I just heard that Universal won the negotiations and acquired (not just optioned) The New York Times No. 1 non-fiction bestseller Lone Survivor and Navy Seal author Marcus Luttrell’s underlying life rights for seven figures. (I hear $2 million upfront, plus 5% against adjusted gross, as well as other payments.) This follows a frenzied Hollywood bidding war that included Sony, Warner and DreamWorks (which really wanted the book for Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay). I’m told that Barry Spikings brought the project to Akiva Goldsman, who in turn took it to Pete Berg. Putting Spikings and Goldsman on as producers, Uni bought the book for Berg who’ll be writing and directing this as his next project for his Film 44 production company. He, of course, is the director of the upcoming The Kingdom about a team of U.S. government agents sent to investigate the bombing of an American facility in the Middle East. Uni made that pic as well as United 93; that helmer Paul Greengrass is adapting Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s book about the Green Zone in Baghdad, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, for the studio as well. How interesting that liberal Hollywood was so hot for this latest patriotic tell-all by a proud conservative. Book agent Ed Victor and Hollywood lawyer Alan U. Schwartz of Greenberg Traurig brokered the Lone Survivor deal. This seems to be another in what is a growing trend in the movie business to bring events about post-9/11, Iraq/Afghanistan and the troops into the plots of its pics. See my previous: Patriotic War Book Heats Up Hollywood
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