Out Of The Furnace and Crazy Heart helmer Scott Cooper will direct a fact-based feature about the Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighter crew that perished in a wildfire that blazed near Prescott, AZ. In June, 2013, 19 members of the elite firefighting crew perished while fighting the Yarnell Hill wildfire. Only one of them survived in what became the largest loss of firefighters since 9/11 and the greatest loss of wild-land firefighters in 80 years.
Black Hawk Down‘s Ken Nolan is writing the script and Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mike Menchel, and Conde Nast Entertainment’s Dawn Ostroff and Jeremy Steckler will produce. Erik Howsam will be executive producer for di Bonaventura Pictures.
There have been a few attempts in the past to make movies depicting the courage and bravery of smoke jumpers and firefighters who’ve been lost in ferocious blazes. Some of them have been derailed because the families didn’t want to go through it again and wouldn’t make rights deals. Here, the filmmakers are consulting with the family and loved ones of the Granite Mountain crew members. That includes sole survivor Brendan McDonough and Amanda Marsh, the widow of crew-leader Eric Marsh. The firefighters who perished ranged in age from 22 to 43, the latter of which was Marsh’s age. Besides the team leader, the fallen firefighters are: Andrew Ashcraft 29, Robert Caldwell 23, Travis Carter 31, Dustin Deford 24, Christopher MacKenzie 30, Grant McKee 21, Sean Misner 26, Scott Norris 28, Wade Parker 22, John Percin 24, Anthony Rose 23, Jesse Steed 36, Joe Thurston 32, Travis Turbyfill 27, William Warneke 25, Clayton Whitted 28, Kevin Woyjeck 21, and Garret Zuppiger 27.
“The heroic and tragic story of the men who gave their lives to protect the community of Yarnell is heartbreaking, compelling and inspiring,” said Cooper, who’s currently shooting the Whitey Bulger film Black Mass with Johnny Depp. “I look forward to telling their story with the respect, sensitivity and authenticity that these true American heroes deserve.”
Said di Bonaventura: “The nation came together to mourn the great loss of life by these heroes, but their bonds with each other makes their story so much more extraordinary and compelling. The story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and the tragedy that befell them, is not as much about the fire as it is about a group of blue-collar guys and their families and the brotherhood that they form with one another.”
Menchel, who’s a partner at Evolution Entertainment, said the film “will be a celebration of the lives of these young men, an insight into their jobs and their passion about fighting wildfires. It will give us a look at these individuals and their families that make up the entire family of firefighters. This nation is fortunate to have firemen and women like the Granite Mountain Hotshots. They not only protect our homes and property but they protect the gorgeous open spaces of the country for all of us to enjoy”.
Cooper is repped by CAA. Nolan is repped by CAA and Kaplan/Perrone. Ostroff and Steckler are repped by Ziffren Brittenham and CAA.