Rupert Sanders is set to direct the Vietnam War movie The Things They Carried, based on the acclaimed collection of linked short stories by Tim O’Brien, who drew on his own experiences as a soldier in the 23rd Infantry Division.
The Things They Carried follows a platoon of American soldiers fighting on the ground in the Vietnam War. It was O’Brien’s third book about the war, one he wrote in response to what he considered ignorance surrounding the war, and it wound up becoming a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. One of O’Brien’s stories, “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong,” was previously made into the 1998 film in A Soldier’s Sweetheart starring Kiefer Sutherland.
Sanders is hosting a table read in LA this week, according to sources, and he’s currently working with casting director Carmen Cuba to find his young ensemble, as production could start as soon as this summer in Vietnam.
David Zander (Spring Breakers) will produce The Things They Carried for MJZ and Scott B. Smith (A Simple Plan) wrote the script, having just worked with Zander on the indie thriller The Burnt Orange Heresy starring Claes Bang, Elizabeth Debicki and Donald Sutherland.
Sanders made his feature directorial debut with Snow White and the Huntsman, which starred Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron, and grossed nearly $400 million worldwide en route to spawning a sequel. Sanders most recently directed the live-action Ghost in the Shell movie ($169 million worldwide) starring Scarlett Johansson, who planned to re-team with the director on the controversial drama Rub & Tug, though she ultimately exited the project following outcry from members of the trans community who opposed her casting as trans crime kingpin Dante ‘Tex’ Gill.
According to IMDb, Sanders is also developing a film about the early days of the DEA, as well as a sci-fi take on Gillo Pontecorvo‘s 1966 film The Battle of Algiers. He’s represented by CAA and Independent Talent Group, while MJZ serves as his commercial agent.
In addition to adapting his own novel A Simple Plan for director Sam Raimi, Smith also adapted his book The Ruins for DreamWorks and wrote last year’s Keanu Reeves movie Siberia. He’s represented by CAA and Circle of Confusion.