SS Exodus Voyage of Holocaust Survivors Getting Film Treatment (Exclusive)

John Grauel, SS Exodus
John Grauel, SS Exodus
 Courtesy of Crystal City Entertainment

Crystal City Entertainment (CCE) and Chris Columbus’ 1492 are setting sail with a film about the SS Exodus, the famed ship that carried Jewish emigrants, many of them Holocaust survivors, from France to Palestine after World War II.

Mark Friedman will write the script, adapting John Grauel's self-titled autobiography. The project, developed in association with The Johnson Group, will center on Grauel, a young Baptist minister who, after the death of his wife and child, joined the crew of the Exodus. The ship's illegal journey in July 1947 was highly publicized as the crew, comprising mostly Americans, brought Holocaust survivors who were displaced after WWII to Palestine, which was then under Britain's administration.

Ari Daniel Pinchot will produce for CCE along with Columbus, Michael Barnathan, Mark Radcliffe and Jennifer Blum for 1492. Robert M. Johnson, Stuart Avi Savitsky and Jonathan Rubenstein will executive produce.

"We've always been drawn to inspirational stories about selfless individuals who give of themselves for something greater and this story certainly has those characteristics,” says CCE co-founder Savitsky. “Being able to show Rev. Grauel's 'coming of age' through this story makes for a compelling character that we are excited to share with audiences."

Grauel's little-known book was published — as an as-told-to by Eleanor Elfenbein — in 1983. Grauel, who died in 1986, also is known for helping convince the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine to create the State of Israel.

The story of the SS Exodus has hit the big screen before — in a 1960 film based on the book Exodus, by Leon Uris. Directed by Otto Preminger, the film starred Paul Newman and Sal Mineo, who was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar and won a Golden Globe. Uris' popular book, however, was centered on fictional characters.

Friedman wrote 2006's Home of the Brave and most recently worked on the NBC series Believe. He's repped by Chad Snopek Management.

Email: Rebecca.Ford@THR.com
Twitter: @Beccamford

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