EXCLUSIVE: David Ayer is negotiating to direct El-Alamein, the true story of a series of epic, bloody battles in the desert that pitted German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel against Britain’s Eighth Army in North Africa, led by Bernard Montgomery.
The script originally was written by David Self, and the most recent draft is by James Coyne. Di Bonaventura Pictures’ Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian are producing with Thomas Augsberger. The plan is to begin production in early 2020.
This is a big swing for Lionsgate, under Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane. Ayer previously directed the WWII tank battle film Fury, which starred Brad Pitt. He most recently completed the gritty urban street crime drama The Tax Collector, which he wrote. Before that, Ayer directed the Netflix film Bright and Warner Bros’ Suicide Squad.
After British forces defeated Italian forces in North Africa, Germany tapped Gen. Rommel to drive eastward along the North African coast to seize the Suez Canal. British forces were routed, and it came down to a stand at El-Alamein. There, British forces kept the Germans bottled up and unable to overrun Egypt. After several long, bloody battles, and with assistance from Australian and New Zealand forces, the Allies won the day. Rommel signaled Hitler that the cause was lost. He was not granted permission to retreat but began withdrawing troops, leaving the Italians alone to be trounced by allied forces.
The pic is being overseen by Lionsgate senior veep James Myers. Ayer is repped by WME, Coyne by Kaplan/Perrone and Self by Jackoway Austen Tyerman.