Apr 16, 2015

Tradecraft: Three Rival Benghazi Movies in the Pipeline

There are at least three rival projects in the works chronicling the harrowing and deadly September 2012 siege on the U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, diplomat Sean Smith, and two CIA contractors lost their lives. The latest, according to Deadline, comes from Alcon Entertainment. Zero Footprint tells not the story of the siege itself, but a more macro tale of events leading up to it. "This about why it happened and the siege of the embassy is the last part of the third act," says Alcon co-founder and co-CEO Andrew Kosove. "This is about everything that led up to that attack." Scott Charnick (The Wake), Charley Parlapanides (Immortals) and Vlas Parlapanides (Immortals) penned the script in close consultation with an ex-Special Forces operator who must remain anonymous. The complex story of deniable operators, secret missions, and shifting allegiances in the ongoing war on terror is told from his perspective.

If Alcon's approach is comparable to Syrianna or Zero Dark Thirty, the other two sound more akin to Black Hawk Down, focusing on the siege itself. Another project (currently untitled), Deadline reported separately, will focus on the two fallen CIA contractors and comes from Relativity Media, who have optioned "the life rights of former U.S. Navy SEALs-turned CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, who rescued thirty Americans in the attacks on the U.S. Diplomatic Compound." The studio also acquired the life rights to Woods’ wife Dorothy Woods and Doherty’s best friend and estate executor, Sean Lake, and will work closely with them in developing the film. Matthew Sand (Ninja Assassin) is writing the screenplay for the untitled drama, and Dana Brunetti (Captain Phillips) will produce.

Michael Bay is ahead of them, though, with his own Benghazi drama at Paramount, 13 Hours, already shooting in Malta and Morocco. Bay's version, scripted by Chuck Hogan (The Town), is based on Mitchell Zuckoff's book Thirteen Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi. In a story earlier this year, Deadline reported that James Badge Dale (Rubicon) "will play the leader of the security team that tries to protect U.S. lives in the assault." Freddie Stroma (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) plays an undercover CIA agent in Libya, and John Krasinski (Aloha) and Max Martini (Captain Phillips) also star.

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