Famed director Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are well into principal photography on a new film about the U.S. Eighth Air Force during World War II. According to media reports, the production has constructed a lavishly detailed period airbase on a former bomber airfield in rural Oxfordshire. The cost was reportedly about $7 million with the set to be used in a multi-part program that continues the Band of Brothers World War II series. Spielberg and Hanks also produced the second part of the series, “The Pacific.”
Details on the production are sketchy, but the Daily Mail reported that either nine or 10 episodes are planned, with the Apple+ TV network streaming the series at an unannounced future date. Budget for the series is between $200 and $250 million. The story is based on the book “Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany,” by Donald L. Miller. It was published in 2006 and details the operations of Eighth Air Force crews at their bases in England and their experiences in German prisoner of war camps. The story was drawn from interviews and oral histories of combatants and support crews from both sides.
In addition to a detailed base featuring classic Nissen huts used to house crews, the production has two non-flying B-17 replicas that are moved around for ground shots. The Eighth Air Force still exists as a bomber unit in the U.S., but it was active in World War II from its formation in early 1944 until just after the war ended in 1945.
Yay to the shout out for “Nissen Huts” – the British prototype which the US copied as “Quonset Huts”. You can still land at KOQU – Quonset in RI where there is a collection of them in the SeeBee Museum.
And interesting hair split about the formation of the Eighth Air Force in (Feb) 1944. Technically that’s correct – but it grew out of the Eighth ARMY Airforce which had been in the UK since 1942 and which much of the book is about.
When in Savannah, please visit the Mighty 8th Air Museum by the SAV. It’s our 25 anniversary this year!