Jerry Bruckheimer Is Killing Rommel

Randall Wallace to adapt WWII novel

What with Quentin Tarantino about to start shooting on Inglorious Bastards, and Tom Cruise attempting to kill Hitler in Bryan Singer’s much-delayed Valkyrie, it seems that World War II movies are all the rage now.

And Jerry Bruckheimer’s getting in on the act.

Bruckheimer has snapped up the rights to Steven Pressfield’s recent novel, Killing Rommel, which tells the story of the British army’s attempts to stop Rommel, the legendary Desert Fox, as he and his tank battalions proved to be a particularly painful thorn in the side of the Allied efforts in North Africa and the Middle East, circa 1942.

Bruckheimer has set Randall Wallace, who wrote Braveheart (one in the credit column) and directed We Were Soldiers (one in the debit), to write the screenplay.

This sounds like it could be a cracker. Pressfield is a wonderful author who can capture the madness and camaraderie of war, while Wallace – despite his directorial misfire – is a fine screenwriter who also knows a thing or two about war. And, while there have been movies made about the North African campaign to stop Rommel – notably Henry Hathaway’s 1951 movie The Desert Fox, with James Mason – there hasn’t really been a stone-cold classic, to our minds.

So this Disney film has a real shot at being something special, especially when you consider what advances in special effects could do for tank battles on the big screen.

There’s no news of a director yet, but Wallace is committed to directing a horse-racing film, also for Disney, so it won’t be him.

And in other Pressfield news, his peerless novel Gates Of Fire, about the Thermopylae conflict, is still in development at Universal, with David Self on scripting duty.