EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video have purchased feature rights to The Operator: Firing the Shots That Killed Osama Bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior. The film is based on the biography by former Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill, who revealed in the book that he was the SEAL who killed 9/11 terror attack mastermind Osama bin Laden. Writing the script is Michael Russell Gunn, who is a supervising producer on Showtime’s Billions.
Michaels is producing. O’Neill is exec producer. Kristin Lowe and Mika Pryce will oversee for Universal.
O’Neil’s bestselling book tells the story of a small-town boy from Montana who joined the Navy and found himself hunting terrorists around the globe. O’Neill retired from the Navy and now devotes himself to helping other veterans transition to civilian work. The ambitious film will span more than a decade and follow the sacrifice of O’Neill and his teammates as they endure the war on terror, from 9/11 to the final mission to kill or capture the most wanted man in the world, bin Laden.
Gunn’s 2015 Black List script The Virginian is set up at New Line with Jason Dean Hall attached to direct and his Cold War-era thriller Price of Liberty is in development with Participant Media and Tribeca Film. He is currently adapting Breaking Cover for Middleton Media and Medal of Honor recipient John Chapman’s story for Matthew Rhodes and Jonathan Gray’s The Hideaway Entertainment. Past credits also include The Newsroom.
Gunn is repped by WME, Artists First and attorney David Fox; Michaels and O’Neill are repped by CAA.