German film director Roland Emmerich, who previously directed such films as “Independence Day” and “The Patriot,” is preparing to begin filming a remake of the 1976 film “Midway” which starred Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda.
The film depicts the decisive 1942 battle which turned the tide of World War II in the Pacific Theater in favor of the Allied naval forces. It occurred less than a month after the Battle of the Coral Sea ended.
Emmerich scouted locations around Hawaii, and eventually chose Oahu. Filming for the $100 million dollar movie will begin in November at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. It is the same location that Cameron Crowe used to film “Aloha” with Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone.
In the new “Midway” film, Woody Harrelson will play Admiral Chester Nimitz. Nimitz is famous for using information gathered by US codebreakers to forestall a Japanese ambush at Midway on June 4, 1942.
Commander Wade McClusky will be portrayed by Luke Evans who previously appeared in “Beauty and the Beast” and “Professor Martin and the Wonder Women.” McCluskey was awarded the Navy Cross for his efforts at Midway. Also confirmed to be appearing in the movie are Mandy Moore and Patrick Wilson.
Officials from the US Navy emphasized that Emmerich intends to make a film that is 100% historically accurate. In September, a casting call for military members to appear in the movie as extras received nearly 1,500 replies.
The film is expected to be released in 2019. Additional filming will take place in Canada, among other places.
Author Craig Symonds wrote in his book The Battle of Midway that the advantage gained by the Americans in the Battle of Midway is one of the most dramatic turn of events in the history of the United States.
He says that the Japanese were firmly in control of the Pacific on the morning of June 4, 1942. By the end of the day, they had lost their four aircraft carriers–the backbone of the 1st Air Fleet, or Kidō Butai–and their control of the Pacific.
Six months after the attack at Pearl Harbor, Japanese fleet commander Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku wanted to draw the American fleet into an ambush at Midway.
Instead, Admiral Nimitz knew the Japanese plans thanks to the work of the codebreakers, and was able to send the carriers Enterprise, Hornet, and Yorktown to set their own ambush for the Japanese.
Yorktown had been damaged in the Battle of the Coral Sea a month previous and had returned to Pearl Harbor for repairs. Knowing that a battle was coming soon, repairs were completed in only 72 hours thanks to the efforts of 1,400 shipyard workers.
American scout planes discovered the Japanese fleet on June 4. Planes sent from Midway were not able to stop the Japanese ships, but the carrier-based planes were more successful.
Unfortunately, the torpedo bombers were separated from the dive bombers, and 36 out of the 42 torpedo bombers were shot down. Their sacrifice diverted the Japanese defenses though, which allowed the dive bombers to attack while the Japanese were refueling and rearming.
The Japanese lost not only their carriers in the battle but also 322 aircraft and more than 5,000 sailors.
In addition, the heavy cruiser Mikuma was sunk. By contrast, the Americans lost 147 aircraft and over 300 sailors. The loss was devastating to the Japanese and set the stage for the dominance of the Americans in the Pacific from that point until the end of the war.