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Stars and stripes and other symbols of American patriotism helped Hollywood pay homage to U.S. armed forces at the Midway world premiere at Westwood’s Regency Village Theatre.
Directed by Roland Emmerich, Midway centers on the post-Pearl Harbor battle in the Pacific between American and Imperial Japanese forces. The film sees stars including Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson and Nick Jonas as the real unsung heroes who changed the tide of World War II with their acts of bravery against Japanese forces.
“This was the biggest comeback story of World War II,” Emmerich told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a lot about camaraderie, it’s a lot about friendship, it’s a lot about how to be a leader of man. It’s all about united America.”
Though the film, slated to hit theaters on Veterans Day weekend, hones in on figures and scenarios from the 1940s, Emmerich said he feels its themes can easily find relevance in today’s political climate.
He said that there’s “a strange kind of nationalism that has become modern again and on the rise,” in multiple parts of the globe including America and Europe. Emmerich also noted that films like Midway serve to remind audiences about sacrifices made for democracy.
“It’s great to remind people that 80 years ago, some young men died for freedom and democracy and that without these guys … there would still be a lot of fascists around the world, it would not be a united world,” he told THR.
One of the World War II servicemen highlighted in the film includes Jimmy Doolittle, the United States Air Force general who led U.S. forces into Tokyo, Japan. Starring as the general is Aaron Eckhart, who said that the fights of World War II still resonate with life today.
“Today we’re fighting for our own freedom and liberty,” he said. “Right now we’re in a big fight, so we need warriors to fight for what they believe in.”
Midway writer Wes Tooke told THR that he initially planned on telling the stories of the highlighted servicemen through 40-minute episodes of a miniseries, but felt that a feature film was more appropriate to pay homage to all those who sacrificed their lives for the World War II battle.
Tooke also said that the film allows audiences to remember something that’s often overlooked or taken for granted.
“We’ve been fighting these quiet wars for years and I think we tend to forget that there are men and women on the front lines everyday,” he said. “In honoring what happened in 1942, we’re not honoring only their service, but the service of everyone.”
In line with the film’s paying tribute to both war veterans and those currently serving in U.S. armed forces, the Midway screening kicked off with an acknowledgement of the three battles of Midway survivors in attendance. Members of the U.S. Navy color guard also brought about a patriotic pomp and circumstance by presenting the American flag and performing the national anthem.
An afterparty, clad in red, white and blue lights, at the W Hotel’s STK followed the screening. While some attendees chatted among themselves over drinks, hor d’oeuvres and plates of DIY mac-and-cheese, others donned pilot jackets and helmets for the Midway photo booth.
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Jamie Lee Curtis
Monday Night Football