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Soldiers of The Pacific

Published February 25, 2010 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of HBO
American Idol The Pacific

The big names behind The Pacific are producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. It falls to a group of young actors to portray the soldiers of the Pacific campaign in World War II. Joseph Mazello plays Eugene Sledge, who authored one of the books on which the miniseries is based.

Soldiers of The Pacific

“[It’s] a tremendous responsibility,” Mazello said. “My grandfather served in the Pacific, and so immediately, when I was up for this role and while I was doing it, I knew I had a tremendous responsibility to all the veterans. Then when I spoke to Eugene's sons and his wife. That became almost the most important thing, was to make sure I was honoring the man that they knew so well in the best way that I could.”

James Badge Dale plays Robert Leckie, another author. “It's hard enough to have responsibility to a fictional character in a fictional story,” Dale said. “When you throw in men who have been through these circumstances who were really there, and Joe and I had the privilege of playing characters that had written about their experiences and written their memoirs, and you start to wrestle with this different beast which is this man who you don't really know, who you become beholden to and you owe him something and wrestling between telling the story that we want to tell, the scripts and what we've written, and then wrestling with what is your responsibility to this man. I know it was on the forefront of our mind every day, and it's a humbling experience to go through that, to try to portray another man who was there. We lived through that for 10 months, and I just hope we can do them justice.”

Jon Seda plays John “Manila” Basilone. “I think the responsibility to make sure we got this right is what drove us,” Seda said. “I think there was a certain point in time for all of us where we realized how important this is. This isn't just to make another show, just to make another film or a television show. This is to be the voice for so many men, you know, the real heroes. Especially for me, Basilone was raised in New Jersey, and I was raised in New Jersey, too. So I can't show my face in New Jersey if we didn't get this right. But I think overall, just to make sure we got it right, not just for all the Marines out there who are going to be seeing this, but also for these men here, too, [the filmmakers]. They poured everything into getting this done and we want to make sure we made them proud.”

It’s easy to philosophize about the importance of the project from a stage in Hollywood. In the trenches of filming, a lot of those highfalutin concerns became moot.

“You know what's funny, you show up to work on this job, and there would be a lot of the days where you're not sitting at home breaking down the script and worrying about relationships and all the actory stuff that we can go through in our mind,” Dale said. “You show up to work, and your only objective of that day is to not get blown up. Sometimes that's easier.”

The Pacific premieres March 14 on HBO.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of HBO

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