EXCLUSIVE: Rod Lurie has signed on to write and direct an event series for Fox about the Boston Marathon bombing. The untitled project, which is in development, is based on the best-selling book Long Mile Home, by Boston Globe reporters Scott Helman and Jenna Russell, members of the paper’s team that won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the bombing. The book, a la The Bridge Of San Luis Rey, focuses on the real-life stories of five people whose lives are changed forever in two deafening blasts at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. It follows the heartbreak, terror and triumph on Boston’s tragic Marathon day and the week that followed. Basil Iwanyk, producer of We Are Marshall and executive producer of The Expendables franchise, will produce through his Thunder Road production company. He and Kent Kubena, who’s filming Gods Of Egypt, will shepherd the project for Thunder Road.
Lurie and Iwanyk both have produced films with Boston themes: Lurie produced What Doesn’t Kill You, starring Mark Ruffalo, and Iwanyk produced Ben Affleck’s The Town. Lurie recently visited Boston ahead of the 2014 marathon to get a sense of the people and the place. “It’s a big beautiful city,” he posted on Facebook, “with a bounce-back population that takes care, not just of its own, but others as well, and they aren’t about to be stopped by a couple of punks, potheads without a winning bone in their body, cowards without a country. There’s no place on Earth I’d rather be than right here, right now.” Visiting the apartment where the bombers lived, Lurie found a note thumb-tacked to the door: “Nobody in the building has anything to say to journalists/reporters. Please go away.”
Lurie doesn’t plan on going away. “It’s hard to imagine a story in which an entire community caught a couple of criminals like Boston did,” he told Deadline.
Lurie, a former investigative crime journalist who said he’s writing the script “as we speak,” noted that Fox and Thunder Road gave him one edict: accuracy. “In this case,” he said, “the accurate story is a phenomenal story.” Lurie, Iwanyk and Kubena will executive produce, with Helman and Russell serving as consultants.
The Boston Marathon project joins a growing slate of event series at Fox. The network has 24: Live Another Day – which premieres May 5 — Gracepoint and Wayward Pines coming up and a number of others in development, including the recently announced Nazareth, about the early life of Jesus. Lurie’s writing and directing credits also include The Contender and Straw Dogs for the big screen and TV series Commander In Chief and Line Of Fire. The deal was packaged by CAA, which represents Lurie, the producers, and the book.