Flags Of Our Fathers - Walker talks war epic
Story by Jack Foley
PAUL Walker has been talking about his role in Clint Eastwood’s World War Two epic, Flags of Our Fathers, describing it as a film that “depicts war for what it really is” rather than concentrating on the heroics.
The film, which co-stars Ryan Phillippe and Adam Beach, is based on the best-selling book by James Bradley and Ron Powers. It recounts the tragic tale of the six young US Marines who raised a huge American flag atop Mount Suribachi in the midst of the great battle for Iwo Jima during World War II.
But Walker, who was in London to promote his forthcoming film Eight Below, commented: “What the story is really about is the unsung heroes; the guys that raised the first flag – all of whom were basically killed by the time that famous photograph made it back to the States.
“What’s immortalised is the second raising that replaced the original flag. The Marine Corps love their souvenirs and they knew that first flag was so significant that they pulled it down.
“So the guys who raised the second flag were called home and they were immortalised and labeled as heroes. They then became tools against their will to help generate the funding for the remainder of the war. The US would have never seen the end of it, so these guys were sent around on a nationwide bomb tour to help generate I don’t know how many billions way back when. That’s the gist of the story – they’re reluctance.”
Walker claims that he had to lobby hard to get the role but was full of praise for Eastwood, who lived up to the actor’s expectations of working with him.
“He’s a good guy. The things you hear are true. I was there every day – day in and day out – and it was tough. But he never lost his cool and he was always in control.”
Eight Below director, Frank Marshall, who was also in London to promote the film, and who has produced blockbusters such as the Indiana Jones trilogy and The Sixth Sense, paid tribute to Walker’s persistence in securing a role that not everybody would have thought about casting him in.
“In fact, Paul called me and said: “There’s this role that I’m really moved by and I don’t think anyone is thinking about me for it.” So I encouraged him and put in a couple of calls to say: “There’s a real good actor out there you might not be thinking of because of his different kind of movies.” I think that perseverance really paid off.”
Flags of Our Fathers is due to open in the UK in October.