"If you look at the history of Hollywood, the black soldiers who fought World War II are totally invisible," Lee said during a press conference in Rome to official launch the project based author James McBride's "Miracle at St. Anna."
Also on hand were 82-year-old World War II vet William Perry, a member of a Buffalo Soldiers unit composed of African-Americans who fought the Nazis in Italy, and Moreno Costa, an Italian anti-Fascist partisan who fought alongside the Americans, Variety reported Tuesday.
Perry said 3,000 men of the 15,000-strong 370th Buffalo Soldiers regiment died.
Lee was Italy scouting locations for the $45 million drama. Shooting is scheduled to begin early next year in New York, Tuscany and Rome's Cinecitta Studios.