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'We want to show his strength': Emotional Beach on Prince movie

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WINNIPEG - An emotional Adam Beach, fanning himself with a ceremonial eagle feather, dissolved into tears at a Thursday morning press conference announcing he would portray First Nations war hero Tommy Prince in a feature film.

At Thunderbird House on Main Street, Beach, 37, described the personal significance of Prince, a legendary war hero who became the one of the leading lights in the First Special Service Force, a.k.a. the Devil’s Brigade, the most successful special service force in military history.

After composing himself, Beach said the story of Prince was an inspiration while he was growing up and would be an inspiration to First Nations youth, especially in Manitoba.

The film’s screenwriter and designated director Robin Webb of the Vancouver Island company Bay Film Studios said he was angered by a 1998 documentary on Prince in which roughly half its running time was spent on the years Prince fought a battle against alcoholism in Winnipeg.

He conceived of the dramatic feature as a corrective to the stereotype, and a celebration of Prince’s astonishing bravery and heroism and found a willing star in Beach (Flags of Our Fathers, TV’s Big Love).

"That’s what we want to show," Beach said. "We want to show his strength.

"Everybody seems to want to diminish the strength of a human being when they fall down."
 

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