The cast of the new Apple TV+ historical miniseries share their newfound pilot dreams
Masters of the Air unlocked a new fire for flying among its impressive ensemble cast.
At the Los Angeles premiere of the Apple TV+ miniseries, much of the cast remarked on their newfound itch to get into the skies, with Sawyer Spielberg telling PEOPLE he’s now eager to “get up in the air” for real after filming heart-pounding in-flight scenes inspired by the “Bloody Hundredth” unit of the U.S. Air Force in World War II.
“I would love to. It's on my list. It's on my list of things to do,” said the 31-year-old actor who's also the son of Masters' executive producer Steven Spielberg.
Filming the scenes still required a lot of knowledge of the mechanics of a plane, though, as Sawyer notes, “It was memorizing every single switch and what every single part of the plane did and learning how to fly, which I thought was the most challenging, but also the most rewarding. And so when you watch it, you'll see us all, we're working that cockpit. We're doing all the moves that these guys actually had to do on the day of.”
The “amazing recreations” the cast filmed in were “incredible,” according to Callum Turner. “We had this plane guy called Ty who would quiz us and say, ‘All right, so what does that button do? What does that button do? What does that button do?’ And we'd have to do our sequence backwards and forwards.”
Sawyer, who plays Lieutenant Roy Claytor, noted, “We were well-educated on everything there is to know about the Air Force, so by the time we got to set, we had not only a bond, but we were educated on what to do.”
Austin Butler, who plays Major Gale “Buck” Cleven in the series, agreed that the “boot camp” the whole cast had to do prior to filming helped them bond — and also made it “so it was just even across the board.”
“There was this equality amongst everybody and that's really refreshing and a great way to start and it just sets the foundation,” said the Elvis star, 32.
As for his pilot skills, he admits he picked up some skills while on set in England but he’s “rusty now.”
Rafferty Law’s time in the fictional cockpit left him with a newfound sense of appreciation for just how brave fighter pilots are.
“Not only just flying the plane — but also the amount of things that could go wrong — is crazy. It wasn't just the planes were shooting at you and all of this. You had weather, you had the freezing cold, you had endless things that could go wrong,” continued Law, who plays Sergeant Ken Lemmons. “Hats off to all of the men that put themselves through this, through the psychological, the emotional pain.”
Masters of the Air follows the story originally documented in Donald L. Miller’s book of the same name, as a group of fighter pilots carry out “perilous bombing raids over Nazi Germany” while facing “frigid conditions, lack of oxygen and sheer terror of combat conducted at 25,000 feet in the air,” according to the official synopsis.
The series — which also stars Barry Keoghan, Branden Cook, Nate Mann and Ncuti Gatwa — portrays the “psychological and emotional price paid by these young men as they helped destroy the horror of Hitler’s Third Reich.”
In the trailer, the tight bond between the pilots is teased as Turner’s character says they’re responsible for “35 planes and 350 air crew men,” and at one point, they’re deployed "straight into Hitler's territory” in what a commander calls “the largest air armada ever assembled in the history of mankind.”
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The first two episodes of Masters of the Air premiere Friday on Apple TV+.
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