Gerard Butler And Ridley Scott Want To Team Up For An African Coup
Gerard Butler has already played one white man who traveled to Africa and tried to change a dire political situation, in this fall's underperforming Machine Gun Preacher, but I suppose there's no reason he couldn't go for it again. Deadline reports that studios are now considering a project that would have Ridley Scott directing and producing and Butler starring, based on the life of former British army officer Simon Mann. In 2004 Mann gathered a group of mercenaries for an attempted political coup against the president of Equatorial Guinea. The coup failed, and Mann spent five years in prison and was sentenced for another 34 before he was pardoned in 2009.
The really interesting part of the story comes where Mann claims that several prominent British political figures, including Margaret Thatcher's son Mark, supported him in his coup attempt-- and since it's Mann himself and his wife Amanda who are shopping the story around Hollywood, it seems safe to assume their version of the story will be the one making it to the screen. No studio has yet bitten, but Deadline's ever-knowledgeable "insiders" say there are high hopes of a deal coming through.
Between Machine Gun Preacher and his role in Ralph Fiennes' upcoming Shakespeare adaptation Coriolanus, Butler seems to be making a real effort this fall to distance himself from gross rom-coms like Bounty Hunter and The Ugly Truth, which couldn't be a more welcome career move for a guy who is still fairly new to stardom. The Simon Mann film seems like it could be another step in the right direction, though you have to hope it will be the Ridley Scott of American Gangster and Blade Runner who directs it-- not the Ridley Scott of Body of Lies and Robin Hood.
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