Fox 2000 has hired Mark Bomback (Unstoppable) to adapt Robert Kurson’s Shadow Divers, the account of two divers who tested their physical limits to solve the mystery of how a German U boat came to be within just sixty miles of the coast of New Jersey. Marriages dissolved and friends died in the process, but the once bitter rivals developed “an almost mystical sense of brotherhood.”
Shadow Divers is housed at Tony and Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions. Hit the jump for the synopsis of Kurson’s book.
Variety reports Fox 2000 acquired the rights to the story in 2004, and it’s easy to see why. It sounds fascinating, and perfect for the screenplay structure. The mystery drives the narrative, but Bomback gets to play with the themes of friendship, obsession, and the triumph of the human will.
I hope Bomback is willing to make this more than just a feel-good story; to tap into the darker consequences of the six-year exploration. There is a version of this adaptation that is fantastic, and I hope it’s same as the one that eventually hits theaters.
The synopsis for Kurston’s Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II:
For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.
But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bones–all buried under decades of accumulated sediment.
No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location.
Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them would not live to see its end. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical sense of brotherhood with each other and with the drowned U-boat sailors–former enemies of their country. As the men’s marriages frayed under the pressure of a shared obsession, their dives grew more daring, and each realized that he was hunting more than the identities of a lost U-boat and its nameless crew. [Amazon]