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Woody Harrelson and his ‘Midway’ co-stars attend film’s premiere at Pearl Harbor-Hickam

Cast members of the movie "Midway" pose with the crew of the guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Oct. 20, 2019.

SEAMAN AJA JACKSON/U.S. NAVY

By WYATT OLSON | STAR AND STRIPES Published: October 21, 2019

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii — Stars of the World War II epic “Midway” walked the red carpet Sunday at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam’s Sharkey Theater, where the film premiered before its general release Nov. 8.

Among the actors attending were Woody Harrelson, who portrays Adm. Chester Nimitz, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet in 1942; Ed Skrein, who plays dive-bomber squadron commander Lt. Richard Best; Dennis Quaid, who takes on the role of Vice Adm. William “Bull” Halsey; and Patrick Wilson, who depicts Lt. Cmdr. Edwin Layton, an intelligence officer who brought a near fanatical devotion to the value of code-breaking during World War II.

The Battle of Midway was a decisive clash between the American and Imperial Japanese navies in early June 1942. The Japanese lost four aircraft carriers in the battle, an injury from which they were unable to recover. The wreckage of one of those vessels, the Akagi, was recently discovered resting in nearly 18,000 feet of water more than 1,300 miles northwest of Pearl Harbor.

The new movie begins in the 1930s, well before America declared war on Germany and Japan after the latter attacked Hawaii’s Battleship Row and other military installations on Dec. 7, 1941.

In preparation for filming in Hawaii, director Roland Emmerich toured historic sites on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in 2016, the Navy said. That included the legendary Building I, which housed the code-breakers in the early part of World War II who were instrumental in gleaning enough information on Japanese planning for Adm. Nimitz to dispatch American carriers to Midway and set a trap.

Personnel at the Naval History and Heritage Command reviewed the script for accuracy at several points, the Navy said.

“I’m glad they did a movie about real heroes and not comic book heroes,” Sam Cox, the director of Naval History and Heritage Command who was involved in the reviews, said in the Navy statement. “Despite some of the ‘Hollywood’ aspects, this is still the most realistic movie about naval combat ever made and does real credit to the courage and sacrifice of those who fought in the battle, on both sides.”

olson.wyatt@stripes.com
Twitter: @WyattWOlson

Woody Harrelson, who portrays Adm. Chester Nimitz in the soon-to-be-released "Midway," is interviewed during the film's premiere at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019.
PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS JUSTIN PACHECO/U.S. NAVY

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