June is Pride month, of course, so look for content about LGBTQ+ representation in media throughout the month.
On this day in 1944, the Allies invaded Normandy in a battle officially codenamed Operation Overlord but better known as D-Day. Among those who landed at Normandy were the men of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Band of Brothers, the spectacular HBO miniseries based on Stephen E. Ambrose’s book of the same name, tells the story of Easy Company, from their basic training at Camp Toccoa to the capture of the Eagle’s Nest. Band of Brothers was, at the time, the most expensive mini-series ever produced with a budget of $125 million. The series was a critical success; it currently stands at #3 on IMDb’s Top Rated TV Shows list and has a 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes. It won the Emmy and the Golden Globe for best mini-series, as well as the Peabody Award. It is one of the most universally-beloved properties in media. Band of Brothers is my husband’s very favorite; he’s probably watched it more times than he’s seen any movie. One of the interesting things about watching the series now is playing “who’s THAT movie star?” with the supporting cast – among the sprawling cast are future capital-A actors such as Michael Fassbender, Simon Pegg, Tom Hardy and James McAvoy.
On this day in 2002, The Bourne Identity premiered in Los Angeles. You might not realize it, given its cultural impact, but The Bourne Identity was not a surefire hit. Yes, Matt Damon had won a screenwriting Oscar for Good Will Hunting, but he’d spent spent much of the next few years starring in ensemble pieces like Saving Private Ryan, Dogma and Ocean’s Eleven. The movies in which he had the lead, like All the Pretty Horses and The Legend of Bagger Vance, were box office failures. He was not considered a bankable movie star. It didn’t help the film’s case that the director, Doug Liman, specialized in offbeat indie flicks like Swingers and Go. The point is, this was not a guaranteed hit. But thanks to a crackling script by Tony Gilroy and W. Blake Herron, thrilling music by John Powell, breathtaking action sequences and an incredibly talented cast (including Franka Potente, Clive Owen, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox and Julia Stiles), the film was a ton of fun, and moviegoers flocked to it. Matt Damon: Movie Star (and a franchise) was born.
And finally, happy birthday to Robert Englund, a man who clearly embraces his most famous role!