Unlike most people, director Pablo Larraín had a pretty good 2016. His films Jackie and Neruda were both released to critical acclaim, and now it looks like he’s landed on a follow-up feature. According to the press release, Larrain is set to helm The True American starring Tom Hardy. Per the press release, “The project is based on Anand Giridharadas’ nonfiction book of the same name, which is set in Texas in the days following 9/11. It follows the story of Rais Bhuiyan, a Muslim immigrant and Bangladesh Air Force veteran who narrowly survived a killing spree that took the lives of two other immigrants. Employed at a Dallas-area convenience store as he established himself in America, Bhuiyan worked to have his attacker, self-styled “Arab-slayer” Mark Stroman, spared from execution.”
Back in 2014, Kathryn Bigelow was attached to direct the project, but she’ll now stay on as a producer alongside Megan Ellison, Matthew Budman, and Juan de Dios Larraín. Annapurna Pictures will distribute.
However, the big question now becomes where the project falls in Hardy’s busy schedule. So far this year he’s been eyeing Triple Frontier, there’s the possibility of the Mad Max: Fury Road sequel, Mad Max: The Wasteland, working with Andrew Dominik on War Party, and that Splinter Cell movie that may happen one day. But The True American sounds like an exciting project, especially with Larraín at the helm, so hopefully it will go in front of cameras sooner rather than later.
Here’s the synopsis for Anand Giridharadas’ book, The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas:
The True American tells the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh Air Force officer who dreams of immigrating to America and working in technology. But days after 9/11, an avowed “American terrorist” named Mark Stroman, seeking revenge, walks into the Dallas minimart where Bhuiyan has found temporary work and shoots him, maiming and nearly killing him. Two other victims, at other gas stations, aren’t so lucky, dying at once.
The True American traces the making of these two men, Stroman and Bhuiyan, and of their fateful encounter. It follows them as they rebuild shattered lives―one striving on Death Row to become a better man, the other to heal and pull himself up from the lowest rung on the ladder of an unfamiliar country.
Ten years after the shooting, an Islamic pilgrimage seeds in Bhuiyan a strange idea: if he is ever to be whole, he must reenter Stroman’s life. He longs to confront Stroman and speak to him face to face about the attack that changed their lives. Bhuiyan publicly forgives Stroman, in the name of his religion and its notion of mercy. Then he wages a legal and public-relations campaign, against the State of Texas and Governor Rick Perry, to have his attacker spared from the death penalty.
Ranging from Texas’s juvenile justice system to the swirling crowd of pilgrims at the Hajj in Mecca; from a biker bar to an immigrant mosque in Dallas; from young military cadets in Bangladesh to elite paratroopers in Israel; from a wealthy household of chicken importers in Karachi, Pakistan, to the sober residences of Brownwood, Texas, The True American is a rich, colorful, profoundly moving exploration of the American dream in its many dimensions. Ultimately it tells a story about our love-hate relationship with immigrants, about the encounter of Islam and the West, about how―or whether―we choose what we become. [Amazon]