At the moment, Hollywood is treating the Boston Marathon tragedy with the same thoughtful restraint as it grants public domain fairy tale properties, with multiple projects in the works. Fox has “Boston Strong” with Daniel Espinosa attached to direct, and Mark Wahlberg has been eyeballing “Patriot’s Day” at CBS Films, but it looks likes “Stronger” is leaping ahead of both those projects. David Gordon Green recently signed up to direct, and now a major star is kicking the tires.
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Variety reports that Jake Gyllenhaal is circling the drama. Playwright John Pollono and “8 Mile” and “The Fighter” screenwriter Scott Silver wrote the script based on the memoir by Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs in the Boston Marathon Bombing and became a key witness in the subsequent criminal case. Here’s the book synopsis:
When Jeff Bauman woke up on Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 in the Boston Medical Center, groggy from a series of lifesaving surgeries and missing his legs, the first thing he did was try to speak. When he realized he couldn’t, he asked for a pad and paper and wrote down seven words: “Saw the guy. Looked right at me,” setting off one of the biggest manhunts in the country’s history.
Just thirty hours before, Jeff had been at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon cheering on his girlfriend, Erin, when the first bomb went off at his feet. As he was rushed to the hospital, he realized he was severely injured and that he might die, but he didn’t know that a photograph of him in a wheelchair was circulating throughout the world, making him the human face of the Boston Marathon bombing victims, or that what he’d seen would give the Boston police their most important breakthrough.
Up until the marathon, Jeff had been a normal 27-year-old guy, looking forward to moving in with Erin and starting the next phase of their lives together. But when his life was turned upside down in ways he could never have fathomed, Jeff did not give up. Instead he faced his new circumstances with grace, humor, and a sense of purpose: he was determined, no matter what, to walk again.
In STRONGER, Jeff describes the chaos and terror of the bombing itself and the ongoing FBI investigation in which he was a key witness. He takes us inside his grueling rehabilitation, and discusses his attempt to reconcile the world’s admiration with his own guilt and frustration. And he tells of the courage of his fellow survivors. Brave, compassionate, and emotionally compelling, Jeff Bauman’s story is not just his, but ours as well. It proves that the terrorists accomplished nothing with their act of cowardice and shows the entire world what Boston Strong really means.
Green has apparently met with a number of A-list actors, but the formal offer is expected to go to Gyllenhaal.
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