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Meeting The Real Airmen
The characters of Red Tails are fictitious, but their story is not. The pilots seen in the movie are composites of real life heroes. "This is a true story," says screenwriter John Ridley, "but unfortunately, we could not tell everyone's story. What we hoped to do is honor everyone's story, black and white, who worked together to make this moment happen."

To that end, several original Tuskegee Airmen met with the actors, including making the trip to Prague, where the film was in production, to witness and advise as cameras rolled.

"We met Dr. Roscoe Brown, Lee Archer and Bill Holloman before we started shooting," recalls Michael B. Jordan. "They gave us all the facts we needed to know and that gave us the layers we needed to play these men."

"I was on the set in my uniform and I would walk up to one of them and ask if I was wearing it right," says Oyelowo. "Having them there was a constant reminder of the fact that this wasn't just any old acting gig."

"I felt so small at times with them," says Royo. "I'm an actor. I want to make movies. It's a hard job sometimes, but I play pretend. When I got around the Tuskegee Airmen, they had so much energy and spoke so eloquently, that I just wanted to suck as much of that in as possible. I wanted to get them, so that when Anthony said ‘action' I could resonate what they were resonating as best I could. As an actor you just don't come across living breathing history very often. For me, meeting those men was probably one of the best feelings I've ever had."

"This is an awesome responsibility," says Ne-Yo, echoing a sentiment heard often in the production. "It definitely makes me want to step up my game. I feel more than privileged to be a part of this. There are almost no words to describe the magnitude of this project. We're going to do the best to make the Tuskegee Airmen proud. I want them to see this movie and say, ‘They hit the nail right on the head.'"

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