TEARS OF THE SUN
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
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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