A much-anticipated WWII miniseries directed by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks has begun filming in England. Production on Masters of the Air began in Buckinghamshire and at Oxfordshire’s Dalton Barracks in the spring.
The series is based on Donald L Miller’s non-fiction book of the same name on the American 8th Air Force. This team of elite pilots were responsible for carrying out strategic bombing campaigns in France, the Low Countries, and Germany during the Second World War, as well as engaging in air-to-air combat.
Miller’s book emphasised the relative comfort the men, known as ‘Bomber Boys’, enjoyed while stationed in England compared to American and other Allied infantrymen on the Continent.
Pilots slept on clean sheets, drank in local pubs, and enjoyed music from Glenn Miller’s Air Force band, which toured England’s air force bases. Yet they still faced extreme risks when on missions, not only of being killed but of being shot down and imprisoned in German camps.
The 8th Air Force had many links with Hollywood. Actors Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable were ‘Bomber Boys’ during the war, with their campaigns covered by legendary journalists such as Andy Rooney and Walter Cronkite.
The miniseries, a follow-up to 2001’s Band of Brothers and 2010’s The Pacific, was first announced in 2013.
Writers John Orloff and Graham Yost have produced a script based on Miller’s book. Playtone, the company behind the two previous miniseries, will reportedly spend $200 million on ten episodes.
Cary Fukunaga is set to direct the first three episodes of the series, which will star relatively unknown actors such as Austin Butler, Callum Turner, and Anthony Boyle.
Masters of the Air will be broadcast on Apple TV+ at an as-yet undisclosed date.