EXCLUSIVE: Rosamund Pike, Daniel Bruhl and Vincent Cassel are in talks to board Jose Padilha’s Entebbe for Brit production powerhouse Working Title. Participant is also on board as producer and in negotiations to fully finance. In what is a near-perfect union of filmmaker, subject and cast, this is shaping up to be a major motion picture likely to attract plenty of interest — particularly given recent world events. Greg Burke, who wrote Yann Demange’s brilliant ’71, is penning the screenplay.
It’s the 1976 true story, when four hijackers — two Palestinian, two German — took a plane hostage and diverted it to land in Entebbe, Uganda, while they demanded the release of dozens of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian prisoners. The ticking-clock thriller follows the hijackers, hostages, then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and future PM Shimon Peres trying to decide whether to negotiate or launch a raid to free the hostages, as well as the French crew led by the pilot who refused to leave when they could with the other French hostages.
Given Europe’s own summer of terror, with the wave of attacks in France and Germany — not to mention devastating attacks in Iraq, Turkey, Orlando and elsewhere — the picture is likely to have strong contemporary relevance even with its historical setting.
Padilha, who shot to prominence with his gritty police crime tale Elite Squad — which won Berlin’s Golden Bear in 2007 — will bring his research-based documentary background to bear as he did so successfully in both Elite Squad films, his searing documentary Bus 174 and, of course his brilliant Pablo Escobar Netflix drama Narcos. Padilha will examine the story from multiple points of view – the German and Palestinian hijackers, the Israeli (and other nationalities) hostages, as well as Israeli officials like Peres and Rabin.
Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce alongside Kate Solomon.
The story of the Entebbe raid and hijackings has been told before on TV and in numerous docus. Peter Finch and Charles Bronson starred in the 1976 NBC movie of the week Raid On Entebbe directed by Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back), while a rival TV movie Victory At Entebbe was produced the same year at ABC starring Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster. The latest project reps the first time the story will be told for the big screen by a filmmaking team at the absolute top of its game.
Pike has a number of anticipated films rolling out over the coming months including the Weinstein Company’s World War II drama-adventure HHhH opposite Jason Clark and Jack O’Connell and Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom. She also has Scott Cooper’s Hostiles opposite Christian Bale in production as well as Brad Anderson’s High Wire Act opposite Jon Hamm. She is repped by United Agents and CAA.
Bruhl has The Zookeeper’s Wife opposite Jessica Chastain in post and is also set to star in the JJ Abrams-produced God Particle alongside Elizabeth Debicki, John Krasinski and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. He is repped by WME, Tavistock Wood and Players Agentur Management.
Cassel, now onscreen in Jason Bourne, also has the Cannes Grand Prix winner It’s Only The End Of The World from wunderkind filmmaker Xavier Dolan coming out later this year. He is repped by CAA and Agence Adequat.