By Debbie Gregory.
The landing on June 6, 1944, of Allied forces on the beaches of Normandy has been powerfully re-created in films over the ensuing decades. The massive assault that helped end the Nazi domination of Europe inspired a host of directors, screenwriters and actors.
Having previously covered the boots-on-the-ground perspective of the landing, Tom Hanks has signed on to both act in and executive-produce “No Better Place To Die” that covers the airborne perspective.
Written and directed by Marine Corps veteran Dale Dye, the film will follow a band of pre-D-Day airborne soldiers scattered across Normandy.
Although they were from different units, the troops melded together to form a single rifle company. Their mission, seizing and holding La Fière bridge against German reinforcements headed for Omaha and Utah beaches prevented a catastrophic failure. 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.
Dye, a decorated Marine combat veteran and a three-time Purple Heart recipient who became an iconic Hollywood military adviser, will take his first turn in the director’s chair.
Dye has worked as a technical adviser on some of the biggest and most successful war films, including Saving Private Ryan with Hanks, as well as Band of Brothers and Platoon.
This is such an important and dramatic story that I’ve always wondered why no one has made a movie about it,” said Dye. “It’s a thrilling and inspiring look at how our American soldiers … can overcome long odds with guts and determination.”
Dye hopes to begin filming this summer. The planned release date in 2019, which coincides with the 75th anniversary of D-Day.