Two Bowe Bergdahl Film Projects Battle for Green Light

6:18 PM PST 06/16/2014 by Tatiana Siegel
AP Images
Bob Bergdahl

Mark Boal and Todd Field are writing competing projects about the controversial figure who spent five years in captivity, though Berghdal's life rights are still up for grabs.

A pair of competing films centered on U.S. Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl are in the works less than three weeks after he was freed from Taliban captivity, THR has confirmed.

One involves Academy Award-winning screenwriter Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker), who is developing a film through his Page 1 production banner based on the events surrounding the controversial extrication of Bowe, whose release was traded for five Taliban members held in Guantanamo Bay. Boal is making the project with Hurt Locker helmer Kathryn Bigelow, though she is not expected to direct.

That project is not funded, though Page 1 has the backing of Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures, the company behind Bigelow and Boal's Zero Dark Thirty.

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The second film involves Todd Field, who has acquired the rights to the late Michael Hastings' article for Rolling Stone magazine about Bowe, titled "America's Last Prisoner of War." Field, an Oscar-nominated helmer for In the Bedroom, is adapting the piece for Fox Searchlight with the intention of directing; he also is producing. Neither Boal nor Field have secured any life rights for the project, meaning Bergdahl's life rights are still up for grabs.

The circumstances under which Bergdahl was captured in Afghanistan by the Taliban became the subject of debate and has led to bipartisan bickering. Many Republicans complained that President Obama failed to notify Congress before making the exchange with the Taliban prisoners. Others, including soldiers from Bergdahl's platoon, have been vocal that efforts to find him were unwarranted because he had abandoned his post willingly. Bergdahl spent five years imprisoned.

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Hastings' article was particularly controversial. The piece led to the FBI opening a file on the journalist. That fact only came to light after investigative journalist Jason Leopold filed a Freedom of Information Act for Hastings' file following the reporter's death. After much delay, the FBI eventually released its Hastings information, much of it redacted.

CAA reps Boal, Field, Hastings' estate and Hastings' research partner, Matt Farwell, in the deal. Andrew Wylie of the Wylie Agency represents Hastings' estate for publishing.

Boal is additionally handled by Management 360 and attorney Alan Wertheimer.

Field is additionally represented by attorney Stuart Rosenthal.

E-mail: Tatiana.Siegel@THR.com
Twitter: @TatianaSiegel27

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