Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg christen ‘The Pacific,’ HBO’s new WWII series


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Here’s the first rule for partying in style: The less you’re seen the better. If you’re a guest, come fashionably late. If you’re a guest of honor, leave fashionably early.

So naturally Wednesday night, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg -- two of the coolest guys in Hollywood and executive producers of HBO’s new World War II miniseries, ‘The Pacific’ -- were among the first to leave the cable channel’s lavish U.S. military-themed party at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.


But not until they’d tipped their hats -- or in the case of Spielberg, his baseball cap -- to the cast (and crew) of thousands who’d worked on the $200-million series premiering March 14.

‘There might have been three of us at the beginning,’ Spielberg said before the first episode screening at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, referring to executive producer No. 3, Gary Goetzman, ‘but thousands followed very quickly.

‘Please hold your applause until I’m done. There are only 2,000 names here.’

Five hours later -- ah, but how time flies! -- Hanks introduced Jon Seda, Joseph Mazzello, James Badge Dale and the rest of the cast who were present.

And he gave a shout out to senior military adviser Capt. Dale Dye, an actor and retired U.S. Marine who also worked on ‘Band of Brothers,’ the team’s 2001 World War II series for HBO, and ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ Spielberg’s 1998 tour de force feature.

‘Dale Dye motivates men,’ Hanks said. ‘Dale gets actors to do things they never thought they could do -- although he can’t convince them that they enjoy doing it.’

Gritty, gritty. The 10-part series is based on the real-life experiences of three U.S. Marines, and the packed audience included the Marines’ families as well as the surviving vets themselves: R.V. Burgin, Dr. Sidney Phillips and Chuck Tatum.

At the party later, Goetzman, who co-founded Hanks’ production company and record label, Playtone, congenially held down the fort as he received a steady stream of well-wishers.

‘Hey, listen, we’re old guys,’ he said. ‘We’ve done a lot of stuff, and what’s the favorite thing we’ve ever done? I would have to say, we’re most proud of ‘The Pacific.’ We love it, and we don’t love everything we do.’'

-- Irene Lacher

[For the record, 9:58 a.m., Feb. 26: A previous version of this post said ‘The Pacific’ is based on the story of three soldiers; in fact they are three U.S. Marines. Thanks to commenter Fleiter for that catch.]

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