Red Tails is a long-awaited George Lucas-produced drama about the Tuskegee Airmen, a WWII airborne unit comprised of African-American pilots. Bryan plays Major William Mortamus a racist officer in the U.S. Army of the 1940s.
“I play the bad guy,” says Cranston. “I’m a colonel, racist, bigoted, who does not want to give the Tuskegee Airmen an opportunity to show what they can do. What I tried to do [as an actor] is to convey the sense that I didn’t hate these people – I’m trying to protect them from embarrassing themselves and the United States Army because [in the character’s mind] they’re just not capable. ‘I wouldn’t allow a dog to be in a tank and ruin the tank or kill the dog, either. And you’re sending up these ‘boys’ in these intricate machines, and it’s not going to end good, and shame on us for allowing that to happen.’ And that’s the point of view, which I think is scarier [than outright hatred], actually, that he just completely believes in that.”
In comparing the character of Walt (Breaking Bad) to Major Martamus, Cranston says they’re very different…
“There’s no real comparison,” he says. “I try to make it feel like you’re completely a different being. You’re a human being, but you have a different set of characteristics and circumstances and upbringing and influences and education and all that stuff. So it’s almost like shedding skin, like a snake, and then you put on new wardrobe or new facial hair or not and it changes the way you feel. And wardrobe helps a lot. So you can design from the outside in and at the same time, go from the inside out. It’s really cool.”
It finished filming in Prague several months ago and is currently in post production, IMDB have it as a 2009 release but I believe this to be incorrect and we are not likely to see it until sometime next year.
‘BREAKING BAD’s’ BRYAN CRANSTON TALKS LUCASFILM’S ‘RED TAILS’
by Abbie Bernstein – 30 July 2009 – iFMagazine.com
iF: Do you fly a plane at any point in this?
CRANSTON: No. No flying at all. I’m at desks the entire time.
iF: What’s going on with RED TAILS right now?
CRANSTON: RED TAILS is in post-production. We finished shooting in Prague and I had a great time and I really became a fan of [RED TAILS star] Terrence Howard as a person. I was already a fan of him as an actor, but now also as a person – he’s a gentleman and created an environment that we were able to have some fun in and do our jobs well. There are a lot of [effects] ILM is going to do, that George Lucas’ organization is going to take care of.
iF: Is there anything different about working at Lucasfilm than working for other production companies?
CRANSTON: I didn’t notice anything different. It’s filmmaking. They have a budget they have to stay within and our job is to convey truthfulness. [The RED TAILS director is] Anthony Hemingway, a young man who is a great director and directed, I believe, mostly in television up until now. He had a tremendous passion for this, Lucas believed in him and gave him a shot. I enjoyed his work.
iF: How did you come to be involved in RED TAILS?
CRANSTON: I can honestly say that it was something that I wanted to do. I certainly didn’t have to do it. It wasn’t a large role, but it was an important role. I always want to be a part of something that’s important, and the telling of this story of the Tuskegee Airmen is American history is important. Whether we’re proud of it or not [in terms of showing the racism of the period] doesn’t matter. It’s important to tell this history and I got to play the character that represented the roadblock to their lives. There’s a lot of greatness to America and there’s a lot that we need to apologize for and I think that’s what’s happened. I feel totally against [the belief] that America can do no wrong. That’s not true. Just like a human being, we [as a country] are fully capable of doing wrong, but when we do wrong, own up to it, admit it, be responsible for it, pay the price of it, move on and learn from it.