Mel Gibson and the real Lt. Col. Hal Moore were at a special White House screening of Gibson's new movie We Were Soldiers--based on Moore's Vietnam experiences--Tuesday night, and watched the movie with U.S. President George Bush. (Gibson plays Lt. Col. Hal Moore in the movie.)
President Bush invited Gibson, Moore and Joseph Galloway to join him, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in the White House movie theater to watch the film.
We Were Soldiers is the story of the 34-day battle in the Ia Drang Valley in South Vietnam. It was one of the first major battles between North Vietnamese forces and U.S. soldiers. Moore's company of 400 men was outmatched by North Vietnam's 2,000 enemy troops.
Joseph Galloway is the reporter who witnessed the battle and co-authored with Moore the book that inspired the movie, We Were Soldiers Once...And Young.
Gibson told reporters that Moore and Galloway were instrumental in shaping his role in the film and giving it a sense of reality.
"I was certainly allowed to have a very, very personal look at war, at battle, at the human spirit, at courage, and they were generous enough to do it through their eyes," Gibson said.
We Were Soldiers opens nationally on Friday.