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Eastwood to deliver two Iwo Jima films

Story by: Jack Foley

CLINT Eastwood has decided to direct two films on the World War Two conflict of Iwo Jima - one from the US perspective, and the other from the Japanese.

The Oscar-winning director has been so moved by his research into the battle that he felt the subject warranted two companion pieces.

He is set to complete principal photography in Chicago on the first of the two films, Flags of our Fathers, and will then start shooting the companion piece, tentatively called Lamps Before the Wind, in February next year.

Both are being scheduled for simultaneous release next Fall.

The decision to produce the two movies was revealed by longtime Eastwood colleague, Richard Schickel, in an article in Time magazine.

Flags of Our Fathers 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.

The battle remains the bloodiest engagement in US Marine Corps history and the one for which the most Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded, 27.

Casualties were high on both sides, with only about 200 of the 22,000 defending soldiers surviving.

While researching the film, however, Eastwood realised that he had to find a way to tell both sides of the story as separate films.

Paul Haggis had already been asked to provide a script for Flags Of Our Fathers but was too busy to contribute his skills to Lamps Before the Wind.

But he did recommend an aspiring young Japanese-American screenwriter, named Iris Yamashita, who had helped him research Flags, saying that she might be able to do it.

Eastwood subsequently met with her and, based on a gut reaction, gave her the job. He liked her first draft so much that he bought it.

According to Schickel, the two films 'will show that the battle of Iwo Jima and the whole war in the Pacific was not just a clash of arms but a clash of cultures'.

Flags of Our Fathers will focus on the bravery of the Americans who fought for each other as much as their country, while Lamps will highlight the suffering of the Japanese, many of whom were forced to defend the isle in the face of overwhelming odds.

Yamashita's script is said to be 'relentlessly cruel', exposing the fact that in essence, the Japanese officers compelled the bravery and suicide of their troops at gunpoint.

According to the Time website: "Only the Japanese commander, Lieut. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (a mysterious historical figure who fascinates Eastwood), and a fictional conscript, Saigo, whose fate Yamashita intertwines with his commanding officer's, demonstrate anything like humanity as a Westerner might understand it."

Casting has yet to be announced for Lamps, although Jesse Bradstock, Ryan Phillippe and Adam Beach have been recruited for Flags.

Related stories: Read the full Time article

Eastwood asked to respect war dead

More casting news for Flags


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