NEW YORK, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Barry Keoghan says he connected to the sense of fraternity -- if not the heroism -- at the heart of his new World War II drama series, Masters of the Air, which serves as a companion to the lauded limited series, Band of Brothers and The Pacific.
"I can't compare myself to the acts that these men went through, but in terms of brotherhood and growing up at school and being on football teams and that camaraderie -- it felt like that," the Saltburn and Banshees of Inisherin star told UPI in a recent Zoom interview. "It was a really, really nice space and environment to click [with others]."
His cast-mate Raff Law -- star of Twist and the real-life son of actors Jude Law and Sadie Frost -- said he agreed with Keoghan's sentiments "100%."
"That brotherhood came very natural to us as a cast," Law added.
"It's crucial to the story. Look at Band of Brothers and The Pacific and the generational actors in that and how they all still keep in touch and are close. I feel like, throughout this process, we all became super-close and bonded and made friends for life."
Produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman and premiering Friday on Apple TV+, the nine-episode adaptation of Donald L. Miller's non-fiction book of the same name follows the men of the 100th Bomb Group as they attack Nazi Germany from the air.
It co-stars Austin Butler, Callum Turner, Anthony Boyle, Nate Mann, Isabel May and Ncuti Gatwa.
Keoghan plays U.S Army Air Corps Lt. Curtis Biddick, while Law plays Sgt. Ken Lemmons.
"This was slightly different because it was a real person I was playing," Keoghan said about how he got into the head and heart of his character.
"There are historical facts that you need to know. You can't just make up whatever. But then it's just the same process [as fictional roles] -- getting to the core of this person and what they are trying to say and do emotionally."
This was the first time Law has ever played a real person on screen.
"I kind of felt an added pressure, but a positive pressure to really understand the man that I was playing, and I felt grateful to represent the mechanics and the ground crew and that kind of side to the story," Law said.
"I found a book Ken Lemmons wrote called The Forgotten Man, which gave me a lot of insight into his experiences," Law added. "I got to speak with his family, which was an incredible moment. They gave me a lot of insight. It was a big process."
The more Law learned about Lemmons, the better he connected with him.
"He's a good guy. He's hard-working. He's a team player. He's committed to a cause," Law said.
Although the story is deadly serious, many moments of levity break up the tension.
"As an Irish person, we infuse humor into everything, especially moments of death. We tend to do that a lot," Keoghan said.
"But, for Lt. Biddick, it was more to make everyone at ease. Even in moments of doubt and uncertainty, he'd have to remain quite confident to let that trickle down to his squad."
The cast went through a boot camp to get them into fighting shape and flying shape before they started filming the series.
"I feel like I really did the work, so when we got there, I was prepared for the physical and emotional challenges," Law said.
"Of course, some days were longer than others or we had really physical stunts to do, but, at the same time, the story we're telling? The men we are portraying? We can't even imagine what they went through. You can't be there, worrying about what you are doing," he added.
"I just felt grateful to be able to tell their stories and, even to get a slice or a small, small, small portion of what they had to go through, was enough to realize how privileged and grateful we are."