CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A three-part History series largely filmed in West Virginia will premiere on Memorial Day. “The World Wars,” which Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner narrates, focuses on a 30 year period as the men who came of age in the trenches during World War I move on to become the leaders of World War II.
“The idea, because there’s been a lot about WWI and WWII, was to show that they were actually one war, the two wars, and you see that by seeing it through the perspectives of these famous people,” said Stephen David, executive producer of “The World Wars.”
Among the men chronicled are Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Douglas MacArthur, Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini. “You follow their lives and see how they shaped the fate of the world,” David said.
Interviews with historians and contemporary leaders — including John McCain, Colin Power, John Major and David Miliband — are part of the series.
Those working for David’s production company, Stephen David Entertainment, filmed for several weeks in parts of West Virginia’s eastern panhandle last fall. At times, West Virginia doubled as Germany, Mexico, France, Italy and Belgium.
“West Virginia just has many looks to it, so it’s a great place to film. There’s a lot of variety in what you can shoot there,” David said.
“The World Wars” is his second production to include filming in West Virginia. “The Men Who Built America,” his Emmy Award-winning miniseries, was shot during three months in 2011 in parts of both the eastern panhandle and northern panhandle.
In many ways, David said “The Men Who Built America” inspired “The World Wars.” “This is just a new way to look at these wars and I think for a younger generation this is, possibly, an understanding of what happened during this time period. It was 30 years when 100 million people were killed,” said David who was a guest on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
History will premiere the six-hour special event series on three consecutive nights beginning on Memorial Day at 9 p.m. ET and continuing on both Tuesday and Wednesday at 9 p.m. Later this summer, the three-part series will also premiere on History2 and in more than 160 countries around the world.