m a fan.)

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