LeadingWilliam Sadler

‘Pacific’ is a worthy sibling to HBO’s brilliant ‘Brothers’

Buffalonews.com spoke with William Sadler about the HBO mini-series “The Pacific” in which he plays Lt Col. Lewis ‘Chesty’ Puller.

[…] The most recognizable face in “The Pacific” may be William Sadler, the veteran character actor from Hamburg who worked with “Pacific” producer Tom Hanks on “The Green Mile.” Sadler gives Western New Yorkers an extra reason to watch, playing a legendary, pipe-smoking lieutenant colonel, Lewis “Chesty” Puller, who leads with pep talks, praise and preparation.


Sadler is the son of 87-year-old World War II Army veteran William J. Sadler, who fought in the Philippines and was recently given the Distinguished Service Medal.

“I actually thought because my father fought in the Philippines and my Uncle Jack Colley was at Guadalcanal, I knew a fair amount about the war in the Pacific,” said Sadler. But, he said, he knew nothing about his legendary character beforehand and was “blown away” while doing research about the war.

“I was truly amazed and had a whole new respect for what they did,” said Sadler.

When he was told by his agent that Hanks and producer Steven Spielberg wanted him to play Puller, Sadler’s first thought was “Who?” “I had never heard the name,” said Sadler. “It sounds like it should be a lap-dancing stripper or something. The more I read about Chesty, he is just an astonishing guy. To this day, he is the most revered Marine who ever wore the uniform. You ask any Marine alive ‘Who is Chesty Puller?’ and they’ll go on for half an hour about his exploits.”

Sadler could go on that long talking about the dedication of everyone in the production.

“The mantra was, ‘We’ve got to get this right,’ ” said Sadler. “This is my father’s story, this is your father’s story, and it’s never really been told in this kind of detail or on a scale like this. I felt a tremendous responsibility. When we were filming I kept running into Marines and I told them I was playing Chesty Puller and they said, ‘You better get it right.’ ”


Sadler is proud of the work, saying, “If it isn’t No. 1 [in his career], it is right up there.” He hopes the miniseries will do his father (who lives in Hamburg) and his generation proud.

“I hope when he watches it, he recognizes the amount of care and attention to detail and passion that this group of filmmakers and producers and performers put into this thing,” said Sadler. “I genuinely hope my dad watches it and says, ‘That’s what it was like. That’s what it felt like. That’s what it looked like. You got it.’

“If that’s the case, I will feel we’ve done that generation a service that needed to be done. A thank you for what they went through.”

Please read the full article on buffalonews.com.

The 10-part mini-series will premiere tomorrow on Sunday, March 14 and air weekly through May 16, 2010. The official website for the series is located here: www.hbo.com/the-pacific/index.html