Cast of new film on Tuskegee Airmen visit NASA

January 5, 2012 5:06:24 PM PST
A new movie about the Tuskegee Airmen is set to come out in just a few weeks, showing the training they went through in World War II. On Thursday, some of the movie's stars got an up close look at NASA.

NASA is certainly known for breaking barriers in space. It was a natural stop for these men, who are telling the ultimate story about breaking barriers.

It's a tale of two eras -- the segregated, armed forces of World War II and the unlimited bounds of space. On Thursday, the stars of a new film about the legendary Tuskegee Airmen toured the Johnson Space Center and talked about the link between those two worlds.

They're a part of history that was seldom told until recent years. And while the Tuskegee Airmen had one of the most impressive records in the skies over Europe during World War II, it's taken Hollywood more than two decades to bring their story to the big screen. That is, until mega-director George Lucas decided to put nearly $60 million of his own money into the movie "Red Tails."

When Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. heard about the film, he had to be in it.

"I called my agents and I said, 'I heard they're casting for Red Tails.' And they said, 'Yes.' So I said, 'I need to get in there.' And they said, 'They won't see you.' I was like, 'Who's they?!'" Gooding Jr. said and laughed.

For Oscar nominee Terrence Howard, it was a chance to tell an important story to a new generation.

"My children will look up to these men and hopefully will be encouraged by them, but also to fix a hole in history, that was important," Howard said.

The cast is in town for a private screening of the movie scheduled for Thursday night, but they spent much of the day touring the Johnson Space Center.

NASA is certainly known for breaking barriers in space, so the Johnson Space Center was a natural stop for these movie makers, who're telling the ultimate story about breaking barriers.

"It kind of, for a minute, makes you wish you chose a different line of work. There's nothing much cooler than being in space," actor Nate Parker said.

The private screening of "Red Tails" is at the Edwards Greenway Cinemas. The film opens nationwide on January 20.

On January 15, a documentary about the Tuskegee Airmen will air on cable television. It's called "Double Victory."