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Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) Poster

Trivia

Shot back-to-back with Flags of Our Fathers (2006).
Ken Watanabe read actual letters sent by Imperial Japanese Army Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi to his family from Iwo Jima while preparing for his role.
Director Spike Lee publicly criticized Clint Eastwood for an apparent lack of African-American performers in this movie and 'Flags of Our Fathers.' Eastwood retaliated with the historical fact that the US military refused to let most "colored" servicemen on the front line, ergo, very few African-Americans would appear in the battle scenes.
The story of Lt. Ito strapping mines to himself and lying among corpses to attack a tank is based on the real-life story of Satoru Omagiri, as told in "The Rising Sun" by John Toland.
The only cast member to be in both this film and its companion piece, Flags of Our Fathers (2006), appears in the flamethrowing image of Chuck Lindberg (played by Alessandro Mastrobuono). He advances on a bunker with a flamethrower. Individual members of the casts of both films have met, though never officially presented together, as there are commonalities between the casts in the acting community.
One of the only nine foreign language films ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. Though shot almost entirely in Japanese, it was an American production, thus ineligible for a Best Foreign Language Film nomination.
Most of the young cast knew nothing about the incidents on Iwo Jima as it is not taught in Japanese schools.
General Tadamichi Kuribayashi's pistol is a Colt M1911A1 with white ivory grips. The pistol was designed by John M. Browning in 1911 and was the US sidearm all the way up to 1986.
Originally titled "Red Sun, Black Sand".
Kazunari Ninomiya, who played Saigo, is a part of the Japanese pop boy-band Arashi.
When word spread that Ken Watanabe had been cast in the lead, virtually every young actor in Japan let it be known that they were interested in working on the film.
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Shot over a period of 32 days.
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The scene where the two Marines are left to guard the two Japanese prisoners of war, the two Marines fear that unless they dispose of the two prisoners and leave, they may be killed by other Japanese soldiers if they stay there, so they end up killing the two Japanese prisoners. And in an unintended demonstration of how cruel war can be, the Marines not only dispose of the two prisoners, but end up proven to be right, because as soon after they left, the Japanese squad of soldiers does, in fact, arrive at their location and discover the two dead Japanese soldiers and, if the Marines did remain guarding them, it would have been the two Marines that would have been killed, just as they feared.
The original plan was to tell both sides of the story in one movie but as production developed, it became obvious that there was too much to tell and that the two separate cultures created very distinctively separate storylines.
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The film's success led to an upsurge in tourist requests to visit the island of Iwo Jima. (It is protected so special permission has to be granted to visit its shores.)
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Ken Watanabe visited the birthplace and grave of Kuribayashi to help him build on his characterization.
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The screenplay was written first in English and then translated into Japanese.
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Clint Eastwood asked his previous collaborator Paul Haggis to pen the screenplay but Haggis felt that he wasn't sufficiently qualified to do the job. He called on Iris Yamashita - who was a research assistant on Flags of Our Fathers (2006) - to help him out.
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Filmed in Malibu. To film extensively on the island of Iwo Jima would have been too impractical, not to mention lacking in reverence, as the island is an unmarked grave for the thousands of soldiers who were killed there.
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Flags of Our Fathers (2006) was originally expected to be Warner Brothers' big Oscar contender that year but when it fell short of expectations - both critically and commercially - the decision was taken to rush Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) into release for award consideration. The film was originally scheduled to open in February.
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The film did considerably better at the box office than its sister film Flags of Our Fathers (2006), particularly in Japan.
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Editor Joel Cox wrote up the subtitles himself which were then checked by a Japanese translator. Only four words had been mistranslated.
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Special permission had to be given by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to film on the actual island of Iwo Jima. It is a national monument today as it is essentially the grave for over 10,000 missing Japanese soldiers.
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Costume designer Deborah Hopper deliberately chose not to make any of the uniforms or outfits in the film using silk. During the war, silk was considered an offensively expensive commodity.
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Clint Eastwood's 27th film as director.
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