EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has just closed a high six-figure against seven-figure deal for screen rights to Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution, a book by Nathaniel Philbrick that will be published April 30 by Viking. The project was acquired for Pearl Street Films as a potential directing vehicle for Argo helmer Ben Affleck, who partners in the company with Matt Damon. Word is that Affleck (who is busy adapting the Dennis Lehane novel Live By Night to direct, star in and produce) will turn the book over to his Argo scribe Chris Terrio, making this a major project.
Philbrick is the author of Mayflower and the National Book Award-winning In The Heart Of The Sea, the real story beyond the white whale that informed Moby Dick, and the struggle of the whalers to survive after the giant whale split their ship in half. That book has long been at Warner Bros and looks like it is finally getting made later this year with Ron Howard directing and Thor’s Chris Hemsworth starring.
Resolution’s Rich Green brokered the movie deal for Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency, and Pearl Street president Jennifer Todd moving aggressively to bring the book into the fold, with Sarah Schechter overseeing for the studio.
Affleck, who until Argo had directed movies in the Boston backdrop where he grew up, is going home again as Bunker Hill is hailed as the battle that lit the fuse for the American Revolution in 1775.
The unease between Bostonians and British troops turned violent after the Boston Tea Party, when violent sieges erupted in Lexington and Concord and a British blockade led to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill, a bloody clash that united the colonies and started the war for independence. The story is told from a group of participants, including a 33-year-old physician named Joseph Warren, who becomes a leader of the Patriot cause; Paul Revere, George Washington, British General Thomas Gage, and others.