Film stars expected at Pearl Harbor for showing of 'Midway'
By WILLIAM COLE | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser | Published: October 8, 2019
HONOLULU (Tribune News Service) — A “red carpet” showing of director-producer Roland Emmerich’s upcoming fasten-your-seat belt epic “Midway” will be held Oct. 20 at Pearl Harbor with Emmerich, screenwriter Wes Tooke and cast members including Patrick Wilson, Dennis Quaid and Woody Harrelson, entertainment company Lionsgate said Monday.
The highly anticipated action film, which spans the six months from Japan’s devastating surprise attack on Pearl Harbor to the incredible U.S. naval victory at the Battle of Midway, June 4-7, 1942 — changing the course of World War II in the Pacific — is scheduled for release Nov. 8, ahead of Veterans Day weekend.
“The film, based on the real-life events of this heroic feat, tells the story of the leaders and soldiers who used their instincts, fortitude and bravery to overcome the odds,” Lionsgate said.
The victory 1,300 miles from Hawaii was dubbed the “Miracle at Midway.” Craig Symonds said in his book “The Battle of Midway” that “there are few moments in American history in which the course of events tipped so suddenly and so dramatically as it did on June 4, 1942.”
Aircraft from the U.S. aircraft carriers Enterprise, Yorktown and Hornet sank four of Japan’s front-line carriers — Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu — northeast of Midway Atoll. Japan had forever lost the advantage in the Pacific.
The film blends traditional blockbuster war movie action and interpersonal relationships in a time of crisis with a close-up, first-person gaming style in Emmerich’s heavily computer-generated-imagery retelling of Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid on the Japanese homeland and the decisive Midway battle.
Officials early on made a point to say “Midway” 2019 is not a remake of the 1976 version with Henry Fonda.
Also featured is the key intelligence gambit that came from a windowless basement at Pearl Harbor where Station HYPO Navy code breakers cracked a portion of the Japanese navy’s JN-25(b) code.
“The Japanese are planning something bigger,” Wilson, in the role of fleet intelligence officer Capt. Edwin Layton, tells Adm. Chester Nimitz in one of the movie trailers.
“So what’s the target?” asks Woody Harrelson as Nimitz.
“We believe it’s Midway,” Wilson says.
Although some in Washington disagreed, Nimitz went with the intelligence insight that resulted in victory.
The movie incorporates the Doolittle Raid on April 18, 1942, in which 16 lumbering B-25 bombers somehow took off from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet to strike the Japanese mainland.
“We need to throw a punch so they know what it feels like to be hit,” Harrelson says in the movie.
Emmerich’s "Midway" is full of explosive close-up action sequences including Japanese strafing runs on Battleship Row in Pearl Harbor and Navy aircraft diving through a Fourth of July’s worth of anti-aircraft fire in the eponymous battle.
Some filming was completed in 2018 at 1900s-era Hickam Field Air Force homes that are no longer used. Emmerich, who was part of “Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow,” toured other parts of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and stopped at Building 1 where Station Hypo was located.