Everyone performs with conviction, but it is Cranston's mercurial Sal who, like Jack Nicholson before him, gives the film its propulsive energy. He says he could see Sal on the page. "Oh boy, it was so clear who that guy was! I so got it!" he says. "I know that guy! Who is in many cases someone you would do everything possible to avoid because he is exhausting, he consumes everything, he's self-medicated because of PTSD that he's never dealt with – this is how he deals with it – and yet he is the first who will have your back. It made me think the family they had, that military family, is not dissimilar from any family. There are members of my family I can't spend a lot of time with – but I love them, you know."
Any '70s film buff will spot the parallels here with The Last Detail, Hal Ashby's 1973 film about two Navy men taking a young offender across the United States to prison. Both films are based on novels published 30 years apart by Darryl Ponicsan. The characters match up: Cranston is playing an older version of Nicholson's brash Buddusky; Fishburne could be Otis Young's Mulhall; the crushed and drained Larry could be Randy Quaid's naive Meadows. Clearly, Linklater renamed the characters and shuffled the story because he wanted to avoid being confined by that idea. "I guess the most you can say – there's a little bit of an echo," he has said. "But it's not a sequel."
It is inevitably going to be read that way, however, given that trio of distinct characters and the frequent comparisons they make between the American experiences in Vietnam and Iraq. Linklater certainly isn't shying away from those. "I liked this because it wasn't just a diatribe about Iraq," he says. "I grew up with Vietnam: the news, the friends' older brothers who were killed in the war, returning vets. And then to see another war cycle come and go, you know…. we're in the middle of a war now. It seems to be endless: the perpetual war for perpetual peace, that's where we live."
It makes him worry, along with everything else, about men. "What is it about the male, that kind of general pack-animal attitude?" We need to think about that. "Not through the lens of heroics and sacrifice, but the tragedy of it." However much they rail against authority, Sal, Mueller and even Larry still believe in heroics, sacrifice and, above all, esprit de corps. Sal says the Marine Corps was the only religion that made sense to him; they all remember how great it felt to put on the dress uniform for the first time. There is a queasy sense that not only are they gradually returning to the fold, but that the film is going with them. "I was trying to honour their perspective," says Linklater. "It's kind of how they see the world."
Cranston remembers Vietnam with a different kind of nostalgia; where are those protesters now? "I think it's because of the smart phone. I think it's because technology has us so occupied that – wait, what, did you see this cat video?" he says. What doesn't come up on the smart phone are the coffins coming home or the villagers who burned to death in front of us on the news every night in the early '70s. "We heard the body count and we felt it. But they put a freeze on that. They don't have cameras in the Iraq war, no video cameras showing the caskets coming home. So it's almost a nice, tidy little thing – because if I don't see it, it didn't happen."
In a way, he says, war is always fought in the abstract. "The generals – who are in some safe place saying 'OK, send those soldiers in to take that! Oh well, that didn't work; 10,000 people died – have always had that mentality, which is dispassionate about individuals. They kind of have to be, which is scary.
"Now is different, however, because we're all kept at that distance It's almost like they've outsourced the war," he says. "They would really love you to not know or care because it makes their job easier. But I think self-scrutiny is very important. In a democracy, obviously. We need to make people accountable."
Last Flag Flying is in cinemas April 25.
007 film must treat Bond girls properly, says Waller-Bridge
Fast cars, martinis and Bond girls are core parts of the formula for 007 films, but one of those ele..
Fast cars, martinis and Bond girls are core parts of the formula for 007 films, but one of those elements is set for a change in the latest adventure.
Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is working on the script for the 25th Bond film, is on a mission to make sure the movie will "treat women properly" – even if the spy does not.
Ahead of the release of the as-yet-untitled film, Waller-Bridge told Deadline: "There's been a lot of talk about whether or not (the Bond franchise) is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women.
"I think that's b*******. I think he's absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow.
"It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly.
"He doesn't have to. He needs to be true to this character."
Waller-Bridge says she intends to ensure the female characters, including those played by Lashana Lynch, Lea Seydoux and Ana de Armas, feel "like real people ".
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She added: "I just want to make sure that when they get those pages through, that Lashana, Lea and Ana open them and go, 'I can't wait to do that'.
Sir Elton hits out at Russia for ‘cruel’ Rocketman censorship
Sir Elton John has criticised Russian censors for cutting gay sex scenes from the hit musical biopic..
Sir Elton John has criticised Russian censors for cutting gay sex scenes from the hit musical biopic Rocketman.
The critically acclaimed film charts the British singer's rise to fame, and its scenes of kissing and sex between men, as well as drug use, contributed to it earning a 15 certificate in the UK.
But in a bid to play down the sexuality of Sir Elton, played by actor Taron Egerton, for a conservative Russian audience, an estimated five minutes of footage was reportedly removed ahead of its debut in Moscow.
The Moscow Times quoted a Russian film critic who had seen the film at its world premiere in Cannes on 16 May as saying "all scenes with kissing, sex and oral sex between men have been cut", as well as a photo displayed during the end credits featuring Sir Elton and his husband David Furnish.
Sir Elton, 72, a prominent gay rights campaigner, released a joint statement with the makers of the film to accuse censors of being "cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people".
"We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today," they said.
"That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended, is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.
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Ben Affleck steps out to drop off kids as Robert Pattinson is announced as new Batman
Ben Affleck played Batman until earlier this year (Picture: Backgrid)
Ben Affleck has been pictured ..
Ben Affleck has been pictured performing his parental duties in Los Angeles, as his official replacement in the Batman role is announced.
The 46-year-old actor was seen in the early hours on Friday (31 May) dropping off son Samuel, seven, and daughter Seraphina, 10, to school.
Affleck has three children with ex-wife Jennifer Garner – Seraphina, Samuel and 13-year-old Violet.
On the same day the actor was pictured, it was announced Robert Pattinson will take over as Batman in a planned trilogy of movies with director Matt Reeves.
Affleck, who played Bruce Wayne in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and 2017s Justice League, stepped down from the role in January earlier this year – after being originally down to direct and star in his own film.
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Speaking about his departure in March, Affleck stated how he was never happy with the script they were planning to use.
We worked on the script, I was trying to figure out how to cRead More – Source
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