EXCLUSIVE: In the wake of Osama Bin Laden’s killing by a Navy SEAL team, Hollywood is suddenly obsessed with politically-charged fact-based mission movies. Momentum is building on one of those at Warner Bros, The Mission. David O Russell is circling the picture and the studio is courting Brad Pitt to star. This could all happen very quickly.
The picture is basically the methodical six-year mission planned by American and Colombian covert operatives to free 15 hostages from the Colombian jungle. The hostages included three Americans and Ingrid Betancourt, once a candidate for President of Colombia. The script is by Peter Landesman. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Scott Z. Burns will produce with McLarty Media, the showbiz consulting arm of D.C.-based international advisory firm McLarty Associates.
The hostages were held by the Colombian guerilla group FARC from between six and 15 years. It was a nightmarish existence as the hostages were moved around the jungles, often cruelly chained to trees at night by their necks. The central focus of the film isn’t the ordeal of those hostages but rather on Operacion Jaque, a covert effort involving numerous governments, diplomats and intelligence services and a vast network of spies, military advisers and soldiers plus high-tech surveillance measures. Nobody would confirm that Pitt was at all involved, and I’m not sure he’ll be set, but I am convinced they are talking. The studio wants this to happen quickly, and Russell is also considering The Silver Linings Playbook with Mark Wahlberg. Pitt is busy shooting World War Z. Let’s see how this one plays out.