Trio recruited for 'Pacific' mini

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James Badge Dale, Joe Mazzello and Val Lauren have been tapped to lead the ensemble cast of HBO Films' big-budget miniseries "The Pacific," from executive producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.

The 10-hour mini, a companion piece to Hanks and Spielberg's Emmy-winning 2001 World War II saga "Band of Brothers," tracks the intertwined odysseys of three U.S. Marines -- Robert Leckie (Dale), John Basilone (Lauren) and Eugene Sledge (Mazzello) -- 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.

"Pacific," which HBO Films is producing in association with Playtone and DreamWorks Television, starts shooting in August in Port Douglas, Australia. It will shoot there through year's end and then move to Melbourne. No airdate has yet been set for the mini, which also will air in Australia on Channel 7.

"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, which reportedly will cost nearly $200 million (HR 4/25).

Hanks and Spielberg are executive producing "Pacific" with Hanks' partner at Playtone, Gary Goetzman. Tony To and Graham Yost are co-executive producers.

Dale most recently co-starred on "Ft. Pit," Denis Leary and Peter Tolan's drama pilot for NBC that was in contention for a fall pickup. He also co-starred in Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning "The Departed" and has been featured on Fox's "24." The actor is repped by ICM, Myrna Jacoby of MJ Management and attorney Geoff Oblath.

Lauren's credits include the feature films "Dallas 362" and "The Salton Sea" and HBO Films' "Live From Baghdad." He also recently appeared on CBS' "CSI: NY" and "Criminal Minds." Lauren is repped by Cheri Barner at Artist Management.

Mazzello recently wrote, produced and directed the short film "Matters of Life and Death." The film, which he also stars in alongside Rachael Leigh Cook, Nick Heyman and David Strathairn, has been making the rounds on the festival circuit. The former child actor's credits also include Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" films and "Radio Flyer," in which Hanks appeared. He is repped by the Agency Group and manager Madeline Ryan at Ryan Entertainment.
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