February 11, 2010

Beach to play Native war hero

Beach to star as local war hero

By Randall KingAdam Beach will announce his plans to star as the much-decorated Manitoba-born soldier Sgt. Tommy Prince at a press conference this morning at Thunderbird House on Main Street.

Beach has been nurturing an ambition to bring Prince's story to the screen for years. He discussed his dream in 2006 in a Winnipeg Free Press interview while promoting the Clint Eastwood film Flags of Our Fathers.

"I think Tommy Prince's story should be made," he said, adding that he had been in contact with Prince's family about the project. "Whether I play it or not, I think his story just represents the courage and strength we need to see."

And now the film is going ahead with Beach in the lead.

"I am so honoured to play this First Nation military hero. He provided a positive role model for all First Nation people, including me," Beach said in a statement.
Below:  "Adam Beach in the Second World War film Flags of Our Father. The Manitoba actor will return to the era to portray Sgt. Tommy Prince in a new movie. (Merie V. Wallace/Warner Bros. Pictures)

Some background on Prince's military career:

Thomas Prince:  Canada's Forgotten Aboriginal War Hero

By Lloyd DohlaThe First Special Service Force was an experiment in unity that was composed of 1600 of the "toughest men to be found in Canada and the United States."

All the men were qualifies paratroopers and received training in unarmed combat, demolition, mountain fighting and as ski troops. They were described as "the best small force of fighting men ever assembled on the North American continent" and the "best god-damned fighters in the world and a terror to their enemies.".

This combined elite force was first called into action in January 1943, when the Japanese occupied Kiska, an island in the Aleutian chain of islands near Alaska in the Pacific but the Japanese had already withdrew.

They went to the Mediterranean, followed by the Sicily landing. By a daring maneuver, it captured strategic Monte la Difensa, an extremely difficult piece of ground. Fighting side by side with the US Fifth Army, it maintained an aggressive offensive throughout the Italian campaign. The liberation of Rome was the culmination of its daring exploits.

A natural hunter, Prince's fieldcraft was unequalled and in recognition of unique abilities, he was made reconnaissance sergeant. At night, Prince would crawl toward the enemy lines, mostly alone, to listen to the Germans, estimate their numbers and report back to his battalion commander.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

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