The true story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all African-American aerial unit, will land in theaters on January 20, 2012, Lucasfilms announced today.
Directed by Anthony Hemingway (“Treme,” “The Wire”) from a script by John Ridley, “Red Tails” stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard and Bryan Cranston. It will be released by Twentieth Century Fox, which shepherded Lucas’ “Star Wars” films to the big screen.
Up-and-comers Nate Parker (“The Secret Life of Bees” ), David Oyelowo (“The Last King of Scotland”) Cliff Smith aka Method Man (“The Wire”), and Kevin Phillips (“Pride”), co-star.
The plot is as follows:
“1944. World War II rages and the fate of the free world hangs in the balance. Meanwhile the black pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program are courageously waging two wars at once — one against enemies overseas, and the other against discrimination within the military and back home. Racial prejudices have long held ace airman Martin “Easy” Julian (Nate Parker) and his black pilots back at base — leaving them with little to do but further hone their flying skills — while their white counterparts are shipped out to combat after a mere three months of training. Mistakenly deemed inferior and assigned only second-rate planes and missions, the pilots of Tuskegee have mastered the skies with ease but have not been granted the opportunity to truly spread their wings. Until now.
As the war in Europe continues to take its dire toll on Allied forces, Pentagon brass has no recourse but to reconsider these under-utilized pilots for combat duty. Just as the young Tuskegee men are on the brink of being shut down and shipped back home, Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard) awards them the ultimate chance to prove their mettle high above. Undaunted by the prospect of providing safe escort to bombers in broad daylight — a mission so dangerous that the RAF has refused it and the white fighter groups have sustained substantial losses — Easy’s pilots at last join the fiery aerial fray. Against all the odds, with something to prove and everything to lose, these intrepid young airmen take to the skies in a heroic endeavor to combat the enemy — and the discrimination that has kept them down for so long.”