Posted on Friday, May 27th, 2011 by Germain Lussier
One year has passed since we heard anything about Red Tails, the first Lucasfilm movie in almost two decades without the words “Star Wars” or “Indiana Jones” in the title. The World War II film about the legendary African-American pilots named The Tuskegee Airmen stars Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Bryan Cranston, David Oyelowo, Method Man, Tristan Wilds, Michael B. Jordan, Andre Royo and many more. George Lucas is a producer, as he’s been wanting to make the movie for 20 years, but it’s directed by Anthony Hemingway (The Wire).
Last May, we got a brief glimpse of the movie but, since then, a full calendar year has passed with no updates. In the meantime, Hemingway has directed several episodes of Treme, Community, but now, finally, there’s some actual news on the film. They’ve just signed Jazz legend Terence Blanchard to record the score in Prague this June.
The news of the signing came in the form of a press release over on JazzCorner.com (via The Playlist). And while it doesn’t give any hint as to when we might see the film that was originally announced in 2008, scoring is one of the finishing touches on any movie. Maybe this year? We’ll see.
Blanchard is one of the greats in the jazz world and has been utilized by Spike Lee, Disney and many more. Read the full press release to learn more about him:
World-renowned film composer and trumpet player Terence Blanchard is set to score the soundtrack for RED TAILS, the feature film directorial debut by Anthony Hemingway. Based on the true story of the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, RED TAILS tells the tale of a group of African-American combat pilots at battle. This marks the first Lucasfilm production in 17 years that is independent of the Indiana Jones and Star Wars film franchises.
RED TAILS stars Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding, Jr., Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard and Emmy Award winner Bryan Lee Cranston. The film addresses racial prejudice, war and showcases the human spirit as it rises above all odds.
Produced by Lucasfilm, RED TAILS began development by George Lucas over 20 years ago. Several writers contributed to the script, but ultimately John Ridley completed the screenplay. Producers interviewed surviving original Tuskegee pilots and even gained access to official logbooks from their missions in World War II. The film was shot in Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy and England, and the film score will be recorded in Prague this June.
Terence Blanchard’s work on RED TAILS comes fresh off the heels of his critically acclaimed score for the Broadway play, The Mother****** With The Hat, currently playing in New York and starring Chris Rock. He is currently at work on the music for the Broadway remake of A Streetcar Named Desire and has also been commissioned by the Opera St. Louis for a project that will premiere in 2012.
Blanchard just completed a national co-headlining tour with Branford Marsalis and will continue to tour with his quintet throughout 20ll. Additionally, after serving as Artistic Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute, Blanchard has now been named Artistic Director of the Henry Mancini Institute at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.
As a film composer, Blanchard has more than 50 scores to his credit and received a Golden Globe nomination for Spike Lee’s 25th Hour. Blanchard’s music was also recently seen in Spike Lee/HBO’s If God’s Willing And The Creek Don’t Rise, commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster and the sequel to the critically-acclaimed 2006 film, “When The Levees Broke.” The film shows the current state of Blanchard’s native New Orleans five years after Hurricane Katrina, and follows the lives of several individuals and their families in the aftermath of one of the worst disasters to occur in U.S. history. Blanchard won a Grammy for his 2007 CD “A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina),” which included tracks from Levees.
In 2009, Blanchard loaned his musical voice to Louis the Alligator in The Princess and the Frog. He has completed scores for Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna, the soundtrack for Darnell Martin’s Cadillac Records and Guy Moshe’s adventure thriller Bunraku (Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson and Josh Hartnett). Other film music written by Blanchard includes Kasi Lemmons’ Eve’s Bayou and Talk to Me, Oprah Winfrey’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Tim Story’s Barbershop and Ron Shelton’s Dark Blue and music for over one dozen Spike Lee films and documentaries.
Terence Blanchard has established himself as one of the most influential jazz musicians and film score masters of his generation, a member of a jazz legacy that has shaped the contours of modern jazz today. With more than 29 CD’s to his credit, Blanchard is a four-time Grammy Award winner and has received multiple Grammy nominations as well as a Golden Globe nod. His latest CD, “Choices,” was released by Concord Jazz in 2009 to widespread critical acclaim. Recorded in New Orleans at the Ogden Museum Of Art — itself a survivor of Hurricane Katrina — “Choices” addresses the choices we all make in life – both as a society and on a personal level. Guest artists on “Choices” include writer, speaker, educator and activist Dr. Cornel West and singer, musician and composer Bilal. West performs spoken word pieces on the album with Bilal providing vocals on several of the tracks.
What do you think about Blanchard scoring Red Tails? When do you think we’ll see the movie? Does the time that’s passed while the film has been in production inspire confidence?