New Projects: Benghazi, Jesse Owens, and ‘Hail, Caesar!’


The terrorist attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi so consumed the media and Washington that it’s bound to make good fiction. There’s potential for an on-the-ground action thriller, Zero Dark Thirty style, there’s potential for a thorny, political drama surrounding the ensuing scandal, and one can even look at the conspiracy theorist angle. And with that, Hollywood is racing to produce not one, not two, but three competing movies all about Benghazi.

Deadline reported Tuesday about one currently with a script in hand, Zero Footprint. Written by the team behind Immortals, Zero Footprint views the deaths of the consulate members and CIA operatives killed through the eyes of an ex-Special Forces operator.

“This about why it happened and the siege of the embassy is the last part of the third act. This is about everything that led up to that attack,” said Alcon Entertainment’s co-CEO Andrew Kosove via Deadline. Alcon’s other co-CEO Broderick Johnson added, “This story was one of several missions that led up to these events. This is the behind the scenes story of why this all happened. Our goal now is to find a serious filmmaker to propel the project forward.”

Zero Footprint doesn’t yet have a release date planned or director attached, unlike its competing projects. One is a non-fiction book by Mitchell Zuckoff being adapted by Michael Bay titled 13 Hours and starring James Badge Dale and John Krasinski. 13 Hours is embroiled in what happened in the heat of the moment and is billed as a much more political version that pulls back the figurative veil on what was thought to be plenty of mystery and conspiracy surrounding the event. The third project acquired the life rights of two of the Navy SEALs who were killed in the attack.

Anthony Mackie

Benghazi isn’t the only subject in Hollywood currently with competing projects. Jesse Owens, the four time Gold medalist who humiliated Hitler at the Berlin Olympics, also has three projects to his name currently in the works. This week Variety reported that Anthony Mackie (who isn’t faster than Captain America), will play Owens in a biopic put on by Relativity Media. Disney also has an untitled project based on the book Triumph, and a third film Race, starring Stephan James (Selma), is set to be released April 8, 2016.

Girls star Alex Karpovsky this week revealed new details about the next Coen Brothers film in which he plays a part Hail, Caesar! to Marc Maron on the WTF podcast. “This week they’re shooting a movie called Hail, Caesar!’ here in LA. And it’s set in 1950. Really funny script, kinda more wacky and zany than their last movie, more Hudsucker Proxy. And [George] Clooney is one of the studio actors, and gets embroiled into a situation that…uh…needs fixing.” This would be the Coens first straight comedy since 2008’s Burn After Reading. Hail, Caesar! is set to be released February 5, 2016.

Focus Features has picked up the North American distribution rights to a drama about the fight for women’s right to vote, Suffragette, and have a release planned for fall 2015. Suffragette stars Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, and Helena Bonham Carter as first wave feminists who were forced underground and even resorted to violence in their heated protests. Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane) is directing a script by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady), and the film already has a projected UK release for September 11, 2015.

For what will be the first adaptation of Louise May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women in over 20 years, Sony Pictures and Amy Pascal has tapped Sarah Polley (Stories We Tell) to write a screenplay, one that won’t be a modern day reimagining or anything of the sort. However, according to The Wrap, Polley has not yet been asked to direct Little Women.

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