You guys remember earlier this year when director John Moore followed his classic actioner Max Payne with the sequel to end all sequels A Good Day to Die Hard? You say that doesn’t sound like the truth? Well you’re right. Both of those films were pretty terrible. Making up for my lies is Moore’s next project, The Englishman, which is based on a true story. Given his previous work, however, I’m betting he turns this already astounding story into something completely outlandish.
The Englishman is based on the book Once a Pilgrim: The True Story of One Man’s Courage Under Rebel Fire by Will Scully. Told in real time, the story centers on Scully as he finds himself trapped in the middle of a military coup in South Africa. An ex-Special Air Service officer-turned-mercenary, the hero ends up being trapped inside of a hotel with thousands of civilians and surrounded on all sides by hostile forces. He is forced to take on the enemy alone because no one else in the hotel is worth a damn when it comes to fighting. Considering Scully wrote the book, I don’t think it’s necessary to warn you guys about possible spoilers as far as the ending goes. , Let's just say he went on to win the Queen's Gallantry Medal for his efforts.
The screenplay was written by William Wisher, who is best known for co-writing Terminator 2: Judgment Day with James Cameron. Unfortunately, his other credits include 1995’s abysmal Judge Dredd, as well as the script that became Exorcist: The Beginning. Thankfully with The Englishman he already has a solid narrative in place to work from
The Englishman has a $30 million budget, which suggests this will be a more intimate action film than some of Moore’s previous titles - a list that also includes the Flight of the Phoenix remake and Behind Enemy Lines. The new movie is being developed by London’s Derby Street Films and will be produced by Foresight Unlimited and Envision Entertainment, who also co-produced the current box office champ 2 Guns, as well as Peter Berg’s upcoming war drama Lone Survivor. Matt Damon is stepping in to join Moore as a producer on the project, which is pretty solid considering Damon is well-versed in both military movies and making big flicks with mid-range budgets.
“The Englishman is one of those rare stories, the details and circumstances of which are so bizarre and mesmerizing, it created a compulsion in us to tell it,” said Moore in a statement. Reviews of the book all call it a nearly unbelievable task of courage and strength, so it should really make for an amazing film.
Casting is currently underway, and production on The Englishman is set to begin in South Africa early next year. Though nothing was said about Damon being interested in starring, this would be a great role for him. And if not him, about a hundred other manly actors in their 30s or 40s. Head to the comments and tell us what actors you think would be able to save a hotel full of people from a coup.