Iraq War Movies Coming Soon
It looks like movies about the Iraq War will be coming out before the shooting stops.
Moviemakers aren’t waiting for the Iraq war to finish before they put their Hollywood ending on it. Francis Ford Coppola made “Apocalypse Now” six years after the Vietnam War ended in 1973, and it wasn’t until the ’80s that Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” and Oliver Stone’s “Platoon” hit cinemas. But with instant 24-hour news coverage bringing the three-year-long war’s reality home every day, film artists want to imitate life that much faster.
Tom Cruise has optioned and may star in “The Fall of the Warrior King,” based on a New York Times story about a disgraced Army commander in Iraq. Ron Howard is scheduled to direct “Last Man Home,” about the search for a missing American G.I. there. Ridley Scott will produce “The Invisible World,” about a kidnapped female journalist, and “Boys Don’t Cry” director Kimberly Peirce will helm “Stop-Loss,” which centers on a soldier who doesn’t want to go back to Baghdad. Just last week, Deborah Scranton’s documentary “The War Tapes,” made by New Hampshire National Guardsmen with hand-held cameras, won the top prize in its category at the Tribeca Film Festival.
But racing reality is not without its fears for “Crash” screenwriter Paul Haggis. “I’m scared out of my wits,” Haggis told us. “Which I think is a good thing for a filmmaker, or any artist.” Just last week, Haggis completed the script for “Death and Dishonor,” about a father searching for his son who went missing on the way home from Iraq. He’s also directing a screen version of former White House terrorism czar Richard Clarke’s book “Against All Enemies.”
Director Irwin Winkler, who has wrapped principal photography on “Home of the Brave,” starring Samuel L. Jackson, 50 Cent, Jessica Biel and Chad Michael Murray, says he’s undaunted about making an Iraq project so soon. “Just because [directors in the past] waited longer doesn’t mean that I have to wait any longer,” Winkler told us. “I think it’s on everbody’s mind.
“As far as Vietnam goes, we had to take a deep breath and get some perspective on the issue. The news is so hot, and it’s on all the time, and I think we understand it more quickly. Generally, I think most of the country thinks the same way about this war.”
Still, while there is a need for sensitivity when portraying an ongoing war, it’s hardly unprecedented. Indeed, John Wayne alone made several WWII movies during that war: “Flying Tigers” (1942), “The Fighting Seabees” (1944), “Back to Bataan” (1945), and “They Were Expendable” (1945). He also made “The Green Berets,” a Vietnam War flick that came out in 1968. Of course, all of those pictures showed American forces as heroes.