‘Air Force Combat Controller John Chapman, mortally wounded, was first thought to have died in the mountains of Afghanistan in the battle of Takur Ghar. This hero who took on two dozen Taliban soldiers and saved 23 Americans was then left behind when SEAL Team 6 retreated. Evidence is overwhelming that Chapman survived being hit: After the retreat, military video footage shows a man courageously fighting out of a bunker all alone on the mountain and, among other findings, Chapman’s voice was unmistakenly heard on the radio. A true American hero.
The story of the fight and what occurred has been written in a book and is also the subject of a Newsweek cover story “Honor Guard.” Now management and production shingle Thruline Entertainment has optioned an upcoming book from Dan Schilling and Lori Longfritz which is under the working title The Controller: Medal of Honor Recipient John Chapman and the World’s Deadliest Special Operations Force for a feature adaptation.
This is the book proposal that was all abuzz in publishing circles last year that eventually sold to Hachette after a heated bidding war. The book releases next Spring. Adapting the book for the screen will be Michael Russell Gunn whose script, The Virginian, based on the life of a young George Washington sold to Warner Bros. with Bradley Cooper attached to star, Donald De Line attached to produce, and Jason Hall set to direct.
Champman’s story, of course, chronicles what happened in 2002 against the backdrop of one of America’s deadliest battles in Afghanistan. The Air Force Combat Controller took on heavily fortified Taliban forces after being left behind by his retreating SEAL Team 6 teammates. Although the original official military investigation maintained Chapman had been killed in the initial moments after his team landed on the mountain, more recent evidence points to his having saved 23 American lives by taking on two dozen Taliban soldiers trying to down a helicopter loaded with American rescue forces before being mortally wounded. The Air Force has spent 16 years and millions of dollars analyzing drone footage of the battle in an effort to lobby the White House to honor Chapman with the Medal of Honor.
Already approved by the Defense Department, the Trump administration has hinted at a Fall 2018 ceremony.
Also producing will be Gunn and Matt Garelik, a veteran distribution exec who worked at Fox and Relativity. Getting Chapman’s story to the big screen is a top priority for Thruline, West told Deadline.
Author Schilling, himself a former Air Force Combat Control Technician (CCT) like Chapman, will also serve as a consultant on the project.
ICM represented the movie rights in partnership with book agent Larry Weissman. ICM and attorney Todd Rubenstein brokered the deal on behalf of Thruline.’