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Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg christen 'The Pacific,' HBO's new WWII series

Pacific1 Here's the first rule for partying in style: The less you're seen the better. If you're a guest, come fashionably late. If you're a guest of honor, leave fashionably early.

So naturally Wednesday night, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg -- two of the coolest guys in Hollywood and executive producers of HBO's new World War II miniseries, "The Pacific" -- were among the first to leave the cable channel's lavish U.S. military-themed party at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

But not until they'd tipped their hats -- or in the case of Spielberg, his baseball cap -- to the cast (and crew) of thousands who'd worked on the $200-million series premiering March 14.

"There might have been three of us at the beginning," Spielberg said before the first episode screening at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, referring to executive producer No. 3, Gary Goetzman, "but thousands followed very quickly.

"Please hold your applause until I'm done. There are only 2,000 names here."

Five hours later -- ah, but how time flies! -- Hanks introduced Jon Seda, Joseph Mazzello, James Badge Dale and the rest of the cast who were present.

Pacific2 And he gave a shout out to senior military adviser Capt. Dale Dye, an actor and retired U.S. Marine who also worked on "Band of Brothers," the team's 2001 World War II series for HBO, and "Saving Private Ryan," Spielberg's 1998 tour de force feature.

"Dale Dye motivates men," Hanks said. "Dale gets actors to do things they never thought they could do -- although he can't convince them that they enjoy doing it."

Gritty, gritty. The 10-part series is based on the real-life experiences of three U.S. Marines, and the packed audience included the Marines' families as well as the surviving vets themselves: R.V. Burgin, Dr. Sidney Phillips and Chuck Tatum.

At the party later, Goetzman, who co-founded Hanks' production company and record label, Playtone, congenially held down the fort as he received a steady stream of well-wishers.

"Hey, listen, we're old guys," he said. "We've done a lot of stuff, and what's the favorite thing we've ever done? I would have to say, we're most proud of ‘The Pacific.' We love it, and we don't love everything we do.'"

-- Irene Lacher

[For the record, 9:58 a.m., Feb. 26: A previous version of this post said "The Pacific" is based on the story of three soldiers; in fact they are three U.S. Marines. Thanks to commenter Fleiter for that catch.]

Photos: From top, executive producers Steven Spielberg, left, and Tom Hanks launch "The Pacific" in Hollywood on Wednesday; "The Pacific's" band of brothers -- Jon Seda, left, Joseph Mazzello and James Badge Dale -- troop down the red carpet, left. Credit: Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic.com.

Related dispatches from the Ministry of Gossip:

Class act Tom Hanks joins the Twitter party

Obamas go Hollywood: Heads of showbiz at first White House state dinner [photo gallery]

Hey, Tom Hanks! Keep on singing Beyonce's 'Single Ladies'

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Comments () | Archives (6)

It's about Marines, not soldiers. Take it from the son of a Marine veteran of the Pacific War.

@Fleiter -- Christie D'Zurilla here from the blog. Thanks for the catch. Fixed!

//cdz

This is why we celebrate Tom Hanks. Good movies good message good times. Tom Hanks Day is held every year as a charity for Tom Hank's work with the Free Play Foundation. March 27 2010 the Galway Bay Chicago, IL. All moneys from this event are matched by Tom Hanks himself. The guy is so cool he even sends us autographed swag to auction off. (Signed copy of forrest gump got it at last years event. www.thetomhanksday.com go to the site and learn more about the event and about Tom.

Actually Fleiter, technically, saying they are "soldiers," not "Soldiers," is correct.

Though I am a Marine vet and it is quite grating to the ear.

I am just happy that Marines was capitalized. Rah!

I am going to get HBO just so I can watch this.

Tom Hanks and Spielberg should be designated honorary Marines for this, much as Gunny R. Lee. Erme was. They are doing a great service to veterans with their work.

Mr. Spielberg: What is it with Hollywoods (and the rest of America's) obsession with the Marines and the Pacific? Calling this series "The Pacific" really takes the cake, implying that the Marines (again) pretty much singlehandedly won the Pacific War by themselves. I'm not downplaying what the Marines did or the tremendous sacrifices they made, but in fairness they were only one part of the war, and arguably the more pivotal battles/campaigns of the Pacific (Midway? Coral Sea? Philippines? MacArthurs entire SW Pacific campaign anyone?)were fought primarily by the Navy and Air Force. But never a word let alone a movie about any of them (okay, there was that ridiculous Blockbuster "Midway" in 1976). And the regular army, sorry, don't recall they were ever there. If anyone ever bothered to read the Japanese version of the Pacific War they might be interested to find that Midway and Rabaul we're considered the pivotal turning points that lost them the war, not Tarawa, Okinawa or Iwo Jima. It's weird that everyone knows about MacArthur yet aside from the Bataan Death March not a single movie or series about his entire army or campaign. And he had the two highest scoring U.S. Aces in history (Bong & McGuire) under his command, but you won't ever hear about them either. And those Flying Tiger guys in China? We had guys in China?

Maybe they should have joined the Marines.

The Marine's part in the theater was crucial, however let us not forget about the other services. They too were vital in Japan's defeat.


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