Hostage rescue heads to big screen

Vertigo, RCN team for story of captives in Colombia

Vertigo Entertainment and Colombian television network and production outfit RCN are teaming up to bring to the big screen the story of last week's dramatic rescue of Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages in Colombia.

Colombian filmmaker Simon Brand, whose credits include "Unknown" and Colombia's highest-grossing movie "Paradise Travel," is working with the producers to develop and direct the project, which has no writer on board yet. The producers are also looking to meet with financiers and studios in the coming weeks.

Betancourt, a former presidential candidate of Colombian and French descent, along with three Americans as well as Colombian police and soldiers, were held captive -- some since 2002 -- by rebels form the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC. Colombian forces took acting lessons and spent months planting themselves among the rebels before culminating in a mission that saw the rebels tricked into thinking the captives were being transferred to another camp.

While many in Hollywood were vying for the rights to the dramatic story, Vertigo had the inside track on securing the rights due to the company's relationship with RCN. Vertigo worked with RCN to secure remake rights to the Colombian film "Al Final del Espectro," and has set up the project at Universal with the working title "At the End of the Spectra".

The feature will tell the story from three points of view -- the American, the French and the Colombian -- and recreate the rescue. The project will also be set partially in France and a French production partner is likely to come on board.

Vertigo is behind one of the summer's unlikeliest hits, horror thriller "The Strangers." Brand is repped by UTA.
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