Sunday, December 07, 2008
Gary Goetzman has a lot to be thankful for this year. He was executive producer, with Tom Hanks, on the Emmy-winning miniseries “John Adams.” Goetzman also served as executive producer, alongside Hanks and Steven Spielberg, on the World War II miniseries “Band of Brothers,” which HBO Home Entertainment releases on Blu-ray Disc this Veterans Day, Nov. 11 (prebook Oct. 7).
“When you’re making something important and big, you want it to be on the best possible technology,” Goetzman said. “People are excited about Blu-ray, and it has become our standard.”
The 10-part miniseries, based on the book by Stephen Ambrose, recounts the story of Easy Company, which parachuted into France on D-Day in 1944 and marched through Europe into Germany. It stars Damian Lewis (“Life”), Donnie Wahlberg (Righteous Kill), Ron Livingston (Office Space), Scott Grimes (“American Dad”) and Peter Youngblood Hills (“Foyle’s War”).
The episodes are intercut with the remembrances of the actual veterans whose stories are retold.
“It’s a defining moment in American history,” Goetzman said. “For once, we all agreed we had a problem, and we banded together to solve it. We as a nation were all on the same page for this huge, historic event. We agreed there was only one outcome that any of us wanted. It’s the kind of event we want to hear more stories about.”
The six-disc Blu-ray set comes in a tin box at $99.98 and includes all the extras from the DVD set, such as the 80-minute documentary We Stand Alone Together: The Men of Easy Company, and other behind-the-scenes featurettes. Exclusive to the Blu-ray edition are “In the Words of Easy Company,” a picture-in-picture commentary from the veterans, and “In the Field With the Men of Easy Company,” an interactive field guide.
Goetzman said remastering the miniseries for high-def didn’t present too many challenges.
“We were in pretty good shape,” Goetzman said. “‘Band of Brothers’ was shot on film, but we always had to deliver it to HBO in high-def.”
“Band of Brothers” originally aired on HBO in 2001 and was released on DVD in 2002, becoming the all-time top TV DVD title in terms of revenue. The miniseries won six Emmys, including outstanding miniseries.
As something of a follow-up, Goetzman is re-teaming with Hanks and Spielberg to executive produce The Pacific, which follows the story of several Marines fighting in the Pacific Theater in WWII. The 10-part miniseries will debut on HBO in March 2010, Goetzman said.
Goetzman and Hanks also are preparing a miniseries version of 1776, based on the book by “John Adams” scribe David McCullough. Goetzman hopes to land much of the same cast as “Adams,” which won a record 13 Emmys.