HBO Films well-armed for 'Pacific'

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HBO Films has given the green light to "The Pacific," the long-gestating 10-hour miniseries from executive producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg that serves as the follow-up to the duo's Emmy-winning 2001 HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers."

Filming on the epic, which HBO Films is producing in association with Playtone and DreamWorks Television, is set to begin this summer in Australia.

As far as budget goes, "Pacific" will outpace "Brothers," which in 2001 became the most expensive miniseries ever at more than $120 million. Sources indicated that "Pacific" will cost nearly $200 million.

In 2005, HBO chairman and CEO Chris Albrecht said the premium cable network was planning to spend a total of $300 million on "Pacific" and another high-profile mini, the seven-hour "John Adams," also from Playtone (HR 7/18/05).

A companion piece to the World War II saga "Brothers," "Pacific" tracks the intertwined odysseys of three U.S. Marines -- Robert Leckie, John Basilone and Eugene Sledge -- across the vast canvas of the Pacific, from the first clash with the Japanese in the jungles of Guadalcanal to the triumphant return home after V-J Day.

Production will be based at Melbourne Central City Studios in Melbourne, Victoria, with filming set to take place in Melbourne, where U.S. troops camped in 1943, and Far North Queensland.

"We're proud to be reuniting with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg to complete the story of the American combat experience of World War II," HBO Films president Colin Callender said. "This epic miniseries is based on the true stories of three Marines whose experiences in the Pacific embodied the unique nature of that theater of war, and dramatize how it profoundly differed from the European front. "

"Pacific" is based on the books "With the Old Breed" by Sledge and "Helmet for My Pillow" by Leckie, as well as original interviews conducted by the filmmakers and Hugh Ambrose, son of "Brothers" author Stephen E. Ambrose, who died in 2002. Hugh Ambrose serves as a consultant on the miniseries.

Hanks and Spielberg will executive produce "Pacific" with Hanks' partner at Playtone, Gary Goetzman, who served as a co-executive producer on "Brothers." Another "Brothers" co-exec producer, Tony To, is back and will co-exec produce with "Brothers" writer Graham Yost.
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