EXCLUSIVE: Antoine Fuqua is set to direct the Bron Studios feature Siege of Bethlehem based on the book A Season in Bethlehem: Unholy War in a Sacred Place written by former Newsweek Jerusalem bureau chief Joshua Hammer. I hear Fuqua will direct Siege of Bethlehem following his Will Smith Apple Studios’ movie Emancipation. That runaway slave action thriller, as Deadline first told you, was the biggest film festival acquisition deal in history, netting out to $120M.
Bron is producing Siege of Bethlehem alongside Michael Kase (6 Underground, 13 Hours, Transformers), from a screenplay co-written by Avi Issacharoff (Fauda), the Palestinian and Arab Affairs Correspondent for Haaretz, and Matt Cook (Patriots Day, Triple 9), a military veteran who served two combat tours in Iraq.
Inspired by a true story, Siege of Bethlehem tells how a Muslim, an Israeli Jew, and a Christian American came together to prevent a battle from breaking out between the Israeli army and a group of armed Palestinian militants who had taken refuge in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, the believed birthplace of Jesus. At the close of 39 days, despite the resistance put up by many of their superiors and colleagues, the three managed to reach a resolution, ending the siege and avoiding an all-out war on the church’s hallowed grounds.
Issacharoff and Lior Raz, the creative team behind Netflix’s critically acclaimed Fauda television series, Kase and Bron’s Aaron L. Gilbert (Bombshell, Joker) will produce. Jason Cloth of Creative Wealth Media will serve as executive producer.
“We are excited to partner with talented storytellers who have an unparalleled understanding of this extraordinary event and with action film icons who have the ability to bring it to life in the most powerful way,” said Gilbert.
“I’ve been shepherding this project for 15 years,” says Kase. “There couldn’t be a more appropriate time for a movie like this; it’s a story about uniting people through peace at a time of significant unrest.”
Fuqua’s directing credits including such hits as The Equalizer franchise, the Oscar-winning Training Day, The Magnificent Seven, and Olympus Has Fallen have racked up $1.4 billion at the global box office. He is repped by CAA. Issacharoff and Raz are represented by UTA, Artists First, and attorney Zifferen Brittenham. Cook is repped by WME and Anonymous Content. Kase is repped by Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.
Bron co-financed and produced the highest grossing R-rated film ever, Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s Oscar-winning The Joker, which made over $1.07 billion last year. Their roster also included Oscar winning pics such as Bombshell, Roman J. Israel Esq., and Fences and Greyhound starring Tom Hanks which was a big streaming hit for AppleTV+ this summer. Bron recently wrapped production on Måns Mårlind’s 8-episode series, Shadowplay, starring Taylor Kitsch and Michael C. Hall. Upcoming film releases include Barry Levinson’s Harry Haft, starring Ben Foster; Taylor Sheridan’s Those Who Wish Me Dead, starring Angelina Jolie; David Lowery’s The Green Knight, starring Dev Patel; Nia DaCosta’s Candyman; the Aretha Franklin biography Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson; Judas and the Black Messiah, starring Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield, and the third collaboration with Jason Reitman on Ghostbusters: Afterlife.