EXCLUSIVE: The Fighter scribes Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson have used their own money to option The Outpost: An Untold Story Of American Valor. They will adapt the 2012 Little, Brown book written by Jake Tapper, host of the CNN’s The Lead. The book tells the story of Combat Outpost Keating, one of America’s deadliest battles in Afghanistan. The siege occurred in October 2009, when 53 U.S. troops were attacked by Taliban insurgents that outnumbered them 8 to 1.
The project is squarely in the study of courage mode of Lone Survivor, the sleeper hit Peter Berg-directed film based on the Marcus Luttrell memoir. The soldiers were ordered to establish a military based in an isolated Afghan province butting up against Pakistan, when the D.C. policy was to protect locals and win hearts and minds by supporting economic development. In reality, the base was surrounded by mountains, leaving the troops as sitting ducks. After insurgents selectively shelled them and sabotaged aid projects, the troops were finally attacked by over 400 Taliban fighters in the bloodiest attack of that year. A Pentagon review would later reveal that there was no good reason for the soldiers to have been placed there, but the troops adapted and despite high casualties, thwarted the attack. Tapper spent nearly two years investigating the events, interviewing more than 225 individuals involved. He took on the job partly because he was dissatisfied with his own coverage with the war in Afghanistan, which relied on the view from Capitol Hill and not on the soldiers and their families. Tapper’s donating some of the money to military-related charities.
The scribes, who shared an Oscar nomination for the David O Russell-directed The Fighter, are separately scripting The Finest Hours, the Robert Schwentke-attached Disney drama about a daring Coast Guard rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroyed during a blizzard in 1952. The plan is to pitch The Outpost first to producers, and then ultimately studios.
“We were immediately struck by the gripping accounts of our troopsʼ self-sacrifice and heroism,” Tamasy said. “Like The Fighter and The Finest Hours, in the end it is a highly inspirational story about the triumph of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming odds.”
“The moment I saw The Fighter, I knew that Paul and Eric were right for this project,” Tapper said. “Their rare ability to find the courage in the notion of brotherhood and nobility in the hard-working and uncelebrated make them perfect to help tell the story of the amazing men and women who served at Combat Outpost Keating.”
The scribes are repped by Verve, Gotham/Principal, and attorney George Davis. Tapper’s repped by Williams & Connolly’s Bob Barnett and Joel VanderKloot of Nelson Davis Wetzstein.