(This story was updated with additional details/clarifications from Dale Dye at 2:45 p.m. Eastern on Feb. 12.)
A Vietnam combat veteran who became an iconic Hollywood military adviser will take his first turn in the director’s chair for an upcoming war movie, and he’s got some star power lined up behind the camera.
Dale Dye, a retired Marine Corps captain who earned a Bronze Star with combat “V” device and three Purple Hearts before lending military know-how to “Platoon,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “Forrest Gump,” has enlisted Tom Hanks to serve as an executive producer of “No Better Place to Die,” the story of an 82nd Airborne Division mission in June 1944 that’s set to hit theaters in June 2019.
“I’m very glad to be teaming with Dale on this project,” Hanks said in a Monday release announcing the move. “It’s an important story that needs to be told as we approach the 75th anniversary of D-Day.”
Dye, whose acting credits range from “Platoon” to “Starship Troopers” to “Range 15” and whose advising credits run even deeper, wrote the story highlighting the service of the 505th Parachute Regiment and its battle to secure the La Fière Bridge. The fight over the bridge and nearby causeway contained some of the most intense small-unit combat of the invasion, as well as a rarely used method of reinforcement by U.S. forces: gliders.
“This is such an important and dramatic story that I’ve always wondered why no one has made a movie about it,” Dye said in the release. “It’s a thrilling and inspiring look at how our American soldiers ... can overcome long odds with guts and determination.”
Plans had called for shooting in Hungary on a $50 million budget, per The Hollywood Reporter; Dye said he’ll have a $30 million budget and will shoot as much stateside as possible, and plans to employ as many veterans in front of and behind the camera as possible.
Earlier attempts to fund the film weren’t nearly as ambitious: A crowdfunding effort with a $200,000 goal in mid-2017 went unmet, while scaled-down fundraiser netted more than $31,000 before closing in September. The crowdfunding wasn’t designed to finance the entire project, Dye said via email, only to cover certain administrative costs.
“No Better Place to Die” won’t be the only war movie with Hanks attached in the coming months: He’s set to star in “Greyhound,” where he’ll play a Navy captain on escort duty during the Battle of the Atlantic. Filming reportedly will begin next month in Louisiana.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.