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An Epic Tale of Heroism
"The script of Tears of the Sun compelled me because it seemed to be a standard rescue story, and then midway through it becomes a moving and harrowing humanistic piece," says the film's executive producer Joe Roth.

The beauty of Tears of the Sun, according to producer Ian Bryce, is its epic quality. "Dramatically it touches on the kind of gallant behavior and tough moral choices that characterized films such as Saving Private Ryan. It's first and foremost a tale of heroism."

As the first movie about Navy SEALs to receive the full cooperation and endorsement of the United States Navy and Department of Defense, Tears of the Sun is also a tribute to Navy SEALS and all the "men and women who protect us and go into places and do great things about which too little is said," says director Antoine Fuqua. "I wanted to make a film that actually shows you that there are men and women out there in the military, who make it okay for us to sit and drink our morning coffee, while they are out there fighting and sometimes dying, and we never even know their names."

For Bruce Willis, besides being a bold adventure tale, Tears of the Sun represents a look at the true meaning of heroism. "These men make a choice as human beings, not as soldiers. And the movie is about the results of that choice, of trying to do the right thing as a man as opposed to doing the right thing as a ranking military officer. The action has a lot to do with the heart and how the heart moves men and women to do what they do."

Adds Willis' co-star Monica Bellucci, "it's a movie about good men doing the honorable thing even though they are vastly outnumbered. Sometimes the strong have to protect those who can't protect themselves, no matter what the cost."

When screenwriters Alex Lasker and Patrick Cirillo began writing the original draft of Tears of the Sun in 1995, their inspiration was Robert Wise's 1966 adventure yarn The Sand Pebbles, which starred Steve McQueen. Like that film, Tears is the story of a brave warrior who tries to save a group of civilians. "As the mission progresses, I wanted to show a battle of wills between the expedient, by-the-book military man Lt. Waters (played by Bruce Willis) and the compassionate, humanistic Dr. Kendricks (Monica Bellucci)," says Lasker. "We start with two people who are at odds with each other. Through adversity and circumstance, they both change."

The combination of tough action and heartfelt human emotion enables Tears of the Sun to resonate on many levels, says producer Arnold Rifkin. "You start off with the goal of entertaining people," says Rifkin. "Then you hope that you can also move them, touch them, make them experience emotion and compassion."

While the film is fictional, "Tears sheds light on contemporary history," adds Bryce, "in this case, the unrest that has affected certain regions of Africa over the past thirty years. The civil wars, ethnic cleansing and other atrocities rarely get news coverage here in the West, because journalists are often among the first casualties in these conflicts. This was an opportunity to show how terrible some of these events are."

For Fuqua, who did extensive research on contemporary African trouble spots be

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