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:
“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.