Pearl Harbor casting info

Posted on Apr 4, 2000

Leland Orser (Wonderland, The Bone Collector) is the latest addition to the growing cast of Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer’s Pearl Harbor project. According to Variety, Orser will take on the role of Major Jackson, a wounded intelligence officer who works with Kate Beckinsale’s Navy nurse character, Evelyn.

Pearl Harbor

Posted on Apr 3, 2000

The Navy is backing “Pearl Harbor” 100%. Got a copy of the Navy News Service. You can read it by clicking here.
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The Honolulu Advertiser reports the following about yesterday’s ceremony at the Pearl Harbor/Arizona Memorial:

Pearl Harbor’ movie drops anchor here; New generation to learn about WWII from film

By Wayne Harada and Catherine E. Toth Advertiser Staff Writers

Disney filmmakers pledged yesterday to bring the story of “Pearl Harbor ÷ which starts production here tomorrow ÷ to a new generation of movie-goers, while honoring those who died in World War II.

On the site of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack by the Japanese, the film’s producer, director and stars, along with military officials, paid their respects with traditional pomp ÷ floral offerings, the playing of “Taps, and a flyover by four P-40 Warhawks.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer said, “It (the war) changed the way we thought. I felt this film was seminal in my career ÷ to get this done and done correctly.

Richard Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Motion Picture Group, said “Pearl Harbor likely will be “the most anticipated movie in the industry next year.

Gov. Ben Cayetano said the state is cooperating fully with Disney.

“I think what’s most important is that this film gives Disney an opportunity to do something great ÷ for our country, Cayetano said. He also said the film “can help us educate those generations and the generations to come about the lessons of war.

Adm. Thomas Fargo, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said the Department of Defense also endorses the project, calling it “a wonderful effort.

Director Michael Bay said the epic drama, focusing on two fighter pilots and a Navy nurse, “is a true love story · a love triangle.

In said story, Tennessee crop dusters Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck) and Danny Walker (Josh Hartnett) become Army Air Corps pilots. Rafe volunteers for the American Eagle Squadron during World War II in England, leaving behind his best friend and new love, Navy nurse Evelyn Johnson (Kate Beckinsale). Danny and Evelyn are then stationed at Pearl Harbor. After Rafe is reported killed, the two fall in love.

The key players have agreed to defer salaries, banking instead on box office success.

“(We’ve) really taken no money because I think we really like the script, the story seemed important, and it seemed like the right thing to do, said Affleck, the frequent indie star known for taking roles over money. “You want all the money to be up there to make a movie we can all be proud of. It’s more satisfying for me to be in a movie that means something than for the cash up-front.

The film’s preproduction budget of $135 million means that most of the money will be spent on production costs to ensure an accurate depiction of the war, according to Cook. A hefty chunk of the budget will support special effects created by Industrial Light and Magic.

According to Bay, the film will boast 180 true digital effects, with historical battle scenes to be recreated at the Baja, Mexico, tank where many of “Titanic’s sinking scenes were filmed.

Some air attacks will be digitally produced, but extensive filming also will be done on inactive ships at Pearl, meaning war-like smoke, fire, and noise during production.

The attack on Pearl Harbor will involve the largest effects, said Bay.

“Michael wouldn’t commit ’til he felt we could really represent the attack as authentically as possible, Bruckheimer said.

To ensure authenticity, the filmmakers have conducted research, consulted Pearl Harbor survivors, and even involved the Japanese in script reviews.

“We’re trying to be as accurate as we can, in the context of motion pictures, Bruckheimer said.

“I have read it, and it’s an excellent script, said Ralph Lindenmeyer, who was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the attack. “I knew what happened. I could see the chaos. I tried to impress the movie producers of that angle.

Some characters were assembled from fragments of history. The two friends are based on two pilot buddies, Welsh and Taylor, who shot down six Zeroes. Beckinsale’s character is a composite of real-life nurses.

Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character, however, was derived from the history books. He plays Dorie Miller, a mess attendant on the USS Virginia who becomes a hero after the attack. Miller was the first African American to receive the Navy Cross.

Affleck and Hartnett were sent to a four-day boot camp with the U.S. Army Rangers. “We thought it was going to be an actor-y kind of boot camp, where they teach you to salute, Affleck said, laughing. “It wasn’t quite that. It was more like the first 20 minutes of ÎFull Metal Jacket’ but it was extraordinary.

“I think it was helpful to us, and the movie, for us to play our roles, he said. “It’s much more helpful to me in my life and as a person. I don’t think I scrubbed a urinal in my entire life.

“It was a really huge character-building experience, Hartnett said. “I’m positive I’ll never forget it.

Pearl Harbor update

Posted on Apr 2, 2000

We have a lot of updates today.

This site got mention on the Corpus Christi Caller!!! The article was regarding Michael’s 2nd visit to Corpus Christi. It says:

“…website dedicated to the director says Hollywood heavyweights Ben Affleck and Cuba Gooding Jr. will appear in the movie, and that Gene Hackman is negotiating.”

Not bad eh?
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It is windy and raining at the Pearl Harbor Arizona Memorial. And it will be like that for most of the week. Hope it starts clearing up before the cameras roll on Saturday, April 8th. Also, You can see a live webcam shot of the Pearl Harbor memorial by clicking here.
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Also, got these two articles which talk about this weeks coming events

‘Pearl Harbor’ filming starts with visit to USS Arizona
By Tim Ryan

Filming on what is expected to be the biggest movie ever on Oahu in terms of budget, amount spent and number of filming days may begin as early as tomorrow.

The $135 million epic “Pearl Harbor” is expected to continue for some 30 production days with local spending, according to some estimates, of between $10 million and $20 million.

The production has brought in a large special-effects team, period airplanes, military vehicles and costumes.

“This picture is a grand slam home run economically, historically and promotionally,” said Walea Constantinau, Honolulu city and county film liaison. “It’s so important historically so that the younger generation can understand this event; a big budget film brings so much to this economy; and it gives us a chance to promote Hawaii.”

A wreath-laying ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial tomorrow will mark the beginning of filming here for the movie. Several of the actors, studio executives, Admiral Thomas Boulton Fargo, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Gov. Ben Cayetano are expected to attend.

The World War II epic stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Ben Affleck, Tom Sizemore, Kate Beckinsale, Josh Hartnett, Guy Torry, James King, Ewan Bremner, William Lee Scott and Matt Davis. It is being directed by Michael Bay and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who are known for the blockbusters “Armageddon” and “The Rock.”

Randall Wallace’s “Pearl Harbor” tells the story of two Navy pilots and best friends (Affleck and Hartnett) who fall in love with the same Army nurse (Beckinsale). Gooding plays a 3rd Class mess attendant who served on the USS West Virginia when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Scott and Davis play the fighter pilots who work alongside Affleck and Hartnett.

Most of the “Pearl Harbor” filming in Hawaii will be done on military bases, especially at Ford Island. Some filming is expected on the deck of the USS Missouri.

About 15 World War II vintage aircraft — collected from museums and private collectors — are being stored on Ford Island after being shipped to Hawaii from San Diego.

According to sources, there are “piles and piles” of U.S. Army WWII gear on Ford Island, including tents, and along the shoreline are sand bags, large searchlights and machine guns.

Set construction will be simple, a source said. Instead of building full sets, the crew will at times build only what’s needed for a shot.

The studio will take an equally conservative approach to battle re-creations. One scene might require 20 ships, 12-15 camera positions and nine Air Force planes; then Disney plans to digitally add in numerous more ships and planes.

Al Burnes, business agent of IATSE, Local 665, which provides the technicians for film, television and stage productions in Hawaii, said 54 technicians are working on the film, with another 10 to begin after filming starts. The production brought in about 200 crew and department heads from Los Angeles, he said. “I don’t like that, but I understand it,” Burnes said.

“This is the production’s first location and they have at least another three, so they need these deparment heads at every place for continuity.”

About 20 IATSE members, including carpenters, painters, and electricians, started working for the production in February.

Some members said they signed confidentiality agreements as part of their contract to work on the film.

“Pearl Harbor” will film six days a week, with Fridays off. Filming is expected through the first week in May, when the project moves to Texas and Los Angeles.

The film is expected to reach theaters in summer 2001.
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Pearl Harbor … according to Hollywood
By Wayne Harada

Hollywood’s lingering fascination with war, and, especially, World War II, starts up all over again this week.

Right in our front yard.

Or harbor. “Pearl Harbor,” a megabucks film from Disney, begins preliminary shooting Tuesday at Pearl Harbor, site of the start of America’s involvement in WWII. Officially, the launch date is Saturday, but production crews and actors are already in our midst, ready to roll.

The film boasts formidable behind-the-scenes movers and shakers, including the legendary Hollywood action film-making team of Jerry Bruckheimer (producer) and Michael Bay (director). They last collaborated on “Armageddon,” about a war with mother nature.

Some A-list stars (Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin, Cuba Gooding Jr.) are aboard, too, playing fictional as well as real-life figures. The screenplay, featuring romance and drama and embroidering together fiction and fact, is by Randall Wallace, the Oscar-nominated writer of “Braveheart.” Early on, a peek at the closely guarded script prompted one Hollywood observer to dub this project “box office gold.”

But when it comes to the Day of Infamy, the quality of Hollywood’s understanding has varied from one film to the next, said Robert C. Schmitt, historian and former Hawaii state statistican, reflecting on the renewed interest in wartime dramas, sparked in part by “Saving Private Ryan.” “Some films are better than others; there is one, in the early ’70s, that stands out best.”

He was referring to 1970’s Japanese-American joint venture, “Tora! Tora! Tora!,” which recreated the drama – and trauma – of the war from both nations’ perspectives. “It was reasonably accurate where, over the years, most World War II films were terribly superficial,” said Schmitt.

He also thinks Hollywood is gearing up to serve up a new wartime saga for younger generations of filmgoers who neither saw nor lived through the experience of Pearl Harbor.

“I’m not an expert on the war genre, but I would probably say in terms of film history, ‘From Here to Eternity’ is probably the one most people remember. But in terms of action, I’d say ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!,'” said Georgette Deemer, Hawaii Film Office manager and one of the few Islanders who has read the proposed Wallace script. “But the new ‘Pearl Harbor’ will be great combination of both.”

Pearl Harbor – whose name is a kind of shorthand for the devastation that war can wreak, the attack the subject of films, novels, history books and TV productions – has had its share of “close-ups” over the years. Among these: 1953’s “From Here to Eternity,” perhaps best remembered for that clinch-on-the-beach scene between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, and 1965’s “In Harm’s Way,” with John Wayne leading the U.S. charge against the Japanese, with model ships and planes in bathtubs serving as the fleet. Footnote: “Eternity” has had extended life, in a 1979 TV mini-series spinoff (with title intact) with William Devane and Natalie Wood, which evolved later that same year into an episodic TV series with Devane and Barbara Hershey.

The new “Pearl Harbor” will almost certainly be the most realistic portrayal ever with special effects by Industrial Light and Magic, blending action shots with computer-generated images to recreate battle scenes.

The film has an announced pre-production budget of $135 million, believed to be the priciest ever approved up front (though other films have gone over budget to cost more). Hollywood is buzzing about the fact that the producer, director and, presumably, actors are deferring up front salaries and banking on box office profits later – a new approached designed to hold down the spiraling costs of filmmaking and assure the best in production values.

A studio source said that an 85-day shooting schedule is envisioned, with between 40 and 45 days here in the Islands – at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, at Wheeler Air Force Base, at Fort Shafter and other unannounced destinations. Additional filming will continue in England, Texas and Los Angeles.

But Pearl Harbor will have a stand-in for its most famous scene: The ship-sinking sequences will actually be filmed at the Fox Baja facilities in Mexico, in the exact location where the blockbuster “Titanic” gurgled to its see-worthy demise.

But studio officials have been mum – or at best, vague – about specifics of the production.

Those on the military bases will likely start seeing things – Fiberglas plane parts, aircraft shells, old cars – popping up. And they’ll start hearing and smelling things – “bombs,” crashes, smoke and such – an eery reminder. The filmmakers are working with the Department of Defense to assure that historical sites are not disturbed and property is restored to before-filming condition.

Around town, 40-plus vintage cars, secured during an earlier open call, are being corralled for use in filming. More than 1,600 military enlistees and dependents have signed on as extras, awaiting their call for non-speaking crowd scenes. Props of all kinds are being built at Ford Island. A Matson container with vintage aircraft awaits unloading at Pearl.

Filming is expected to be completed by August or September.

Release date? Memorial Day 2001, preceding the 60th anniversary of the Day of Infamy, Dec. 7, 1941.

Chances of seeing stars or filming? Pretty slim as the set is closed. Unless you live and work at Pearl Harbor or one of the bases, you won’t see much. So who’s in the movie? Affleck and Josh Hartnett, playing best friends from Tennessee, pilots who fall in love with the same nurse, portrayed by Kate Beckinsale. Among others aboard: Baldwin as Col. James Doolittle, Gooding as mess attendant Dorie Miller. Just signed: William Lee Scott, soon to be seen in “Black and White,” and a star in Bruckheimer’s next flick, opening in June, “Gone in 60 Seconds.”

Today, in Hawaii fashion, the project begins with a blessing. A wreath is being laid by filmmakers at the Arizona Memorial, to pay tribute to those who gave their lives in a war that has become spectacular entertainment.

Then it will be lights! Camera! Action!

This is gonna be big…

Posted on Mar 31, 2000

Wow…this movie will be big. Just read this from reel.com:

The Real Thing

Now this will be something to see. The actual live bombardment (with ‘real’ explosives) of roughly fifteen Naval vessels moored at Pearl Harbor, to be captured by movie cameras within the next few weeks.

The movie, of course, is Pearl Harbor, Disney’s super-sized – $135 million-and-counting – World War II epic drama. Filming is beginning this week under producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay in and around Pearl Harbor. (April 8 is the official start date.) Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett will play the two male leads, with Kate Beckinsale reportedly playing their mutual love interest.

The ships to be destroyed along ‘Battleship Row’ are moored at the ‘middle loch’ on the rear side of Ford Island, which is located in the middle of Pearl Harbor.

A director friend told me Wednesday that Bay and Bruckheimer will be using actual naval vessels and real explosives. The U.S. Navy has been bombing and sinking its own vessels for years as part of military maneuvers (“sink X’s” or “exercises,” in naval jargon), but this level of realism is rare for a Hollywood movie shoot.

U.S. Navy spokesperson Lt. Melissa Sherman, currently in Hawaii, says she’s aware of the plan to use live vessels in the simulation of the Pearl Harbor attack. She declined to say how many vessels would be used, or what kind. However, she adds, “They’re not going to sink anything.”

The 11-year-old boy in me is thrilled. Real explosions! Real flying shrapnel! Stunt men leaping into a flaming sea! Something to see, all right · only I won’t see it. Not unless Bay and Bruckheimer change their tune about press coverage.

The general policy is to keep reporters and cameras at arm’s length, according to Pearl Harbor’s unit publicist Gabriela Gutentag. I called Gutentag a few weeks ago to ask about visiting Hawaii to watch filming of the Japanese bombardment, which Bruckheimer had told me earlier would probably be the most exciting thing to see.

The spectacle, Bruckheimer confided, would include Japanese bomber planes swooping down over the harbor, with scores of extras running around and simulated bomb explosions going off willy-nilly. When I mentioned this to Gutentag, she replied there would be a “closed set” policy during filming of this footage.

Given the scale of the action, I said to her, how “closed” do they expect the shooting of this sequence to be? An industrious photographer or video-shooter with a private plane at his or her disposal would be able to easily capture this.

The “live” bombing of the ships is said to be part of Bay’s effort to knock our collective socks off. Word is he’s trying to go the old-fashioned way as much as possible, with actual props and real explosives, instead of relying mainly on the computer-generated trickery that has become commonplace in the making of big-scale action films.

I think this is terrific. I’ve said time and again that CGI always looks like CGI, and that there’s no substitute for organic realism. Think how much better Jim Cameron’s depiction of the Titanic taking to sea would have looked if he’d been able to pay for a real vessel, instead of using that digitally animated version of the ship that looked · digitally animated.

Just you wait. Access Hollywood or Entertainment Tonight will work something out with Bruckheimer and Gutentag, and we’ll be seeing at least some of this carnage on one of their shows before too long. I’ll be watching from my desk in Los Angeles while eating a tuna-fish sandwich.

Pearl Harbor tidbits

Posted on Mar 22, 2000

Sources tell me that Michael Bay will most likely (if not already) hook up again with Jon Schwartzman as his DP for the 3rd time in a row.

Michael now lives in Bel Air (just in case you didn’t know). It seems like the production process for “Pearl Harbor” might change how movies are made. Keep reading, got this from Variety.

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Studio’s deferment deals could rewrite megapic rules

By CHARLES LYONS

Forty-five men and women stand motionless, staring at a small brass plaque.

They do not say a word.

Each silently reads about the hundreds of U.S. soldiers entombed, almost 60 years ago, in the sunken battleship Arizona. And each is transported, disturbed.

‘That’s why people are doing ÎPearl Harbor’ and deferring their salaries,’ said Todd Garner, co-president of Buena Vista Motion Picture Group, describing the reactions of crew members on a recent scouting trip to the Hawaiian site. (Garner gave director Michael Bay the idea for the project.)

But there are many other reasons why principal crew and vendors agreed to make deferments on the pic, which is budgeted at $135 million. And greater ramifications.

If the ‘Pearl’ model works, deferments could become the newest way for studios to produce more $100 million-plus films while avoiding co-financing pacts – pacts that reduce studios’ potential upsides.

Still, the ‘Pearl’ deferments have already caused rumblings among crew members, some of whom have elected to pass on Disney’s offer to work for less. And the new model could ignite already smoldering studio/union relationships.

With ILM agreeing to take deferments, other effects houses, many hurting for work, may find themselves forced to follow suit – and risk the consequences.

One key below-the-line pro was delighted when Michael Bay approached him to do the film but was taken aback by the director’s throwaway line: ‘I’m deferring my salary on this film. How about you?’ Reluctantly, the crew member accepted the offer.

Soon thereafter, Bay invited some guests to his new multimillion-dollar home in Bel-Air for his birthday party. ‘It was a nice gesture,’ the crew member reflected. ‘But looking around, I had to ask myself, ÎWhy am I deferring my meager pay?’ ‘

Bay countered that no crew members attended his party and noted that nearly all of his primary crew from past films are returning for ‘Pearl.’ However, at least three of them assured Daily Variety they are returning under normal terms, with one arranging for the deferred portion of his salary to be put into an escrow account.

Crew members on low-budget films frequently have to make deferments, but when the producers on a few bigger pics, such as ‘The English Patient,’ have tried this arrangement, the results have not always been happy.

Deferments mean that the crew member or vendor agrees to work for a lower rate, with money coming back once the pic turns a profit. In this case, Disney promises that if ‘Pearl’ reaches a domestic gross of about $140 million, crew members will recoup what they would have been paid under normal circumstances.

Over the past year, however, only 10 movies have surpassed the $140 million domestic mark, including ‘Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace,’ ‘The Sixth Sense’ and ‘Toy Story 2.’

Unlike movies such as ‘American Graffiti’ and ‘Star Wars,’ where below-the-line crew received considerable backend on the film, only producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director-producer Bay have ‘points’ on ‘Pearl Harbor.

Hence, crew members and vendors are in for considerable risk – something that sources say they would have balked at had it not been for the subject matter and the talent involved. Others have found Disney’s ‘point’-less proposal uninviting. Since these crew members are crucial to the production, Disney has signed them on anyway, under traditional terms.

Despite the rumblings, Disney is steamrolling ahead with its plans, having already arranged for the following savings:

in Many heads of major below-the-line departments have agreed to deferments, including the D.P., editor, production designer and lighting director. The total budget value of such deferments is said to be $5 million-$10 million.

Panavision and Technicolor have been asked to take deferred payments. A Panavision spokesman said that while such deferments were discussed, the camera house will work on ‘Pearl’ under its standard deal with Disney.

ILM has agreed to what one Disney exec called ‘meaningful deferments’ on some 200 effects shots, said to cost close to $25 million.

Disney says its use of the shots will make it look more like 500 f/x shots were used. While ILM has ostensibly agreed to the deferments because the company wants to be in the Bruckheimer-Bay business, deal could add additional pressure to the post biz’s bottom line.

A conservative approach has been taken regarding set construction: Instead of building full sets, it will at times build only what’s needed for a shot. Unlike the method used for ‘Waterworld,’ the studio will only build a section of some ships.

The Mouse will take an equally conservative approach to battle re-creations: While one scene will require a fleet of 20 ships, 12-15 camera positions and nine Air Force planes, Disney plans to digitally add in numerous more ships and planes.

Prop houses, wardrobe houses and labs – among other vendors – have offered up to 25% deferments in exchange for upfront payments. But some say that they certainly don’t want to make a habit of doing so.

‘I wanted to change the way $100 million movies get made,’ said Bruce Hendricks, the studio’s president of motion picture production and the man responsible to the studio for sticking to the ‘Pearl Harbor’ budget.

‘Nobody said to do this. It was something that I just came up with after seeing it done with such studio movies as ÎThe English Patient.’ I just wanted to try a different way of making the movie cost-effective.’

Under this strategy, below-the-line craftsmen and vendors, many of whom are undergoing tough times, may find themselves in an untenable situation, having to choose whether to work and take a pay cut or not work at all.

Even with deferred pay, they lose money. If the film recoups, they will get a salary in two years but will lose the interest they could have accrued if paid this year.

A DGA spokesman, who pointed out that a.d.s could only defer dollar amounts over scale, said he was ‘appalled by this trend.’

But Bay, known for such blockbusters as ‘Armageddon’ and ‘The Rock,’ emphatically said, ‘The business thinks they are rewriting the rule books, but this is a special circumstance. I am going into this thinking that I am not going to make a dime. But I would rather gamble on myself.’

Still, some craftsmen are unimpressed by Bay’s wager.

‘I am sure that there must be some people who must be unhappy with me because we are making every dollar count,’ said Hendricks.

‘Certainly the production won’t be as comfortable as people are used to. But no one was arm-twisted into doing this movie. Everyone knew that to do this movie, that’s what needed to happen.’

Production begins in Hawaii on April 8 with a relatively compact shooting schedule of 85 days. Bay hopes to bring the film in at 2 hours and 20 minutes, or under.

Pearl Harbor storyboard and Levi ads

Posted on Mar 19, 2000

The Unofficial Pearl Harbor Site has manage to get exclusive storyboards for “Pearl Harbor.” They’ve got a total of four storyboards ( thanks to Nick Medrano ). You can view two of them by clicking on the thumbnails below, and the rest can be view by clicking on the following link http://cinemenium.com/pearlharbor

Back in August of 99, I was speaking to Michael about his new Levi’s commercials. I was surprised to learn that he had made 3 commercials for Levi’s that summer. They are: The Invisible Man, The Artist , and The Train (AKA “Frayed”). The “Train?” Well, Michael told me he did decided not to finish the “Train” commercial because Levi’s was afraid to take chances with that particular commercial. Levi’s thought it was a little bit to risqué ( he also went on to tell me how the Levi’s “Elevator” commercial has the highest rating for any Levi’s commercial ever made ). So he decided not to put up with all the ad agency BS…and walked off the set.

Well, Levi’s has decided to air the “Train” commercial. I doubted that the cut you will be seeing is what Michael had in mind. But alas, it has Michael Bay elements. Click below to see “The Train”

Levi’s Frayed/Train (Quicktime 4, 1.5mbs)

Beckinsale In 'Pearl'?

Posted on Mar 15, 2000

Cinescape reports on the following regarding the lead female role for Pearl Harbor:

Kate Beckinsale (Breakdown Palace, Haunted) is the most recent candidate in talks to take on the female lead role in Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor project. According to Variety, the lead role is that of a Navy nurse who falls in love with a pilot named Rafe (to be played by Ben Affleck). Eventually, she is reassigned to Pearl Harbor prior to the infamous day. The trade also reports that though Beckinsale is currently the frontrunner for the role, there are three other actresses in talks for the role should she pass on it.

Affleck speaks…

Posted on Mar 14, 2000

First of all, I would like to wish a very happy birthday to a friend of mine: Liz Olivera. I would give you her email so that you can all send her a wish…but she would stop being my friend after she gets bombed with all your emails.

There’s more rumblings of casting for Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor project. According to a number of sources, Alec Baldwin is currently in talks to take on the film’s role of the real life Gen. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, a part that Kevin Costner previously negotiated for but chose to pass on when the production could not meet his financial requirements.

Ben Affleck talks on his site ( affleck.com )about “Pearl Harbor.” WARNING, there are some minor spoilers:

“Which brings me to…my next movie and it’s one I’m really thrilled about. In fact, I haven’t been this excited to do a movie in a long time and nobody is as surprised as I am at that. If you had asked me a year ago if I’d be doing Michael Bay’s next movie–and FOR NO MONEY at that–I’d have said you were crazy. And maybe I am, but I don’t think so.

When I got the script I was fully expecting the kind of saccharine, popcorn that was Armageddon. I was shocked, to say the least. Jerry and Michael are working from a script by Randall Wallace (Braveheart) that is uncompromising, true to the accounts of survivors and striving to be the definitive epic on the day that “lived in infamy” and ultimitely proved to be the definitive moment in the greatest conflict of the last century.

Rather than some jingoistic cowboy story about yee-haw Americans getting “snuk-attacked” by cagy “Japs,” this is a much more complex story. It begins with a nation that, according to a gallup poll, is 88% AGAINST getting involved in “the war in Europe” (!!!) It is a place suffering mightily from the hangover of a costly (in suffering) and senseless (in both geo-political and humanistic terms) war where thousands of American boys died in trenches in Europe. It is a place where Henry Ford and Charles Lindburgh lead HUGE rallies where the great applause line goes: “Hitler is our friend!!” The “peace in our time” movement which advocated isolationism in the face of the Axis powers invasions in Europe and Asia–an unimaginable concept in retrospect, but one that had an invincible political currency at the time. In fact, there are many fascinating parallels to the post Vietnam era, where the populace absolutely DID NOT want to send our young men overseas EVER AGAIN.

In the White House, a democratic President is running for his fourth term and facing the fight of his life. His Republic opponent, Willkie, is making great political hay by implying that FDR wants to “Drag America to war.” A fistfight breaks out in the House of Representatives after a vociferous anti-wr, anti-FDR speech–each congressman takes and suffers six blows to the face. FDR publicly aknowledges that “The Axis powers will give anything in the world to have me licked the fifth of November!” and he barely squeaks by in the election but only after repeatedly promising “your boys are not going to be sent into any foriegn wars!”

An advisor to FDR, Mccollum, puts forth an internal memo indicatating that they fully expected that “upon defeat of England, the United States could expect an immediate attack from Germany.” Yet FDR simply did not have the support of the populace to enter the war–just lending the British a few ships had caused a political shitstorm on capital hill and lead FDR to have to employ his famous “garden hose” analogy in a “Fireside Chat” the thrust of which being “If your neighbor’s house is on fire, you lend him your hose…”

At a terrible political crossroad, FDR was stuck. Until that day in 1941, when a fleet of Japanese Battles ships, attack fighters and a group of bombers led a shockingly brazen assualt on the US Naval base at Pearl harbor, leaving 2403 Americans dead and 1178 wounded in less than an hour. The Japanese lost less than two hundred men, and only one was captured.

The movie will capture, using the most advanced special effects, and reproduce the exact events of that terrible day. if there is one thing I am certain of, it is that Michael’s emormous visual storytelling talents will bring the attack sequence a sense of horrifying realism and terrible majesty. The third act of the movie is also culled from true wartime events in the pacific (and I don’t want to give anything away) but it is truly gripping and extremely well executed in the script. the fictional love story that Mr. Wallace crafted (a la Braveheart) is well done and entirely absent false sentimentality. Suffice it to say that there is (I believe) very good reason that Michael, Jerry, the rental houses, and so many crewmembers and actors (including me) have waived our “fees”: we want to make a good movie–and we want every nickel up on the screen to help tell the story. Ultimitely, I’ve found, it’s a lot more satisfying to make a movie you can be proud of than it is to cash a big check. This time, we’re taking the route of the former. I hope you’ll like it. Memorial Day 2001.”