EXCLUSIVE: In what is shaping up as the first major deal made on the ground at the Cannes Film Festival, The Weinstein Company is in hot and heavy negotiations for U.S. rights to Code Name Geronimo, the John Stockwell-directed drama about the manhunt for 9/11 terror attack mastermind Osama bin Laden. The deal is in the $2 million range, and is being negotiated on the basis of a trailer for a film that is in post-production.
That footage was unveiled today by Voltage Pictures’ Nicolas Chartier and WME Global’s Graham Taylor (who just landed in Cannes), and Weinstein moved quickly to hammer out a deal with attorney Craig Emanuel.
What is most intriguing about this is that TWC can put the film into theaters in early fall, a move that would put it before the Kathryn Bigelow-directed Zero Dark Thirty. That film, which has an ensemble cast including Joel Edgerton and Jessica Chastain, won’t be released until December 19 after Sony Pictures decided not to put it in theaters during the presidential elections. Already it is clear that President Obama’s green light of the SEAL Team 6 mission will be a major issue in the upcoming presidential campaign, and Republicans have already railed against the notion that writer Mark Boal got inside information from the administration for his script.
The other intriguing thing is that a significant player in the sales effort for Code Name Geronimo is Chartier, who shared the Best Picture Academy Award with Bigelow, Boal and Greg Shapiro on The Hurt Locker. Now they’ve got rival films.
Scripted by Kendall Lampkin, Code Name Geronimo stars William Fichtner, Xzibit, Freddy Rodriguez, Anson Mount and Cam Gigandet and it is very much in the tense ensemble style of Act Of Valor. The logline: A break in the manhunt for Osama bin Laden serves as the riveting backdrop for a gripping story about the combined efforts of an extraordinary group of Navy SEALS. This is the story of a clandestine op, a perfect storm of people, and the rare synergy of circumstances that would amount to the most daring military op of our generation.
Voltage’s Chartier will now sell foreign territories on the film.