September 20, 2013 8:30am PT by Lacey Rose
Benghazi Movie From Jerry Weintraub in Development at HBO (Exclusive)
HBO is getting political.
The premium cable network has optioned New York Times best-seller Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi, with Jerry Weintraub on board to executive produce. The telepic, much like the book by Fred Burton and Samuel M. Katz, will offer an inside account of the attack against U.S. diplomatic and intelligence outposts in Benghazi, Libya.
“I’m thrilled and excited that my next movie for HBO after Behind the Candelabra will be Under Fire. It is the only place I can imagine this tragic and emotionally gripping story being told,” said Weintraub, hot off of the 15 Emmy nominations for his Liberace film starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.
The book, published this month, has been billed as a heart-stopping narrative of the diplomatic mission’s efforts to fend off and escape a terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012, which resulted in the death of four, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Fire reveals the 12-hour ordeal confronted by Stevens, Sean Smith, his Diplomatic Security contingent and the CIA security specialists who raced to rescue them.
The account is based on eyewitnesses and confidential sources within the intelligence, diplomatic and military communities. Adding credibility, Burton is vp intelligence and counterterrorism at Stratfor, a leading geopolitical intelligence firm, and one of the world’s foremost experts on security, terrorists and terrorist organizations. He's also a former State Department counterterrorism deputy chief and DSS agent as well as the author of a best-selling memoir, Ghost: Confessions of a Counter-Terrorism Agent and Chasing Shadows. Meanwhile, Katz is both an author (Relentless Pursuit: The DSS and the Manhunt for the Al-Qaeda Terrorists and The Hunt for the Engineer: How Israeli Agents Tracked the Hamas Master Bomber) and an expert on Middle East security issues, international terrorism, counterterrorism and special operations.
The deal at HBO comes just days after news broke that Thunder Road had acquired a different Benghazi effort, The Embassy House, an upcoming book penned by Sgt. Morgan Jones and Damien Lewis, to use as the basis for a film.
For Weintraub, this marks a continuation of a fruitful relationship with HBO. In addition to Candelabra, which he executive produced, the industry veteran was the subject of the 2011 HBO documentary His Way. At rival Showtime, he's at work on a multipart climate change documentary series called Years of Living Dangerously.
Weintraub, whose film credits include Oceans Eleven, The Karate Kid and Diner, is repped by CAA. Gersh repped the book as well as Burton and Katz in this deal; the authors' publishing agent is Jim Hornfischer.