Colombian hostage rescue heads to big screen

Tue Jul 8, 2008 3:34pm EDT
 
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By Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Colombian movie director Simon Brand is teaming up with producers in Hollywood and his native country to bring to the big screen the story of last week's dramatic rescue of Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages in Colombia.

Brand, whose credits include the 2006 crime thriller "Unknown" and Colombia's highest-grossing movie, romantic drama "Paradise Travel," is one of many filmmakers inside Hollywood and elsewhere vying for rights to the rescue mission.

He is working with Los Angeles-based production company Vertigo Entertainment ("The Departed," "The Grudge") and Colombian TV network and production outfit RCN, the latter of which is seen as giving their project the inside track on securing rights.

Vertigo previously teamed up with RCN to clinch remake rights to the Colombian film "Al Final del Espectro," and has set up the project at Universal Pictures with the working title "At the End of the Spectra."

Brand is aiming to both develop and direct the hostage rescue project, which has no writer on board yet. The producers also are looking to meet with financiers and studios in the coming weeks.

Betancourt, a former presidential candidate of Colombian and French descent, had been held captive along with three Americans and a group of Colombian police officers -- some since 2002 -- by rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Colombian military forces took acting lessons and spent months planting themselves among the rebels before culminating in a mission that saw the rebels tricked into thinking the captives were being transferred to another camp.

The feature will tell the story from three points of view -- the American, the French and the Colombian -- and recreate the rescue. The project also will be set partially in France, and a French production partner is likely to come on board.

Vertigo is currently behind one of the summer's unlikeliest hits, horror thriller "The Strangers."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

 
<p>Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt (C) and other hostages wait to board a helicopter during a rescue operation in Colombia July 2, 2008 in this frame grab taken on July 4, 2008. Colombian movie director Simon Brand is teaming up with producers in Hollywood and his native country to bring to the big screen the story of last week's dramatic rescue of Betancourt and 14 other hostages in Colombia. REUTERS/Handout</p>