EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has bought the pitch That Others May Live, based on the life of U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant and pararescueman August O’Niell, who was injured in the line of duty and made the decision to amputate his left leg above the knee so he would have a better chance of returning to service. Producing under the banner that bears his name is Ian Bryce, who has a first-look deal at the studio. Andy Stern is set to write.
Bryce was worked on movies including all five Transformers films as well as Saving Private Ryan, Almost Famous and World War Z. Stern previously wrote Disconnect which was directed by Henry-Alex Rubin and starred Jason Bateman, Alexander Skarsgard and Paula Patton.
The project will follow O’Niell from his deployment to his injury and then his journey as he becomes the first pararescueman to be re-instated as an amputee and hopes to become the first to also redeploy and return to combat. He was injured on July 15, 2011 in Sangin Valley, Afghanistan when he was on a mission to help Marines who were taking fire and three of their men were in critical condition. When the helicopter he was riding in began taking fire, a bullet richocheted into his left knee and calf. He had to go through 20 surgeries over a three-and-a-half-year time period. That’s when he became an amputee and had to go through the arduous rehab process to learn to walk and then run again. He has since participated in the Invictus games in Orlando.
The title of the project comes from the pararescue motto: “These things I do, that others may live.”
Irene Yeung will oversee the project for Ian Bryce Productions. IBP is also currently developing the gritty crime drama Force written by Brian Horiuchi (also at Paramount) as well as an adaptation of The Greenglass House, a novel that was on the New York Times bestseller list; that book is being adapted by Joe Ballarini.
Meanwhile, Stern scripted Van Cliburn for Temple Hill and Crystal City Entertainment with Ansel Elgort attached to star and Chad Hartigan set to direct. He is also writing the Michael Marcum story for Amazon Studios and Diane Nabatoff about the prison inmate who, upon release, rose to become the warden of the same prison where he served and achieved the lowest recidivism rate in the country through prison reform. In addition, Stern adapted James Patterson’s thriller The Postcard Killings for Good Film and Good Universe and The Courier for Phiphen Pictures which follows the harrowing tale of Polish resistance fighter Jan Karski.
Bryce is represented by UTA. Stern is managed by Principato-Young Entertainment and represented by ICM Partners.
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