It’s rare for a TV miniseries to carry as much weight and anticipation as Masters of the Air does. When the Apple TV+ series premieres on Friday, January 26th, it will be flying in the wake of not just its two classic predecessors, but of the real history it’s depicting. Which makes it the prefect project for Consequence’s first-ever Hollywood-based cover story, Masters of the Air: The Brothers of the Bloody 100th.
Both Band of Brothers and The Pacific, the previous World War II epics from executive producers Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Gary Goetzman, became launching pads for numerous future Hollywood stars. The former gave boosts Damian Lewis, Michael Fassbender, Scott Grimes, Tom Hardy, Colin Hanks, James McAvoy, Neal McDonough, and even Simon Pegg; the latter had the likes of Rami Malek, Jon Bernthal, Joseph Mazzello, and Josh Helman. As Masters of the Air star Barry Keoghan puts it, every time a “new generation of actors” gets their shot in a project like this, “it feels like a moment.”
Seizing that moment this time alongside Keoghan are the likes of Austin Butler, Callum Turner, Nate Mann, Anthony Boyle, Rafferty Law, Ncuti Gatwa, and others. Some of those names have already been household favorites for some time, but plenty of them are young talents who have been itching for a chance like Masters of the Air. We wanted to know what it was like for these men — many of whom grew up in the industry influenced by Band of Brothers — to be part of something so massive, with such expectations, so early in their careers.
What we learned was that as much as it was about a chance to put “Worked with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg” on their resumes, it was about honoring the real-life heroes they were portraying. The series is based on Donald L. Miller’s book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany, and the word “boys” carries a lot of meaning. We think of wars as being fought by men, but as Hanks said at the Masters premiere, “Think of them as boys.” These were 17-, 18-year-old kids, sent abroad to risk their lives, to watch their friends die, to grow up faster than anyone should have to — all for a cause that was greater than themselves.
There’s no true comparison between the pressure on the actors and the actual soldiers they’re portraying, but the idea of these individuals banding together in service of something bigger does have it parallels. For the soldiers, it was about fighting evil and protecting values they held above all else. For the actors, it was about properly honoring those soldiers’ ideals and sacrifices.
Read how the cast approached that responsibility by reading Masters of the Air: The Brothers of the Bloody 100th. You can also see the Consequence cover for the war boys below, and keep your eyes on the Consequence social platforms for more exclusive videos and photos.
Masters of the Air debuts Friday, January 26th, on Apple TV+.