EXCLUSIVE: As Steven Spielberg has been barnstorming the globe, he revealed plans for a mini about Napoleon while in France and a movie in Kashmir as he has been touring India. He’s not abandoning the home front, though. DreamWorks has acquired screen rights to Thank You For Your Service, an upcoming book by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter David Finkel. He is also the author of The Good Soldiers, the acclaimed 2009 book about his experience embedding with a battalion of elite soldiers that led the “surge” to overtake Baghdad called for by President George W. Bush in 2007.
That book dealt mostly with the soldiers and their battlefield experiences. Finkel’s follow-up, to be published in the fall by Sarah Crichton Books, covers the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is making it so difficult for these and other soldiers to return from the battlefield and reintegrate into society. I am told DreamWorks will soon set a major writer to script a film. It’s unclear whether Spielberg would direct this, though he certainly has done his share of war films, and PTSD is going to become a growing problem as troops continue returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them traumatized by their experiences.
This becomes the second significant film project to emerge on the subject. Tom Hardy has teamed with Solar Pictures to develop Samarkand, a Greg Williams-directed drama in which Hardy plans to play an SAS soldier returning from the Middle East with severe PTSD difficulties. That script is by Greg and Olly Williams, brothers who developed the picture with Hardy and Solar Pictures’ Bobby Paunescu.