HuffPost got a sneak peek at the short film, titled “The Last Mile,” via the trailer above. The clip features interviews with Hanks, Washington and Steenburgen, who share anecdotes about the turbulent years of the HIV/AIDS crisis as portrayed in the 1993 film.
“Going in and out of New York City, you ended up seeing it all over the place ― men were pushing other men around in wheelchairs,” recalled Hanks, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of AIDS-stricken lawyer Andrew Beckett. “[Director Jonathan Demme] and, I think, ‘Philadelphia’ said, ‘What are we going to do about this? How are we going to take care of each other?’”
Adds Steenburgen, “There was a tremendous amount of fear and a lack of knowledge. It’s hard for people now to realize how intense that moment in time was.”
Slated for a Nov. 15 release, “The Last Mile” was produced by Coca-Cola in partnership with the HIV/AIDS advocacy brand (RED) as part of the soda company’s ongoing Project Last Mile initiative, aimed at strengthening health systems across Africa.
Anne Carelli, Coca-Cola’s senior manager of integrated marketing content, told HuffPost her company hopes the film reinforces “the courage” it took for screenwriter Ron Nyswaner, Demme and the cast to tackle “Philadelphia” during the peak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and ’90s.
“The anniversary provides us with an incredible opportunity to recognize the undeniable role the movie played in changing society’s perception of HIV/AIDS, as well as the extraordinary progress made over the last two decades,” Carelli said. “While we see more understanding and less widespread fear of the disease, we want to make sure that people don’t become complacent because of the progress that’s been made.”
Ultimately, she hopes viewers see “The Last Mile” as “a rallying cry for us to do what’s right in terms of helping to end the fight against AIDS once and for all.”