Letters From Iwo Jima, Clint Eastwood's follow-up to his critically acclaimed World War II drama Flags of Our Fathers, will open domestically in limited release in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco on December 20, 2006. The announcement was made by Warner Bros. President of Domestic Distribution Dan Fellman.
Like Flags of Our Fathers, Letters From Iwo Jima chronicles the pivotal battle for the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. However, while the first film is centered around the six men who raised the flag on Mount Suribachi in the famous photo, Letters From Iwo Jima views the battle from the perspective of the island's Japanese defenders. Both films are co-productions of Warner Bros. Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures.
Clint Eastwood offered, "I have been extremely gratified by the response from the press and the public who have seen Flags of Our Fathers, and what all of us keep hearing is that they want to understand the other side of the story. While working on Flags, I was intrigued by the idea of revealing what happened during this important battle from different perspectives. I'm happy to know that others feel the same way about seeing both sides. The two films were meant to complement each other, so it just makes sense to release Letters From Iwo Jima this year, closer to the release of Flags of Our Fathers."
Dan Fellman added, "Flags of Our Fathers told an important story about one of the most famous battles of World War II, but history has shown us that it is impossible to truly understand any story unless you can see it from other sides. We feel Letters From Iwo Jima is a powerful movie that brings a different, but equally important, part of the story to the screen, and we are both proud and excited to be bringing the film to American audiences this year."
Letters From Iwo Jima has already screened in Japan, where it received an enthusiastic response.
Sixty-one years ago, U.S. and Japanese armies met on Iwo Jima. Decades later, several hundred letters are unearthed from that stark island's soil. The letters give faces and voices to the men who fought there, as well as the extraordinary general who led them, Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe). With little defense other than sheer will and the volcanic rock of the island itself, Gen. Kuribayashi's unprecedented tactics transform what was predicted to be a quick and bloody defeat into nearly 40 days of heroic and resourceful combat.
In an effort to explore an event that continues to resonate with both cultures, Clint Eastwood was haunted by the sense that making only one film, Flags of Our Fathers, would be telling only half the story. With this unprecedented dual film project, shot back-to-back to be released in sequence, Eastwood seeks to reveal the battle of Iwo Jima-and, by implication, the war in the Pacific-as a clash not only of arms but of cultures.
Warner Bros. Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures present a Malpaso/Amblin Production of Letters From Iwo Jima, starring Academy Award nominee Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Memoirs of a Geisha, Batman Begins) as Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi, the Imperial Japanese General who led the resistance.
Directed by Eastwood from a screenplay by Japanese-American screenwriter Iris Yamashita, story by Yamashita and Oscar winner Paul Haggis (Crash), the film is produced by Eastwood, Oscar winner Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List) and Oscar nominee Robert Lorenz (Mystic River).
Eastwood's longtime collaborators headed the creative behind-the-scenes team: director of photography Tom Stern; costume designer Deborah Hopper; editors Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach; and the late production designer Henry Bumstead, and production designer James J. Murakami. The music is by Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens.
Letters From Iwo Jima is being released worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.