WB locks up deal for prison riot tale


Warner Bros. has picked up the Delta Force prison project, an action thriller written by Ari Rubin with Francis Lawrence attached to direct.

Michael De Luca is producing along with David Keane, "Black Hawk Down" author Mark Bowden and Aaron Bowden via their Wild Eyes banner.

The project tells the true story of the riots and siege of Atlanta Federal Penitentiary in 1987. Cuban and American prisoners seized control of the maximum-security facility and took more than 100 federal prison staff members hostage. The situation was so extreme that the FBI's hostage rescue team was ill-equipped to handle the riots, and Delta Force, the Special Forces detachment, was called in to retake the prison.

Mark Bowden came across the story while researching "Black Hawk Down" at Fort Bragg, N.C., home of Special Forces. While he wasn't able to tackle the story himself because of other commitments, it stayed with him, and he shared his find with Keane and his brother Aaron Bowden. Wild Eyes decided the best way to bring attention to the story was via a big screen treatment.

De Luca Prods. exec Josh Bratman found the project and brought it to De Luca. CAA, which reps both production entities, then packaged the project, bringing it to the market and sparking a bidding war.

Erwin Stoff is exec producing.

Rubin wrote "War Magician" for Paramount and Cruise/Wagner. Lawrence, who directed "I Am Legend" and "Constantine" for Warners, is developing "Water for Elephants" for Fox 2000. Both are repped by CAA. (partialdiff)