When President Barack Obama held a press conference that interrupted programming to announce that the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon had been located and killed it brought a sigh a relief to many Americans. It also gave heroism, specifically American armed forces, some newfound life that had been missing in cinemas.
One of the projects that got much publicity after Bin Laden’s demise was Kathryn Bigelow’s then-titled feature Killing Bin Laden. Originally to tell the story of a 2005 mission to hunt Bin Laden, the feature will instead be reworked to include Navy SEAL Team 6’s successful mission to kill Osama. The film, which has a targeted budget in the $25-30 million range, will be fully financed by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures.
Joel Edgerton, who recently got cast in Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby, is still a favorite to star, as Bigelow and writing partner Mark Boal were talking to him before Bin Laden was killed.
As far as theatrical distribution goes, Sony Pictures’ Amy Pascal is extremely interested in acquiring the property, sensing that other studios are just as interested as her in having it in its release schedule for 2012. According to Deadline, Sony will ink a deal where the studio only be responsible for the print and ad guarantees – somewhere in the vicinity of $25 million.
Besides Kathryn Bigelow’s feature, similar pics are also in the works. Disney trademarked the SEAL Team 6 name and Universal is fast-tracking Peter Berg’s gestating Lone Survivor project, which sounds like a cross between Black Hawk Down and Restrepo.
Once the deal is confirmed, it will be the second major deal for Ellison who, prior to Cannes, paid $20 million for the rights to the Terminator franchise. She’s also sold distribution rights to The Weinstein Company for the next film by P.T. Anderson. The Weinsteins were also victorious by having the winning bid to acquire The Wettest County in the World, another project produced by Ellison.
Tags: Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Megan Ellison, Osama Bin Laden, Sony Pictures, The Hurt Locker