SXSW Debut Nixed, Rod Lurie-Directed Afghan War Thriller ‘The Outpost’ Lands Screen Media Deal
EXCLUSIVE: Screen Media has acquired U.S. rights to The Outpost, the Rod Lurie-directed adapation of CNN anchor Jake Tapper’s bestselling non-fiction book The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor. The military thriller is about a small unit of U.S. soldiers, alone at the remote Combat Outpost Keating deep in the valley of three mountains in Afghanistan, battling to defend against an overwhelming force of Taliban fighters in a coordinated attack. The Battle of Kamdesh was the bloodiest American engagement of the Afghan War in 2009, and Bravo Troop 3-61 CAV became one of the most decorated units of the 19-year conflict.
The film was set to have its world premiere at the South by Southwest Festival before the event was canceled. Screen Media will release the film around the July 4 weekend. Script’s by The Fighter team of Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson.
The film stars Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones, Orlando Bloom, Jack Kesy, Taylor John Smith, Jacob Scipio and Milo Gibson. Three soldiers who fought at COP Keating appear in the film including Medal of Honor recipient Ty Carter (whom Jones portrays). The film was produced by Millennium Media. There’s a platoon of producers: Paul Merryman, Marc Frydman, Jeffrey Greenstein, Jonathan Yunger, Tamasy and Les Weldon are the producers, and the exec producers are Avi Lerner, Tapper, Trevor Short, Johnson, Boaz Davidson, Robert Van Norden, John Kalafatis, Joanna Kalafatis, Mark Rhino Smith, and Tommy Vlahopoulos.
Since turning from film criticism to directing, Lurie’s helming credits include The Last Castle, The Contender and Straw Dogs. He is a graduate of the military Academy at West Point.
“The true story depicted – and incredibly executed – in The Outpost, is one of the most heroic stories of American triumph,” Screen Media’s Seth Needle and Mike Messina said in a statement. “Rod Lurie, the terrific cast and crew did an amazing job bringing Jake Tapper’s book to life. We couldn’t be more honored to be working with everyone involved to bring this film to audiences this summer.”
“I wish upon every director a movie so suited to their emotional needs. It was an honor and a duty to tell the story of my brothers in arms,” Lurie said. “I can think of no modern story that so beautifully displays the spirit of the American soldier. What we are willing to die for tells us so much more about ourselves than what we are willing to kill for. You’ll understand what I mean after you see the film.”
Millennium’s Jonathan Yunger added, “Finally, the world will see what these young men came face-to-face with and overcame.”
CNN’s Tapper said he “couldn’t be prouder to bring to even wider audiences the story of the selflessness and sacrifice, the courage and determination, of the troops who served at COP Keating. Rod, the producers, and the actors did an incredible job re-creating the outpost and the battle and perhaps most importantly the essential truths of the experience and the heroes there.”
Co-writer/producer Tamasy and producer Merryman said “It’s been a challenging seven-year journey to bring this important story to the screen and we were always just one RPG away from it not happening. Thankfully, we accomplished the mission and now get to share this story with audiences everywhere.”
Millennium Media is handling foreign sales. Screen Media made two deals last month including the Nikolaj Coster-Waldau-starrer Suicide Tourist and Robert the Bruce, with Angus MacFadyen reprising the title Scottish king role from Braveheart.