The director of the new World War II movie ‘Midway’ made stars including Nick Jonas and Woody Harrelson visit war memorials before shooting

Nick Jonas stars as Bruno Gaido in

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Nick Jonas stars as Bruno Gaido in “Midway.”
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Reiner Bajo / Lionsgate

  • Director Roland Emmerich had the cast of his new movie “Midway,” which includes Nick Jonas and Woody Harrelson, visit war memorials before shooting.
  • At a London junket for the new movie, Emmerich – who directed “Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow” – told Insider that the actors visited the USS Arizona Memorial among other historic sites.
  • “I had organized with some people that the actors could visit all these places because I think it’s important to do that before you shoot a movie like this,” Emmerich told Insider.
  • “Midway,” which tells the story of the infamous World War II battle between US and Japanese forces, is in theaters now.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Roland Emmerich made sure his star-studded cast for “Midway” – which includes Nick Jonas, Woody Harrelson, and Luke Evans – understood the gravitas of the infamous World War II battle they were recreating.

At a junket in London ahead of the movie’s November 8 release, Emmerich – who directed “Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow” – told Insider that he got the actors to visit war memorials ahead of shooting.

“Everyone went to the [USS] Arizona Memorial, then you get some sort of a feel for it,” he said.

“I had organized with some people that the actors could visit all these places because I think it’s important to do that before you shoot a movie like this.”

Midway tells the story of the infamous World War II battle between US and Japanese forces.

The Arizona was one of the ships sunk at Pearl Harbour – where “Midway” (the movie) begins – taking 1,177 sailors and Marines with it.

The USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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The USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii.
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US Navy Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Jayme Pastoric

The director also took the actors to the USS Missouri and the submarine USS Bowfin, which the Department of Defence allowed them to film on – and Emmerich called it “the hottest day of my life.”

The stars also had a reading list

The stars of the movie were also given reading material for their roles. Because many of the characters, including Chester W. Nimitz, Edwin Layton, and Jimmy Doolittle, wrote books about their experiences in the war, Emmerich was able to give his actors first-hand source material to research their roles.

“Dick Best [the movie’s lead] never wrote a book, but there’s a book by his best friend [Clarence] Dickinson. That’s why we used him in the film because we learned a lot about Dick Best in Dickinson’s book,” Emmerich explained.

Emmerich told Insider that he felt “incredible pressure” to nail the details of such an important historical event.

“I don’t know how much documentary footage we studied,” he said, “we made like reels of them; of stuff we wanted to imitate. A lot of these shots are actually imitations of real footage.

“Everybody felt the responsibility of making a movie like this.”

“Midway” is in theaters now.

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