George Lucas, Nick Saban and the 'Red Tails' lovefest
"Red Tails" is a new movie from George Lucas that stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard as part of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of black pilots that fought in World War II, when the United States' armed forces were still segregated. It is directed by Anthony Hemingway, with Lucas as executive producer and writer.
On Monday night's (Jan. 9) "Daily Show," Lucas talked about how hard it was to get funding for a movie with primarily an all-black cast. He half-jokes with host Jon Stewart, "This has been held up for release... from 1942 when it was shot, I've been trying to get released ever since ... I showed it to all of [the studios] and they said, 'No, we don't know how to market a movie like this' .... 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."
The video of the interview is above. But then the story gets weirder.
Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban apparently was able to screen the movie for his team (with Lucas' permission) to get them pumped up for the National Championship Game Monday night.
Saban told the press in his postgame press conference, "We went to see the movie 'Red Tails' last night, which I would recommend to anybody. But, you know, those guys' motto was 'to the last plane, the bullet, the last man, the minute we fight and we always stay with the mission.' And I think that kind of described the spirit of that group extremely well, but it also describes the spirit of you know the group of players that we have on our team this year."
And then George Lucas got wind of Saban's shout-out, so he released a statement thanking Saban for the love:
"The cast and crew of 'Red tails' are together in New York for Tuesday's world premiere so you can imagine the excitement when we heard Coach Saban reference 'Red Tails' at the forefront of his postgame comments after winning the national championship. Everyone associated with the film was so honored that Coach Saban elected to have his entire team screen the film on the eve of their championship game. And then to have 'Red Tails' and its inspirational message of overcoming adversity, never giving up, self-sacrifice and ultimate teamwork so deeply touch the Alabama team is personally very gratifying. I want to congratulate the Crimson Tide on their tremendous victory...the Tide truly rolled on Monday night."
So. Hugs all around. "Red Tails" hits theaters Jan. 20, 2012.