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Look out for more coverage of
Flyboys in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Flyboys

THE STARS:
James Franco • Jean Reno • Martin Henderson
• David Ellison
DIRECTOR: Tony Bill

Recreating WWI battles… THE CONCEPT:
Inspired by the true story of a group of 38 young American men who enlisted to fly with the French in World War I, and who would become known as the legendary Lafayette Escadrille.

U.S. RELEASE: September 22 2006, Nationwide • Rated: PG-13

THE COMMENTS:

DEAN DEVLIN (Producer):
“The World War II aviation movie used to be a staple genre of Hollywood, and it vanished because the conventional wisdom was no one care about World War I, no one cared about fighter planes – well, a couple of years ago, they were saying that about pirate movies.”

TONY BILL:
“It hasn’t been possible to do a World War I movie because the airplanes are few and far between; they’re very hard to find. When they made these great movies about World War I, they had plenty of planes, and veteran pilots. Because of technology we were able to do something that they were unable to do. They didn’t have helicopters, they didn’t have the right kind of cameras; they didn’t have the right technical tools that we have now.”

DEVLIN:
“When we were researching this, we found that more pilots died in collisions than died from bullet shots. And the reason was these pilots flew incredibly close to one another, and if we wanted to represent that in a movie we couldn’t really do that without putting our pilots at a tremendous risk. So with technology today, we can give you the feeling of what it felt like to [be] one of those pilots back then.”

JAMES FRANCO (Blaine Rawlings):
“I become kind of obsessive about research; I think part of it’s just filling time. I signed onto this at least four months in advance, and Tony is a big pilot and he had some of his friends take me up in a Steerman, it was an open cockpit plane, and I did all the loops, and it was a blast, so I thought, ‘Well, I have the time, I might as well get my pilot’s license.’”

DAVID ELLISON (Eddie Beagle):
“I grew up flying, and I think flying these kinds of airplanes, you know every time you go up what kind of risk you’re taking. There wasn’t any danger [for the actors] but a couple of times when the [stunt] pilots came down they were a little worried, because these planes are really rustic.”

DEVLIN:
“We had 22 planes; we shot for three months with helicopters, and then augmented that with 850 special effect shots. So, between the mixture of the two, we were able to create the six aerial battle sequences for the picture.”

ELLISON:
“It’s an independent movie and we shot the whole thing in 52 days, when normally it would shoot for about 80 to 100 days, so we definitely had a lot to do in a little time, and because of that it was pretty fast-paced. The Blue Max was the last big movie about World War I fighters.”

FRANCO:
“One of my favorite actors is Steve McQueen, and he did a number of war films, and one in particular The War Lover he plays a pilot, and you just watch him in and around the plane and it’s so natural and detailed, because he was a real pilot, and I hoped to try to come close to something like that.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Flyboys site
Images above © MGM
Feature © 2006 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #675, October 2006 cover

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