Sons to tell real story behind Spielberg's 'Bridge of Spies' in Twin Cities


Steven Spielberg's newest film, "Bridge of Spies," documents an important chapter of the Cold War – but who better to tell that story than the sons of the men who were there?

John Donovan and Gary Powers, Jr. will soon be doing so before an audience in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Their fathers, James Donovan and famed pilot Francis Gary Powers, were at the center of a major international incident that began in 1960 when the latter's U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union.

Powers was sentenced to 10 years in prison in the USSR, but thanks to the efforts of New York lawyer and CIA operative James Donovan, the U.S. was able to negotiate the pilot's release in exchange for Rudolf Abel – an imprisoned Soviet spy Donovan had defended in court.

Both Donovan and Powers have been dead for decades, but their sons are telling their story in light of the release of Spielberg's film, which centers on the incident and stars Tom Hanks as the elder Donovan.

According to a news release received by BringMeTheNews, the men will speak at the Beth El Synagogue at 7:00 p.m. on Dec. 3 as part of the institution's "Heroes Among Us" lecture series, proceeds from which support the the 682nd Engineer Battalion of the Minnesota National Guard, currently deployed overseas.

In addition to talking about their fathers' place in history, Donovan and Powers "will offer their take on the spirit of service, as well as the challenges facing the United States and international diplomacy," Beth El Synagogue says.

Both men, the Jewish community points out, are noted for their own accomplishments – Donovan served in the U.S. Marines during Vietnam and later worked as a diplomat, while Powers founded the Cold War Museum and works with the National Park Service to identify "historic Cold War sites" for preservation.

"Bridge of Spies" was co-written by Joel and Ethan Coen, both raised in St. Louis Park.

Tickets for the event are available here, and start at $36 for general admission.

Earlier this year, the Beth El Synagogue hosted a talk with Tara Kyle, the widow of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, subject of the film "American Sniper."

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