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Cuba Gooding Jr. and “Red Tails” cast describe the vision of George Lucas


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The arrival of “Red Tails” in theaters this weekend marks the conclusion of a project more than 20 years in the making, with George Lucas first pitching the film around Hollywood back in the late ’80s. His take on World War II heroes The Tuskegee Airmen will finally premiere two decades later, offering a dramatic look at the first crew of African-American aviators in the U.S. armed forces.

When IFC sat down with some of the “Red Tails” cast to discuss the film, they had a lot to say about Lucas’ involvement as the film’s longtime shepherd and producer, as well as the vision he and director Anthony Hemingway shared for the film.

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“You knew exactly what [Lucas] wanted,” said Nate Parker, who plays the team’s flight captain, Martin “Easy” Julian. “The whole thing with ‘This our mission’ [and] ‘Let’s stay on mission’ between Anthony Hemingway and George Lucas kept us so focused on what the end product would look like, [that] it allowed us to have this huge scope, and to have the detail to make the film what it was.”

And while “Red Tails” is the most high-profile film for many of its young cast members, some of the actors featured in the film have occupied similar roles in the past — including prior films based on The Tuskegee Airmen.

For Cuba Gooding Jr., who plays Major Emanuel Stance in the film, “Red Tails” is his second time playing one of the famous team of airmen. He previously played one of the pilots in the made-for-television HBO movie “The Tuskegee Airmen.”

During the press junket for the film, he discussed the unusual repeat role and how it differed this time around. As you might expect, a lot of that difference had to do with Lucas’ involvement in the project.

“This one had the might and power that is George Lucas behind it, with all of his financing and his artistry,” said Gooding. “The first [‘Tuskegee Airmen’ movie] dealt more with the racism they had to deal with in Tuskegee, Alabama. This one was a celebration of their participation during the war effort.”

And on top of that, Gooding said the immersive nature of “Red Tails” will certainly set it apart from previous films about The Tuskegee Airmen — and other war movies, for that matter.

“You watch ‘Red Tails’ and you feel like you’re in a P-51 Mustang flying over the skies of Berlin,” he laughed.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

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Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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