Skywalker has spoken! Lucasfilm sent over the following statement calling bullshit on First Showings story. Looks like it’s the “melodramatically overblown” option I mentioned below:
“The story circulating about
production on Red Tails is
completely inaccurate. George Lucas and Rick McCallum are very pleased with the
work Anthony Hemingway did directing the film and additional shooting that is
scheduled to take place was built into production before it began, as it is on
all our films.”
George Lucas isn’t waiting for Red Tails, the Tuskegee Airmen film he’s developed for two decades, to actually be released before he starts retroactively fucking with it. Word has emerged from First Showing that significant reshoots are required because Lucas is “very displeased with TV director Anthony Hemingway’s work.”
Anthony Hemingway, TV vet of shows like Battlestar Galactica and The Wire, was chosen by Lucas to helm his pet project, while The Beard has served as Executive Producer. If the information from First Showing is accurate though, Hemingway’s work is going to be heavily supplemented with new footage shot by Lucas that works off of extreme re-writes that “completely change the main characters and their storylines.”
Is this a case of Hemingway doing a bad job, or of Lucas not having a grasp on the story before shooting started? It’s become clear that George was aware of at least some of the problems with the Prequels before they were released- he may not be keen to repeat that mistake. Red Tails appears to be a much more personal and important film to Lucas than any of the modern Star Wars films ever were, so it could be he’s not as willing to let it out a jumbled mess as he was with the Prequels.
Of course, as it often happens with re-shoot reports, this could turn out to be a fairly innocuous batch of pick-ups that is being melodramatically overblown. First Showing paints a picture a pretty bleak picture though, one of Rick McCallum (Lucas’ partner) digging through footage and deciding what can be salvaged while the script is reworked to accommodate whatever Lucas feels needs to be redone.
I would expect some kind of information, context, or acknowledgment to emerge sooner rather than later, but since there is no mention of any kind of timeframe for all of this work, it is unclear when we’ll get a real grasp on what’s going on with Red Tails.