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Warner Bros. Picks Up Hostage Thriller

Produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura

Deep Impact/Armageddon. Robin Hood/Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. Sherlock Holmes/Untitled Ferrell/Cohen Sherlock Holmes Movie.

Yep, Hollywood has a history of double vision on major projects – and now it’s going to happen again, with the news that Warner Bros. has picked up an untitled action thriller pitch about the real-life rescue of 15 hostages from Colombian guerillas last year.

The movie, to be produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Scott Z. Burns, follows hot on the heels of Screen Gems’ recently-announced Operation Checkmate, which will be written by Jessica Postigo and directed by Simon Brand.

The Warner Bros. movie, though, by sheer dint of the involvement of a major studio and di Bonaventura, who excels at big-budget mayhem, would appear to be the bigger, bulkier proposition.

Peter Landesman has been hired to adapt the story of the rescue, which took place in July and involved a covert raid on the notorious FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia), which resulted in the successful retrieval of fifteen hostages, including former presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt.

The daring raid was part of a five-year plan called Operation Jaque, which required much covert and top-secret inter-departmental planning. It is this aspect, as well as the raid itself, on which Landesman will focus his script.

"We’re fed so many post-9/11 movies filled with political ambiguity, but this story is unequivocally about good vs. evil, with a happy ending," Landesman told Variety. "FARC once represented an idea of freedom for peasants, but it became a purely evil narco-trafficking and hostage-taking mechanism."

Intriguingly, di Bonaventura and Burns have teamed with McLarty Media to produce the film. That’s the showbusiness arm of McLarty Associates, a DC-based consultancy group that was heavily involved in the planning of the raid, which saw three American hostages rescued.

So this untitled project shouldn’t lack authenticity.

What does this mean, though, for Operation Checkmate? Will it bow out gracefully, or will it use its headstart to get into cinemas first? Is there enough interest for not one, but two, movies about this crisis? Only time will tell.

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