Phillip Noyce To Direct Secret Iraq Mission Thriller ‘Alive Day’; Mike Medavoy Producing

Philip Noyce Mike Medavoy Six Days to Zeus
Philip Noyce, Mike Medavoy Shutterstock

EXCLUSIVE: We’ve learned that Salt filmmaker Phillip Noyce is set to direct Alive Day, a feature adaptation of Samuel Hill’s military taskforce novel Six Days to Zeus: Alive Day

Mike Medavoy’s Phoenix Pictures and Voyage Media’s Nat Mundel will produce from Kathleen McLaughlin’s screenplay.

Alive Day follows Hill’s true story (called Chief in the novel) who led a unit comprised of seven men from the Navy Seals, Green Berets, Army Rangers and Marine Recon who were conducting secret surveillance during the Saddam Hussein regime. The unit operated in the Iraqi desert near the Jordanian border in 2003.  The name of their unit was so secretive that it changed every 30 days, and they would enter Baghdad, sometimes disguised in burkas or hiding in sanitary trucks.

However, a horrific explosion kills all the unit’s members except Chief, who barely survives.

Noyce tells Deadline that the screenplay, which was adapted by his The Quiet American co-producer and longtime collaborator McLaughlin, “is part American Sniper, part Born on the Fourth of July, part Coming Home, and part Deer Hunter, but different to all of them in that it has an Agatha Christie whodunit sensibility to it. And that is the accused, Chief, legitimately doesn’t know if he’s the perpetrator of slaughtering his own men. What really happened and what was unearthed is an unbelievable detective story involving the FBI, and the work that they were doing secretly for the Jordanian government.”

Following the mission, Chief found himself a wheelchair-bound vet, told by doctors that he would never walk, and wound up homeless for a period, living in a park in North Carolina. However, his fate ultimately changed in an extraordinary way through a visitor to the park. Soonafter their encounter, Chief was able to walk again thanks to a revolutionary medical technology. He wound up using writing as a therapy to discover the truth of what happened to him in Iraq, and wrote Zeus. Chief noticed an online advertisement for a company, Voyage Media, which connected manuscripts with screenwriters, which is how McLaughlin boarded the material. The project ultimately landed in the hands of Noyce and Black Swan Oscar-nominated producer Mike Medavoy.

“I’ve previously made reality based films with Harrison Ford such as Clear and Present Danger and larger than life extreme action thrillers like Salt with Angelina Jolie. In retelling one man’s remarkable and uplifting real story, Kathleen McLaughlin’s screenplay for Alive Day combines seemingly disparate elements in ways that hopefully all at once reinvent the thriller, war and mystery film genres”, says Noyce.

Medavoy who has been involved in such films such as Platoon, Apocalypse Now, and produced Terrence Malick’s 1998 Oscar-nominated comeback movie, the WWII feature The Thin Red Line, says “I’m happy to be a part of this extraordinary story, with a character that examines the tragedy of returning heroes.”

Noyce’s plan is to have physical production ready to go on Alive Day once it’s safe to do so post the COVID-19 climate.

Australian filmmaker Noyce has directed such movies as Tom Clancy’s Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger for Paramount, the 1989 thriller Dead Calm with Nicole Kidman, Rabbit-Proof Fence, and The Quiet American. He’s also the EP of such hit TV series as ABC’s Revenge and Fox’s The Resident which is currently in its third season.

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