Alex Gibney to Direct Vietnam Drama 'American Hero' (Exclusive)

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Alex Gibney

The Oscar-winning documentarian is tackling a narrative feature about U.S. Captain Hugh Thompson, who saved lives amid the My Lai massacre.

Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) will direct the dramatic feature American Hero, based on the true story of U.S. Army Captain Hugh Thompson, who defied orders and saved a number of civilian lives during the Vietnam War’s infamous My Lai massacre. Thompson was eventually awarded the Soldier’s Medal, the highest medal for bravery not involving direct conflict.

It’s the second narrative film Gibney has signed on for, following the political thriller The Action, which was announced last year and for which Scott Z. Burns has written the screenplay.

Oscar-nominated screenwriter Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything) — whose latest film Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, just premiered at the Telluride Film Festival — is writing the original screenplay for American Hero. Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf (both of Big Beach), Will Clarke (Altitude Film Entertainment) and Paul Higgins are producing with Big Beach’s Leah Holzer as executive producer.

“Hugh Thompson, by challenging the army and country he loved in order to uphold his own principles, risked national vilification, ostracization by his comrades, his life, and a life behind bars,” said McCarten.

Added Higgins, “This isn’t just a story about the malice that occurs in the battlefield. This is a story about the triumph of morality; the story of a man whose actions can give us hope about the inherent nature of the human spirit. This is a story of a hero.”

Production is scheduled to begin next year.

Gibney, repped by UTA, will unveil his latest documentary No Stone Unturned, an investigation into a 1994 murder case in Northern Ireland, at the upcoming New York Film Festival.

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