After a bidding war, Annapurna Pictures has picked up the screen rights to The True American: Murder and Mercy. Kathryn Bigelow is on board to direct and produce—after working with Annapurna on Zero Dark Thirty—and Tom Hardy is set to star. In The True American, author Anand Giridharadas recounts the fascinating true story of Bangladeshi immigrant Raisuddin Bhuiyan and American Mark Stroman. Self-described “American terrorist” Stroman acted out revenge for the 9/11 attacks with a gas station shooting where he maimed Bhuiyan and killed two others. Ten years later, Bhuiyan decides he must again meet Stroman face to face to find closure, and ends up fighting the Texas state government to save Stroman from the death penalty.
No writer is attached at this time, but I imagine Bigelow will reach out to Mark Boal, who wrote The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, and the stalled Bigelow project Triple Frontier. The book synopsis mentions Stroman “striving on Death Row to become a better man,” which gives Hardy (who I presume is playing Stroman) a redemption arc to play. I am curious to see who they cast as Bhuiyan. See the press release for more after the jump.
ANNAPURNA AND KATHRYN BIGELOW RETEAM ON FILM BASED ON NON-FICTION BOOK THE TRUE AMERICAN
TOM HARDY SET TO STAR
LOS ANGELES, CA (May 14, 2014) – Academy Award-winning filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow and Annapurna Pictures have reteamed on a film based on the non-fiction book THE TRUE AMERICAN by NEW YORK TIMES journalist Anand Giridharadas. Tom Hardy is set to star. Bigelow will direct and produce the film through her production shingle, First Light. Annapurna’s Megan Ellison, who previously worked with Bigelow as a producer on ZERO DARK THIRTY, is set to produce. Annapurna’s Matthew Budman, who co-produced ZERO DARK THIRTY, will serve as Executive Producer.
THE TRUE AMERICAN meticulously reconstructs two lives that collided in horrific fashion. In the charged, angry days after 9/11, self-styled “American Terrorist” Mark Stroman murdered two immigrants in Texas, while a third man survived being shot in the head during Stroman’s spree: Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh Air Force veteran, was working at a Dallas-area convenience store as he established himself in America.
With Stroman identified and apprehended, the tale begins its tack toward deeper emotional waters. THE TRUE AMERICAN is a richly detailed, affecting account of two men bound, as it turns out, by more than just an act of violence.
The deal was brokered by Annapurna’s Paul Hanson and Christopher Corabi with CAA, which represents Rais Uddin Bhuiyan and Anand Giridharadas, as well as Bigelow and Hardy. Anand is represented for publishing by Katherine Flynn at Kneerim Williams and Bloom. Bigelow’s attorney is Warren Dern of Sloane Offer Weber & Dern; Hardy is represented by Lindy King at United Agents in the U.K. and attorney Jason Sloane of Sloane Offer Weber & Dern.