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A feature film about an Iraqi who spent years translating for U.S. Navy SEALs fighting in his country is in the works.
28 Entertainment has optioned the movie rights to the autobiography Code Name: Johnny Walker, written by the translator under the pseudonym Johnny Walker. Jim DeFelice (American Sniper) co-authored the new book, which recently debuted on The New York Times best-seller list.
The project will be produced by 28 Entertainment’s Jay Hoffman, Brian A. Hoffman and Brett Harrison (Jay and Brian are father and son).
Offering a unique perspective on the Iraq War, the memoir reveals how the translator risked everything to assist Navy SEALs, who welcomed him into their tight-knit fold. In a recent interview with NPR, the translator said the SEALs nicknamed him Johnny Walker because of his love for that brand of whiskey.
Code Name also describes what it was like to be an Iraqi during the American invasion and the tragic price paid by other ordinary Iraqis. Eventually, the translator was threatened, prompting him to apply for asylum to the U.S. Today, he and his family live in California, where he works as a cultural advisor for the SEALs.
“This is a new and refreshing look at the situation in Iraq, from the Iraqi perspective,” said Brian and Jay Hoffman. “When we heard of ‘Johnny’s’ story from SEALs who had worked with him on the battlefield, we were immediately inspired and knew we wanted to bring his story to the screen.”
The autobiography was published by HarperCollins imprint William Morrow. DeFelice’s other credits include Omar Bradley: General at War, the first in-depth critical biography of America’s last five-star general.
28 Entertainment is a Los Angeles-based film production and finance company co-founded in 2008. The company’s development slate includes a biopic of iconic country singer George Jones. Past credits include Corked, an award-winning mockumentary on the wine business.
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Jon M. Chu