Tristan Wilds is already having his superhero moment. You just haven't realized it yet.
The current "90210" star flies into theaters this weekend with "Red Tails" and, to him, playing a member of the Tuskegee Airmen is adjacent to donning a cape and tights.
"I don't think I really understood the importance of the Tuskegee Airmen until I was 15 or 16, old enough to be inquisitive enough to go out and learn further history," he explained to NextMovie exclusively. "It felt like I finally found my own personal superhero."
Such a moment also allowed him to work with his former "Wire" director, Anthony Hemingway, and a major hero of the film world – producer George Lucas.
"George was very active [on set] … because this is his baby. This [movie] is something that he's wanted to do since 1989, maybe 1988 … He said when he first got the idea to do it, he felt like there weren’t enough black actors around to really do it. He said, 'I would have to clone Blair Underwood and Will Smith 100 times.'"
Still, it was surviving a week-long military boot camp with his castmates and getting a nod from the Airmen themselves that really inspired Wilds.
"The main thing that George and Anthony wanted to make sure of was that we got the approval of the Tuskegee Airman," he admitted. "They told us we got the parts – 'Oh congratulations' – but I don't think we really had the parts until we actually sat down and met the Tuskegee Airmen. Because it was them who said, 'You know if this was back in 1944, you guys would have been Airmen.'
"And as soon as they said that, everybody was like, 'Cool, we can shoot the movie.' So, yeah, I think to get the approval from them was everything that we needed."
Check out Tristan and his co-stars at the "Red Tails" premiere.