Terrance Howard stars in the recently released film "Red Tails," which was self-financed by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas as a passion project.
"Red Tails" tells the story of a crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program. The pilots, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard, played by Howard.
Howard had the chance to meet one of Tuskegee Airmen the film is based on, Dr. Roscoe C. Brown Jr., who was a consultant on the film.
"Meeting Dr. Brown made me not afraid to become 90," Howard said in an interview provided by the film's studio Lucasfilm. "He made me look forward to having that type of insight and hopefully having that type of impact on the world."
"I'm ultimately enriched as a human being by him," the actor added.
Lucas has been trying to get the film made for 23 years and he said in an interview on "The Daily Show" that many studios passed on the film "because it's an all-black movie. There's no major white roles in it at all...I showed it to all of them and they said no."
The film opened in second place at the weekend box office, grossing $18.7 million, above studio estimates. Howard added that technology was also an issue for filmmakers.
"Unfortunately it took so long [to be released] because you needed the resources, the technological resources, to be able to depict and tell the story in the proper light," Howard said. "You needed someone with the foresight and fortitude that George Lucas had and you needed a director like Anthony Hemingway to have the time to come about."
"Now the story can be told and it has a better, more balanced format and foundation in which it can be spread throughout the rest of the world instead of it just being told in 1980 or in 1995 on a TV show," he added. "Now this can be told on a grand scale with all the fixings and trimmings necessary to give it the glory it needs."
Check out a trailer for "Red Tails" below.