Share This Episode
Our American Stories Lee Habeeb Logo

Vietnam Vets Wouldn’t Sell Their Story to Hollywood, But They Sold “We Were Soldiers” to the Writer of “Braveheart”

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
January 2, 2024 3:02 am

Vietnam Vets Wouldn’t Sell Their Story to Hollywood, But They Sold “We Were Soldiers” to the Writer of “Braveheart”

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 2054 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.


January 2, 2024 3:02 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, we Were Soldiers is a motion picture about the Vietnam War from writer/director Randall Wallace and starring Mel Gibson. Randall's here to tell the story.

Support the show (https://www.ouramericanstories.com/donate)

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Hello, it is Ryan and we could all use an extra bright spot in our day, couldn't we?

Just to make up for things like sitting in traffic, doing the dishes, counting your steps, you know, all the mundane stuff. That is why I'm such a big fan of Chumba Casino. Chumba Casino has all your favorite social casino style games that you can play for free anytime, anywhere with daily bonuses.

That should brighten your day a little, actually a lot. So sign up now at ChumbaCasino.com. That's ChumbaCasino.com. This ad is about AT&T's deal on the new iPhone 15 Pro and it's real, guaranteed. That's not always the case with other ads. The view of a lifetime. Only with a pricey upgrade.

Breathe in to find inner peace. Then pay extra to remove the ads. At AT&T, we mean what we say. Learn how to get iPhone 15 Pro with titanium on us with eligible trade-in, guaranteed. Connecting changes everything. AT&T.

See AT&T.com slash iPhone for details about the guarantee trade-in promo for new and existing customers. Available for a limited time, terms and restrictions apply. Abusers in Hollywood are as old as the Hollywood sign itself. Underneath it lies a shroud of mystery. From Variety, Hollywood's number one entertainment news source and iHeart podcast, comes Variety Confidential. I'm your host, Tracey Patton, and in season one we'll focus on the secret history of the casting couch. So join us as we navigate the tangled web of Hollywood's secret history of sex, money and murder.

Subscribe now to Variety Confidential wherever you get your podcasts. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, the show where America is the star and the American people. We Were Soldiers is a motion picture about the Vietnam War from writer-director Randall Wallace, which stars Mel Gibson. Gibson playing the role of lieutenant colonel Hal Moore. Here's Randall to tell the story of his film. I was sitting in my office working on the story while Braveheart was still in production. I was writing the next story because I didn't know if Braveheart would be a titanic sort of failure or a monstrous success. Either way, I needed to have momentum on a new story.

You need to feel that your best work is coming, not behind you. So I was working on the story and the phone rang and it was an executive from Warner Brothers, a friend of mine, who said, listen, we didn't know about Braveheart and we wish we had and we would love to fly you to Hawaii to meet Kevin Costner and talk about ideas with Kevin Costner. Would you be willing to do that? And like, yeah, I would. And they made reservations for me. And I went to a bookstore to pick up something to read on the flight and came across the cover of We Were Soldiers once and young. It showed a young lieutenant whose name was Rick Rescorla, who ended up an incredible hero in his own right, not only in Vietnam, but also at the World Trade Center, where he lost his life going back up into the World Trade Center to make sure that all of his people had gotten out safely. And I read the book. I came across the statement in the prologue, Hollywood has gotten the story of the Vietnam veteran wrong every damn time, wetting the knives of twisted politics on the bones of our dead brothers. And I knew from that moment I was into this story.

But it was the part of the story and the combat scenes were, of course, incredible. But there was the story of a woman named Barbara Gagan, whose husband was a young lieutenant who died going out onto the battlefield to carry a wounded soldier off. Do you know the most common thing an American soldier says when he's dying on the battlefield? Tell my wife.

I love her. And Hal had gone to visit her and he asked if he could go to pray at her husband's grave. He was buried not at Arlington, but a family plot. Jack Gagan was Catholic. And Barbara wrote so movingly of letting Hal go out. She stayed back in the car because she wanted Hal to have his moment at Jack's grave and that she saw his shoulders shake as he wept. And that kind of love and devotion for his men, I recognized to be unique and extraordinary.

And then as I got to know his wife and to find that her courage was at least the equal of his, I was profoundly moved. But when I read the book, I called my agent and said, somebody must own the movie rights to this. You tell them that I want to throw my hat in the ring.

I would love to write the adaptation of this book. My agent called back a couple of days later and said, these guys won't sell the screen rights. They believe that Hollywood would mangle their story and would treat them like they were baby killers and they won't do it. A responsibility to do honor and a tribute to the guys that were there.

Yeah, slightly intimidating. In fact, they complained about it in the book, how Hollywood always screws it up. And it's interesting. The indictment was, if I can be specific, wetting their twisted political knives on the bones of our dead brothers so that it becomes very personal.

And that's the aspect from which I think we approached the film was a very personal one. I can't promise you that I will bring you all home alive. But this, I swear, before you and before almighty God, that when we go into battle, I will be the first to set foot on the field. And I'll be the last to step off. And I will leave no one behind.

So help me God. And so I got their address and I wrote to them and said, I'm going to send you a screenplay. It's called Braveheart. It's being made. You haven't seen it yet. No one's seen it yet.

It's not finished, but the screenplay is. And read that. If you like it, call me.

If you don't, then sorry, I've wasted your time. So they read it and they called me. I said, Mr. Wallace, I don't know you. So I have a question for you. And he said, what's your question? And I said, do you believe in heroes? And he said, I do.

And they said, OK, what do you want to do? And I said, I can go to a studio and get them to buy the movie rights. But no matter what they tell you, if they buy your movie rights, they will control everything that happens to that story. If you let me buy it, I'll pay you my own money. And I'll make you a deal that it's less upfront because I have limited money. But I'll make you a deal that you'll make more money in success than you would have made with them. And if you don't like what I do, you'll know who to come shoot.

And they went, deal. And Randall is the only director in Hollywood who could have done it and done it right. So that's how that came about. And Hal became one of the mentors in my life. He taught me leadership, leadership that I use every day of my life now. This movie shows the American soldier as he should be shown, not as a doper, not as a guy playing Russian roulette in Saigon. Shows the American soldier as he really was in Vietnam.

And a terrific job on the production and editing by our own Greg Hengler. And a special thanks to Randall Wallace for sharing the story of We Were Soldiers. And it is indeed true that the movie We Were Soldiers, a Hollywood film, finally got the story of the Vietnam War right. The story of We Were Soldiers and how it was made here at Hollywood. The story of We Were Soldiers and how it was made here on Our American Stories. This is Lee Habib, host of Our American Stories. Every day, we set out to tell the stories of Americans past and present, from small towns to big cities and from all walks of life, doing extraordinary things. But we truly can't do this show without you. Our shows are free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love what you hear, go to OurAmericanStories.com and make a donation to keep the stories coming.

That's OurAmericanStories.com. Okay, round two. Name something that's not boring. Laundry?

Ooh, a book club. Computer solitaire, huh? Oh, sorry. We were looking for Chumba Casino. Ch-Ch-Ch-Chumba.

That's right. Chumbacacino.com has over 100 casino style games. Join today and play for free for your chance to redeem some serious prizes. Ch-Ch-Ch-Chumba.

Chumbacacino.com. Abusers in Hollywood are as old as the Hollywood sign itself. Underneath it lies a shroud of mystery. From Variety, Hollywood's number one entertainment news source and iHeart podcast, comes Variety Confidential. I'm your host, Tracy Patton, and in season one, we'll focus on the secret history of the casting couch.

So join us as we navigate the tangled web of Hollywood's secret history of sex, money, and murder. Subscribe now to Variety Confidential wherever you get your podcasts. Congratulations to Boston Children's Hospital, first place award winner for Innovation in Industry at the 2023 Unconventional Awards, presented by T-Mobile for Business. Boston Children's is dedicated to improving and advancing the health and well-being of children around the world through its life-changing work in clinical care, and it is home to the world's largest pediatric research enterprise. Boston Children's is revolutionizing healthcare with T-Mobile's 5G solutions through secure, private, and reliable networks. Practitioners can access internal systems and applications securely from virtually anywhere. T-Mobile for Business congratulates Boston Children's Hospital for their innovation and unconventional thinking.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-02 04:32:14 / 2024-01-02 04:36:37 / 4

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime