Stone tackles My Lai mayhem
EmptyOliver Stone is in final negotiations with United Artists to direct "Pinkville," a Vietnam War drama based on a true story set to star Bruce Willis and Channing Tatum. Michael Pena is in talks to play the third lead role.
Willis will play William R. Peers, the real-life Army general who investigated the infamous 1968 My Lai Massacre of Vietnamese civilians. About 350-500 people -- mostly women, children and the elderly -- were killed by U.S. soldiers.
Tatum will portray Hugh Thompson Jr., an Army helicopter pilot who helped stop the killing by flying between the attackers and the My Lai villagers, rescued survivors and later testified against the soldiers.
Pena is in talks to play Capt. Ernest Medina, the tough commanding officer of the troops responsible for the massacre who was charged in the crimes but ultimately found not guilty. Pena appeared in Stone's last film, "World Trade Center," and is in Robert Redford's upcoming UA drama "Lions for Lambs."
UA is in talks to finance the $40 million project, set for production next year and distribution through MGM. In the screenplay by Mikko Alanne, the audience pieces together the truth as Peers finds his way through the event's cover-up.
Stone recently had been exploring a feature about the U.S. government's hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan but chose "Pinkville" (a military description for the My Lai region) after talks with UA CEO Paula Wagner and partner Tom Cruise.
Vietnam is familiar turf for real-life veteran Stone. He covered the region in his Oscar-winning "Platoon," "Born on the Fourth of July" and"Heaven and Earth."
Stone is repped by CAA.
Willis is repped by CAA and law firm Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Gilbert-Lurie, Stiffelman & Cook.
Pena is repped by Innovative Artists, Eric Kranzler of Management 360 and the law firm of Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson and Binder.
Gregg Goldstein reported from New York; Borys Kit reported from Los Angeles.