George Pelecanos talks to Fotis Kapetopoulos about his work in The Pacific. Next week he talks about being Greek in the U.S., his latest book release, The Way Home and the HBO masterpiece, The Wire
George Pelecanos, author of 16 books the latest being The Way Home and screenwriter of The Pacific, and The Wire
Photo: Ian Allen
19 Apr 2010
George Pelecanos honours his father with The Pacific. “Dad was a man who fought in the Philippine island of Leyte, in, 1944 WWII…” his voice breaks, a silence.
“My father died last year…” silence again, “you think you prepare for this, but you don’t,” he says. “You really don’t.”
“I did it for him and I am happy that he knew I was making it for him.”
It is said by some that Greek sons prepare for their father’s death, never their mother’s, maybe it is an ancient ritual of the making of a man.
The Pacific tributes ‘that generation’ – those who gave the greatest sacrifice and those who became men by fronting the horror of war.
“What I did is not want anyone to believe that this was a glorious war, this was an horrific and vicious war, men were dropped into islands and had to fight their way through.”
He also points to the fact that The Pacific is different to the Band of Brothers, a pioneering television event telling of the Battle of the Bulge in the European arena of WWII.
“It was a different war and America has also been through many things since Band of Brothers. We’ve had 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq.
We’re dealing with a different psyche now.”
In this week’s episode of The Pacific focuses on the traumatised American marines, after months of brutal and ferocious battle with the Japanese on Guadalcanal land in Melbourne circa 1940s.
This is where one of the marines, Leckie Basilone falls in love with Greek Australian, Stella.
Stella is born of an Asia Minor Australian immigrant family, who migrated to Australia after the Great Catastrophe, the burning of Smyrna (now Ismir) by the Turks in 1922.
The authenticity of the characters is clearly evident, like in all of Pelecanos’ television and literary works.
“I always seek Greek authenticity,” says the Greek American author and screenwriter. “I want to show Greeks as they are, real, with the positives and negatives.”
“I want to get away from the jolly Greek behind the counter.”
The Pacific is the largest television event ever.
The heavyweight production talents of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg as well as Pelecanos’ script will no doubt make The Pacific a culturally significant event.
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