In 1942 John Wayne made a movie called Flying Tigers about the exploits of the 1st American Volunteer Group who helped China fight the Japanese, the group was set up two years before America entered the war because of Japan attacking Pearl Harbor. The film was based on the real life of Claire Lee Chennault a retired U.S. army airforce officer although in the movie the character Wayne played was changed to Captain Jim Gordon, this was done for obvious security reasons since the war was still on at the time the movie was made and released thus the real names could not be used. Its a good film and one of John Wayne's best and it showed he could do movies other than westerns.
Chennault had worked in China from 1937 before World War 2 began and he taught his pilots dive and zoom techniques to counter the Japanese planes which were more maneuverable, they were also outnumbered in many of their encounters thus such tactics were needed.
John Woo is currently organizing finance to make his version of the film which may star Liam Neeson in the Chennault role, Woo was born in China in 1946 and he started his film career in the late sixties working on Shaw Brothers productions, he frequently writes the screenplays for his movies and my own personal favourite Woo movies are The Killer and Hard Boiled. He has also made Hollywood productions such as Hard Target, Face/Off and Mission Impossible 2.
Woo said in an interview that Chennault really did a great job for China, he went on to say “He really loved China. Older Chinese people really remember him, respect him and love him. No matter what kind of party was in power, they all liked him. Chennault worked with them all so well.”
Mr Woo is obviously passionate about making this film and it should hit cinemas late 2011.