Warner Bros., Roy Lee to Adapt World War II Tale 'To the White Sea' (Exclusive)

To the White Sea Cover - H 2015
Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin

To the White Sea Cover - H 2015

The book was written by James Dickey, who also penned 'Deliverance.'

To the White Sea, the searing World War II survival tale by James Dickey, also the author of Deliverance, is getting another shot at the big screen.

Warner Bros. has picked up the movie rights for an adaptation to be produced by Roy Lee and his Vertigo Entertainment banner.

The move re-energizes a project that has been dormant since at least 2010 when Fox last had the movie rights.

The gutsy story tells of an air gunner during World War II who is shot down over Tokyo while on a bombing raid. The man embarks on an intense and violent journey, physically and mentally, across hostile territory to return home alive by trekking to Alaska.

With themes of survival and masculinity, and depicting the extremes of human behavior, the book has been said to be a companion piece to Deliverance, Dickey’s 1970 book that was adapted into the classic 1972 Burt Reynolds thriller that explored similar themes.

The book has attracted Hollywood attention since the early 1990s when Universal had the rights and David and Janet Peoples wrote drafts.

Then in the early 2000s came the Coen brothers, who were to tackle it as a starring vehicle for Brad Pitt. The Coens had a script that for years was considered the definitive version even as it went from being an indie to Fox.

The intent is to start over development with either a writer or director. Jon Berg is overseeing for the studio. John Middleton will executive produce.

Lee is one of the producers behind the Stephen King adaptations It as well as The Stand. He also produced The Lego Movie (along with Dan Lin) and is developing Warners’ big-screen take on 1980s role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.

The book was repped by agent Keith Korman of Raines & Raines, and attorney Eric Rayman of Miller Korzenik Sommers.