Oliver Stone Revisits PINKVILLE With Shia LaBeouf

by     Posted 3 years, 238 days ago


In 2007, Oliver Stone was prepping to shoot Pinkville, a film about the Vietnam War’s My Lai Massacre.  Bruce Willis and Woody Harrelson were set to star before the 2007-08 writers’ strike derailed production.  It seemed like Pinkville might be shelved forever, but Stone may have found the ticket to revive the project: Shia LaBeouf.

Stone revealed in the commentary track for the Blu-ray release of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps that he and LaBeouf have discussed reuniting to film Pinkville.  LaBeouf is drawn to the subject matter because his father was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.  More after the jump:

The My Lai Massacre designates the murder of approximately 350-500 unarmed South Vietnamese citizens by a U.S. Army unit on March 16, 1968.  Many of the victims were beaten, tortured, or sexually abused.

Early guesswork puts LaBeouf in the role of Hugh Thompson who was, like LaBeouf’s dad, a helicopter pilot.  (According to IGN, the role was originally earmarked for Channing Tatum.)  On the day of the massacre, Thompson was unnerved by the sight of a ditch filled with dozens of bodies.  He radioed to his fellow gunships: hugh-thompson-image

“It looks to me like there’s an awful lot of unnecessary killing going on down there. Something ain’t right about this. There’s bodies everywhere. There’s a ditch full of bodies that we saw. There’s something wrong here.”

Upon the realization that the soldiers were executing the Vietnamese, he landed the helicopter between a group of civilians and soldiers in pursuit, with this instruction to his door-gunners:

“Y’all cover me! If these bastards open up on me or these people, you open up on them. Promise me!”

Thompson made every attempt he could to evacuate the survivors and convince his fellow soldiers to stop.  When he returned to base later that day, Thompson immediately reported the incident to his superiors, which provoked a cease-fire order from up above.

Yeah… that’s a movie.

But not this one.  At least not entirely.

Twenty-six soldiers were initially charged with criminal offenses for their actions at My Lai, but only one was convicted.  This outraged the public when news of the massacre leaked in 1969. General William R. Peers was appointed to investigate the massacre and its subsequent cover-up — Pinkville centers on Peers’ investigation.  Bruce Willis was set to portray Peers, though such a deal would obviously need to be regotiated if LaBeouf’s involvement indeed sparks interest in the project.

I hope this gets the project up and running again, especially if the script employs some kind of flashback structure.  Godspeed, Team Stone/LaBeouf.

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  • christophercantos

    and the fact that it supposed to reunite Stone with DP Bob Richardson who he hadn’t worked in years!. i always like people reuniting. especially how Bob Richardson had grown through all this years he hasn’t worked with Stone. i mean, Scorsese, Tarantino, Director De Niro, he has worked with a lot of the best.. it’d be nice if we get a reunion from tge original collaborators

  • AliveInSC

    Oh boy, another movie about how terrible the US and US Military are! What a joke! Hey Oliver, if you want to stand out from the rest of liberal Hollywood (but I repeat myself), try directing a movie about something good the US has done in the last 200 years. I know there isn’t much to choose from, at least in your opinion, but I’m sure you can find something.

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  • stevelknievel

    The man served his country as an enlisted man in Vietnam, infantry, can you think of anyone else who should handle the story? We need to be honest as a country about these sorts of things. Blind patriotism is exactly that. Taking nothing away from those who serve but holding accountable those who put them in harm’s way and the effects war has on human beings, military or not. Conservetives have voted down just as many bills for improved body armor and equipment for troops serving in our current conflicts as any liberal (having much to do with the “riders” attached) and the Bush admin. completely decimated the health coverage of active duty military and veterans of those conflicts. What would you like to see liberal Hollywood make a movie out of?

  • Pete Lawson

    Probably another “crap” for profit film I’m sure. Like we have to live this thing all over again. Stone has done nothing for the Vietnam vet but kick them in the butt again. He is a bigot and uses fiction to change history. He cannot be trusted to tell the truth about My Lai because if he uses the Peers investigation as a guide to what happened there he’s going to be way off base. As far as I’m concerned the only service he did for the country was to leave the service. Amen.

  • tom skiens

    Dwight D. Eisenhower understood the dangers of avoiding direct confrontation with exposed atrocities. He ordered his generals and as many as possible to look and photograph the death camps. Mr. Eisenhower vowed to never let the world forget the truth of the German camps. I believe Mr. Eisenhower would be disappointed by the military at the initial and secondary responses to warnings of possible wrong doing at My Lai. It is far to easy to lay the blame at the foot of one shake and bake butter bar. We as a people must share in the responsibility for this crime. My Lai did not become public until a year after the event. The military did not move to expose My Lai, they , I feel, practiced deception instead. Eisenhower would have been ashamed.


  • tom skiens

    on March 16, 1968 I was 12 miles WNW of My Lai between LZ Buff and LZ Sue. My company did between 1 and 3 combat assaults into that area during 1968. Another person on this page was 4/3 battalion intelligence and I assume, much closer to My Lai that day than I was.

    Information is critical to understanding My Lai. I have therefor posted what I believe is one of the 5 best collections of information about My Lai including the Peers report and the telling, “Four hours in My Lai”, paper.

  • Rich Raitano

    Those of us who served in the 11th LIB/Americal have taken some crap for My Lai over the years. But not all of us in the 11th/Americal were involved directly, so the crap that the unit as a whole has been given is unjustified.

    It was an horrendous and illegal crime, while not the ONLY ugly incident, by either side, it should have never been let loose on the citizens of My Lai…for whatever reason.

    It would be wise, and healing, if the truth be told and fully accepted by the nation and its leaders. It is my hope and wish that Mr. Stone dig into his own VN experiences when this story is put to film. I hope he examines and exposes the passions and fears of the soldier in war; the anger that rises uncontrollably when a friend is blown to pieces and killed.

    We veterans of Vietnam, especially those of us who served in the 11th more closely to “Pinkville,” should welcome any cleansing that may come from the truth. It does the soul no benefit to turn our eyes and hearts away from truth.

    “Time has become entangled
    in the oppressive barbed wire silence.
    Stilled by the need for penance,
    it tortures the heart and spirit…
    wanting only the peaceful refuge
    of holy absolution.”

    If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. ~1 John 1:8

    • stevelknievel

      Thank you gentleman for your service. The important part will be what purpose it serves. If this means anything to the men who served in Vietnam will matter more than anything. In my uneducated experience I think films about war have been educating to the the American people who were not there. On the other hand I know it is a hyper-reality crafted by a few to show the reality of a multitude and can be skewed. I wouldn’t know if they can do any justice to the experience of being there, If they are a disservice to the people who served. It was a part of the war and wars are fought in all of our names but not by all of us. I could not say honestly what my actions would have been in a war I did not serve in. I could not judge anothers. We have to be honest about the war and war in general.

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