George Lucas has been talking about his World War 2 project Red Tails for a long time. Now rumors are going around that Samuel L. Jackson, who worked with Lucas on the last two Star Wars movies, may star in, and/or possibly direct the film. Jackson, who can currently be heard as the voice of Mace Windu in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, told IGN.com:
“I just read it like two weeks ago. It’s a pretty good script,” Jackson began. “At one point (Lucas) was asking me if I’d ever want to direct anything. I said, ‘I don’t know, man. I’m trying to find things.’ He said, ‘Well, let me send you this thing. Maybe you might want to direct it.'”
Jackson continued, “Well, I guess if I was gonna direct something George would be a great guy to kind of mentor me through that, especially a big ass special effects flying picture. The script’s good. I like it.”
But when pressed if he would seriously consider helming Red Tails, Jackson replied, “I don’t know. I don’t have a year and a half of my life where I wanna stop acting.”
So there you have it, that seems pretty clear to me. It’s highly unlikely that Jackson will helm the picture, but I think we can expect him to be in there. Also, according to the IMDB, Anthony Hemingway, an assistant director (Freedomland) and sometime TV director (CSI: NY) is currently attached to the project, which is set for release in 2009. Of course these things change so we’ll just have to wait for official announcements.
Red Tails, which was written by John Ridley (Undercover Brother), will tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American pilots to fly in a combat squadron during World War II (expect Spike Lee to throw a fit).
Lucasfilm was emerging as a big name production company back in the eighties and early nineties, with films such as Willow and Radioland Murders but has recently only been invested in Star Wars and Indiana Jones projects. I’m personally glad that Lucas is once again diversifying the company and hope that the trend continues (how about a Monkey Island animated movie?). The Movie Planet will of course keep you informed of any further developments.