West on 'Thunder Run' mission

5:00 AM PST 10/06/2007 by Gregg Goldstein, AP

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NEW YORK -- Simon West will direct an adaptation of David Zucchino’s nonfiction book “Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad” for producers Freedom Films and Emmett/Furla Films.

The “Con Air” helmer will also produce the feature, adapted by Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times correspondent Zucchino from his chronicle of the pivotal April 2003 Iraq War battle.

“When I first read Zucchino’s book, I realized immediately it was one of the great accounts of modern warfare: heroic, exciting, tragic and ultimately political,” said West. “I had the same feeling when I found and developed ‘Black Hawk Down’ with Jerry Bruckheimer.”

“Thunder” is the latest in a long string of Iraq War docus and features. Zucchino, originally embedded with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, found himself accidentally switched to 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division as it entered Baghdad in what the military calls a “thunder run.”

Simon West Productions’ Jib Polhemus acquired the project and will produce the film with Freedom head Brian Presley, Randall Emmett, George Furla, West, Vance J. Owen and Lawrence Abramson. David Zucchino will also pen the screenplay.

The executive producers are “Black Hawk” writer Ken Nolan, Emmett/Furla’s M. Dal Walton III, Freedom’s Lisa Kearns, Thad Luckinbill and Kathryn Foster.
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