Who plays the real
life characters in Masters
of the Air

When Masters of the Air was filmed in England in 2021, a host of unknown actors were cast as the real life characters.

Today, some of them are already household names – a Best Actor Oscar nomination for playing Elvis, a Best Supporting Oscar nomination, a star of Fantastic Beasts, and a Ken from Barbie who’s also the new Doctor Who.

Austin Butler as Major Gale ‘Buck’ Cleven

Austin Butler plays one of the leading roles in the World War II mini-series as the bright-eyed Major Gale Cleven, who goes by  the nickname of Buck and served with the 100th Bomb Group at Thorpe Abbotts in East Anglia, England. Butler is best-known for his authentic portrayal of music legend Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 biopic Elvis, which Masters of the Air executive producer Tom Hanks also appears in. Butler also won Golden Globe and BAFTA best actor awards for his performance.


Butler rose to prominence with his role as Tex Watson in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019). He made his film and television debut as a recurring character in the popular Nickelodeon series Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide (2005-2007).


Read Cleven’s story


Callum Turner as Major John ‘Bucky’ Egan

Callum Turner stars alongside Butler as Major John Egan, also known as Bucky, who served with the 100th Bomb Group a Thorpe Abbotts. Turner starred with Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022) as Theseus Scamander. Turner also appeared in 2020’s Emma. Turner also stars alongside Joel Edgerton in George Clooney’s upcoming historical sports film The Boys in the Boat set to release on Christmas Day 2023.


Read Egan’s story

Barry Keoghan as Lt. Curtis Biddick

Barry Keoghan plays Lt. Curtis Biddick in Masters of the Air. The 31-year-old actor had already received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 2022’s The Banshees of Inisherin. Keoghan has starred in many notable films and television series such as Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk (2017) and HBO’s Chernobyl (2019).


Keoghan also briefly portrayed the infamous DC villain the Joker in a post-credits scene of 2022’s The Batman and appears alongside Jacob Elordi in 2023’s Saltburn.


Read Biddick’s story


Nate Mann as Major Robert ‘Rosie’ Rosenthal

Nate Mann appears in all nine episodes of Masters of the Air as Major Robert ‘Rosie’ Rosenthal. Mann has a relatively short filmography as he recently graduated from Julliard in 2019. He made his film and television debut in 2020 portraying a teenage version of the titular protagonist in Showtime’s Ray Donovan.


He also appeared as Brian in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2021 film Licorice Pizza. Mann’s appearance as ‘Rosie’ in Masters of the Air will mark just his fifth onscreen appearance.


Read Rosenthal’s story


Anthony Boyle as Major Harry Crosby

Anthony Boyle appears in Masters of the Air as Major Harry Crosby who from an inglorious beginning in England – the only navigator who failed to get his plane to the 100th Bomb Group at Thorpe Abbotts on their initial flight transatlantic flight to England.


He was stationed at Thorpe Abbotts for the entire 22 months that the 100th were there, and ended up as lead navigator on combat missions.


He starred in the highly acclaimed Games of Thrones season 4, episode 6 ‘The Laws of Gods and Men’.


He later appeared in The Lost City of Z (2016) and recently starred in Tolkien (2019) and Tetris (2023).


Read Crosby’s story


The making of Masters of the Air

Ncuti Gatwa as 2nd Lt. Robert Daniels


Ncuti Gatwa plays 2nd Lt. Robert Daniels in Masters of the Air.


Robert T. McDaniel was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, the elite African-American pilots who flew during World War II. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943 and trained as a pilot and bombardier at the Tuskegee Institute, going on to serve as a flight officer with the 477th bombardier group.


The group were unique in that at the time the American armed forces enforced segregation between white and black servicemen.


Gatwa is well-known for his portrayal of Eric Effiong in all four seasons of the popular Netflix series Sex Education. He also played a Ken in Greta Gerwig’s hit summer 2023 movie Barbie. The Rwandan-Scottish actor earned three BAFTA nominations for his comedic role in Sex Education and will star as the fifteenth Doctor in the long-running series Doctor Who. He will become the first black actor and the first actor not born in the United Kingdom to play the coveted part.



Masters Of The Air supporting cast and characters

Rafferty Law as Sgt. Ken Lemmons – Raff Law is the 27-year-old son of actors Jude Law and Sadie Foster. Raff made his film debut appearing as a younger version of his father’s character in 2010’s Repo Men. He will make his television debut in Masters of the Air.


Ben Radcliffe as Capt. John D. Brady – Ben Radcliffe is a 25-year-old British actor who made his film debut as Young Bruce in 2014’s Cuban Fury. He appeared in one episode of the Netflix series The Witcher and also was cast in Anatomy of a Scandal (2022), Hetty Feather (2018), and Ransom (2018).


James Murray as Major Chic Harding – James Murray recently starred as Prince Andrew in The Crown season 5. He has also appeared in dozens of British miniseries and TV shows such as Cucumber (2015), Suspects (2016), and Him (2016). Murray previously portrayed military personnel in 2023’s biographical war film Lee.


David Shields as Major Everett Blakely – David Shields played Michael Smart in the recent Black Mirror episode Demon 79. He rose to prominence from his performance as Colin Tennant in The Crown season 1. He also appeared in the 2021 war biopic Benediction.


Edward Ashley as Lt. Col. John B. Kidd – Edward Ashely recently appeared as Cambridge in the 2019 historical drama The King starring Timothée Chalamet. He also appeared in The Lost City of Z as well as the 2018 AMC series The Terror (2018).


Adam Long as Capt. Bernard DeMarco – Adam Long rose to prominence as Lewis Whippey in the first season of the acclaimed crime thriller series Happy Valley. He had a small role in Dunkirk and recently appeared as Staff Sgt Greene in the Russo Brother’s 2021 film Cherry.


Freddy Carter as Lt. David Friedkin – Freddy Carter is best known for his performances as Kaz Brekker in the Netflix series Shadow and Bone. Carter made his feature film debut as a soldier in 2017’s Wonder Woman.


Lauren McQueen as Rose – Lauren McQueen became well-known for her role as Lily in the popular Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks. She has also appeared in the comedy series 4 O’Clock Club and recently in the action series Bulletproof.


Sawyer Spielberg as Lt. Roy Frank Claytor – Sawyer Spielberg is the 31-year-old son of legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg. He has some acting experience as a background actor in 2017’s The Post and in an episode of Red Band Society (2014-2015).


Bel Powley as Alexandra Wingate – Bel Powley will guest star in Masters of the Air. She is best known for her role in 2020’s The King of Staten Island alongside Pete Davidson and for her role on Apple’s The Morning Show as Claire Conway.


How to watch Masters of the Air