Explaining to Time‘s Richard Schickel that sometimes “you have to trust your gut” and go with “a premonition that you can get something decent out of it,” Clint Eastwood is doing something fairly startling. Come February he’ll begin shooting Lamps Before the Wind, a kind of cultural reverse-angle, Japanese-soldier companion piece to his World War II war battle-of-Iwo-Jima drama Flags of Our Fathers (DreamWorks, due in Nov./Dec. ’06) that focuses on the Marines who raised the U.S. flag on top of Mt. Surabachi. Schickel’s excellent piece (“Clint’s Double Take”) reports that Flags screenwriter Paul Haggis begged off writing the Japanese saga, but recommended a young Japanese-American screenwriter, Iris Yamashita. “Taken together, the two screen- plays show that the battle of Iwo Jima — and by implication, the whole war in the Pacific — was not just a clash of arms but a clash of cultures,” Schickel writes. “The Japanese officer class, imbued with the quasi-religious fervor of their Bushido code, believed that surrender was dishonor, that they were all obliged to die in defense of their small island. Yamashita’s script is much more relentlessly cruel [than Fathers]. In essence, the Japanese officers compelled the bravery (and suicide) of their troops at gunpoint. Only the Japanese commander, Lieut. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (a mysterious historical figure who fascinates Eastwood), and a fictional conscript, Saigo, whose fate Yamashita intertwines with his commanding officer’s, demonstrate anything like humanity as a Westerner might understand it.” Flags of our Fathers (which costars Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, Ryan Phillipe, Paul Walker and Barry Pepper) and Lamps Before the Wind will be released simultaneously in late ’06.