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Director Doug Liman and screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher are teaming to re-create the 1971 Attica state prison uprising.
The four-day confrontation between prisoners and guards — described as a riot by some, a rebellion by others — inspired Al Pacino’s famous chant of “Attica! Attica!” in “Dog Day Afternoon.”
Liman also will produce “Attica” with David Bartis under their Hypnotic banner along with Elliot Abbott (“Awakenings,” “A League of Their Own”), who is financing the development. Longtime Liman collaborator Avrum Ludwig also will produce.
Liman brings a personal connection to the project, as his father, the late Arthur Liman, served as chief counsel to the New York State Special Commission on Attica Prison and co-authored the commission’s report chastising then-Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and prison authorities for their role in the incident, during which 32 inmates and 10 hostages were killed, 39 of them during an assault by state police.
In a recent blog posting, Liman described visiting the prison with Fletcher, an Oscar nominee for his “Precious” screenplay.
“The tour was astounding,” Liman wrote. “We followed the steps the prisoners took as they overwhelmed the guards; saw the radiators they ripped off the walls and the gates they smashed open with them. We left with so many stories, and names and contacts of people who were there to continue our research.”
Liman, who directed “The Bourne Identity,” appears to be moving into more political projects. His next film, “Fair Game,” which will be released this year, stars Sean Penn and Naomi Watts as Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson.
Liman, Bartis and Abbott are all repped by CAA, which is handling domestic rights on the film.
In addition to his Oscar nom, Fletcher — repped by CAA and IPG — has also earned BAFTA and WGA nominations.
Borys Kit contributed to this report.
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