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Oscar-nominated writing duo Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson (The Fighter) optioned the New York Times best-seller in 2014 and have been developing the screenplay with producer Paul Merryman ever since.
Published in 2012, The Outpost chronicles the epic true story of the 50 soldiers who battled a force of more than 400 Taliban in northeastern Afghanistan in 2009 during Operation Enduring Freedom. Originally built to engage the locals in community development projects and help the spread of democracy, Outpost Keating faced a constant threat of attack by the Taliban, putting the U.S. Army soldiers stationed there at tremendous risk. When the brass finally decided to close the base, the Taliban discovered their plans and decided to make a statement.
Lurie is no stranger to political and military themes, having graduated from West Point before eventually embarking on a career in film and television. He most recently directed an adaptation of Bill O’Reilly’s best-seller Killing Reagan for National Geographic Channel. Before that, Lurie created the TV series Commander in Chief for ABC and directed the Robert Redford starrer The Last Castle, about a court-martialed general who rallies 1,200 inmates to rise against the corrupt system that put him away. He also is developing an untitled film about former CIA director David Petraeus, who resigned three days after the 2012 presidential election.
“Having a director who graduated from West Point and served in the Army, as Rod Lurie did, provides rare opportunity for the men and women of Combat Outpost Keating to have their story told the way they deserve,” said Tapper, who currently hosts CNN’s one-hour weekday program The Lead as well as CNN’s Sunday morning show State of the Union.
Added Lurie: “The Battle of Kamdesh was the Thermopylae of our time, but with the heroes actually winning the devastating event. Two soldiers earned the Medal of Honor for this one, which is more or less unheard of. You can bet that as a former American soldier myself, I’m fully invested in this film, which I kind of feel is more a destination for me than a job.”
Merryman will produce The Outpost alongside Tamasy and Marc Frydman under Frydman and Lurie’s Battle Plan Prods. banner. Tapper and Johnson will executive produce. Jeffrey Greenstein, Jonathan Yunger, Les Weldon and Matt O’Toole are also producing for Millennium, with John Thompson, Avi Lerner, Trevor Short and Yariv Lerner executive producing.
“This is a project we’re extremely passionate about and have been actively pursuing for over three years now,” said Greenstein and Yunger. “We’re excited to finally bring this film to life and pay homage to our service men and women who put their lives on the line every day defending our freedom.”
Added Tamsay: “Jake’s book is an amazing work of journalism that not only tells the story of an important piece of our history in Afghanistan that is both tragic and triumphant, but also shows us the true meaning of the words ‘uncommon valor.’ The extraordinary courage of the men who defended Outpost Keating is a lesson and an inspiration to us all, and it is on us to do them justice.”
Tamasy and Johnson most recently wrote Churchill’s Secret Warriors for Jerry Bruckheimer and Paramount. They also penned Disney’s The Finest Hours and Lionsgate’s Patriot’s Day.
Millennium is one of the longest-running indie film companies in the industry and is best known for the Expendables series and recent thrillers Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen.
Greenstein, Yunger and Lonnie Ramati negotiated the deal on behalf of Millennium. Lurie, Johnson, Tamsay, Tapper, Merryman and Frydman are all repped by the law firm Nelson Davis. Lurie is additionally handled by CAA, while Johnson and Tamsay are clients of WME and The Gotham Group.
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