‘John From Cincinnati’ may have left the Pacific for good, but HBO hasn’t left the ocean just yet. Filming has begun for ‘The Pacific,’ a follow-up to the 2001 megahit ‘Band of Brothers,’ produced by the same team of Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman. Whereas ‘Brothers’ focused on the European theater of World War II battles, ‘Pacific’ will focus on, well, the Pacific theater. Don’t say they didn’t warn you.

The story follows three U.S. Marines through battles, from Guadalcanal—one of the first U.S.-Japan clashes—through VJ Day in August of 1945. Jon Seda (‘Close to Home’) has stepped into the lead role of John Basilone, originally to be played by Val Lauren (recently seen on ‘Crossing Jordan’). James Badge Dale (‘The Black Donnellys’) and Joseph Mazzello (recently of ‘CSI’) round out the leads as Robert Leckie and Eugene Sledge, respectively.

Five different directors will take on helming duties across the ten episodes of the series, according to Zap2It. Graham Yost and Tony To, who also directed episodes of ‘Brothers,’ will direct here as well as executive produce; the other directors are Tim van Patten, Carl Franklin and Jeremy Podeswa, with prestigious TV directing credits like ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘The Wire’ to each of their names.

‘Band of Brothers,’ which used eight different directors through its 10 parts, won five Emmys, including best direction in a miniseries and best miniseries. The team they’ve assembled thus far simply screams “PRESTIGE!”, and the casting of unknown actors indicates a faith in the material that doesn’t need to be supported by throwing Al Pacino, say, into the mix.

‘The Pacific’ is set to air on HBO in 2009.

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