Academy Award nominee and Irish filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”) will be helming the feature adaptation of author Neil Bascomb’s forthcoming WWI book, “The Grand Escape.” The book tells the story of three WWI pilots who attempt a daring escape from a German prison and their subsequent flight to freedom.
The Hollywood Reporter (THR) mentions that Film4 and Element Pictures have optioned Neal Bascomb’s “The Grand Escape.” Element Pictures has previously worked with Abrahamson in a number of movies including “Room.” A screenwriter is yet to be selected to adapt the book to film format.
The story of “The Grand Escape” sounds very similar to John Sturges’ 1963 classic film, “The Great Escape,” starring Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough, among others. That film told the true story of the Allied P.O.W. plan for several hundred of their men to escape from a German prison during World War II, as noted by IMDB.
Though the wars in “The Great Escape” and “The Grand Escape” are different, the situation is quite the same in both the films. Most of all, the titles are very similar as well. Perhaps, it’s Bascomb’s way of paying homage to the classic film and/or chosen for the purposes of marketability. It would be wise on Abrahamson’s part to change the title of the book to avoid any confusion. However, one expects Abrahamson’s film to be tonally quite different than the sensational Steve McQueen film.
THR notes that Abrahamson is also attached to direct and co-write “A Man’s World,” a biopic of boxer Emile Griffith who infamously beat Benny “The Kid” Paret to death in the ring in 1962. The latter grabbed his buttock and called him a homosexual at the weigh-in before the fight. Griffith was a bisexual man. A clip from the brutal fight can be seen on YouTube.
Besides directing Brie Larson in her Oscar-winning role in “Room,” Abrahamson is also known for directing Michael Fassbender in “Paul” and Jack Reynor in “What Richard Did.”