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 Ridley Scott And Gerard Butler Plot Film About Simon Mann, Who Tried African Coup

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PostSubject: Ridley Scott And Gerard Butler Plot Film About Simon Mann, Who Tried African Coup   Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:43 pm

Ridley Scott And Gerard Butler Plot Film About Simon Mann, Who Tried African Coup

EXCLUSIVE: While the material marketplace has cooled as the holiday approaches, studios have been tempted by a pitch for a fact-based thriller that has Ridley Scott attached to direct and produce through his Scott Free banner, Gerard Butler to star, and Robert Edwards (The Bomb In My Garden) to write the script. Scott will produce with Giannina Facio and Alan Siegel. Butler wants to play Simon Mann, a former British army officer who in 2004 put together a band of mercenaries to attempt a coup against the president of Equatorial Guinea. The coup attempt was thwarted in Zimbabwe, where Mann went to pick up weapons. He spent five years in a harsh prison there before being taken to Equatorial Guinea where he was sentenced to 34 years–but spared that sentence when he received a presidential pardon in 2009.. His backers –Mann said one was Mark Thatcher, son of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher—disavowed involvement with Mann after the coup failed. Both Mann and his wife Amanda have been making the rounds at studios the past several days along with Edwards, and insiders say there are high hopes this will end in a deal. Scott and Facio are also developing a biopic of Middle East pioneer Gertrude Bell and Gucci, the Fox 2000 focusing on the volatile relationship between Maurizio Gucci and ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani, who drew a 26-year sentence for plotting his 1995 murder. Angelina Jolie has been mentioned for Gertrude Bell and Natalie Portman for Gucci.

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PostSubject: Re: Ridley Scott And Gerard Butler Plot Film About Simon Mann, Who Tried African Coup   Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:27 pm

Butler teams up with Ridley Scott?

(UKPA) – 1 day ago

Gerard Butler could be collaborating with Ridley Scott for a political thriller.

The Machine Gun Preacher star is set to portray Simon Mann in the as-yet-untitled film, based on Mann's real-life exploits, which the British filmmaker is attached to direct and produce, reported Deadline.

The former British Army officer-turned-mercenary was arrested in Zimbabwe in 2004 with 69 others on charges of plotting a coup d'etat in Equatorial Guinea, and was later convicted and sentenced before being pardoned on humanitarian grounds in 2009 - after implicating Mark Thatcher in the plot.

Simon and his wife Amanda have given their approval for the project, and chose former spy Robert Edwards to write the script.

Ridley, who is currently busy with the Alien spin-off Prometheus starring Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender, has been linked to a number of films including political drama Reykjavik to the adaptation of board game Monopoly. He has also spoken of making a Blade Runner prequel, Soviet-era thriller Child 44 and fashion drama Gucci about the late couture designer.

Gerard Butler plots starring role in film about Equatorial Guinea's 2004 coup

Scottish actor may play Simon Mann, British SAS soldier accused of attempting to overthrow oil-rich country's president

Gerard Butler may make a second foray into African politics with a film dramatising the 2004 attempted coup against Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea. The coup was masterminded by former SAS soldier Simon Mann.

Butler, whose recent turn in Machine Gun Preacher saw him recreate the real-life story of a reformed bike-gang member who fought against the Lord's Resistance Army in the Sudan, is hoping to play Mann, with Ridley Scott attached to direct.

Mann was arrested in Zimbabwe along with 64 mercenaries after attempting to pick up a supply of weapons. During his trial he gave details of the group of backers he said had financed the coup, which included Mark Thatcher, the son of the former British prime minister. Thatcher later pleaded guilty to unwittingly providing funding for the operation, was fined and given a suspended sentence by a South African court.

Mann was sentenced to 34 years in prison in Equatorial Guinea, but served three years before receiving a presidential pardon on humanitarian grounds.

Gerard Butler and Ridley Scott Team for Fact-Based Thriller About African Coup

Even as Ridley Scott mulls over helming the “female Lawrence of Arabia” biopic Gertrude Bell with star Angelina Jolie, the filmmaker has signed on to direct and produce yet another project through his Scott Free banner — this one a fact-based thriller starring Gerard Butler. The 300 star would play Simon Mann, a former British army officer who attempted in 2004 to stage a coup against the president of Equatorial Guinea. If you’re not up on your world events, here’s a bit of a spoiler alert: Things don’t go exactly as planned. More on the project after the jump.

Mann led a group of mercenaries in the coup, but was caught in Zimbabwe, where he’d gone to obtain weapons. He was put in prison for five years there, and then was extradited to Equatorial Guinea where he received a sentence for another 34 years. In 2009, however, he was saved by a presidential pardon on “humanitarian grounds” and was allowed to return to England. Deadline reports that Mann and his wife Amanda are both involved with Ridleys’ project, and have been speaking with studios along with Robert Edwards (the upcoming The Bomb in My Garden), who is writing the script.

Of course, depending on how Scott decides to arrange his schedule, it could be some time before this actually gets off the ground. In addition to this movie and Gertrude Bell, Scott’s also considering Gucci, about the tumultuous relationship between fashion scion Maurizio Gucci and the ex-wife who plotted to murder him (Natalie Portman has been “mentioned” to star); Child 44, a child murder mystery set in Stalinist Russia; and the Blade Runner sequel. Plus, depending on how Scott’s next film Prometheus performs at the box office next summer, he could have a sequel for that on his plate as well.

Butler’s most recent starring roles were in the biker-turned-missionary biopic Machine Gun Preacher and Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus, which opens next month. He recently wrapped the sports comedy Playing the Field, and is currently shooting the surfing picture Mavericks with Jonny Weston.

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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PostSubject: Re: Ridley Scott And Gerard Butler Plot Film About Simon Mann, Who Tried African Coup   Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:21 am

Interesting info about Gerry's interest in the Wonga Coup and what happened afterwards in prison. They have been in talks since Feb.2008 and Gerry invited Mann and his wife to TBH premiere in London (not the best premiere of Gerry's to attend, IMO. That firm was pretty bad)
There are other interesting tid bits in this article. Link and text below:

Now Ridley Scott plans Wonga Coup - the movie... and it will be based on Simon Mann's book

By Sarah Oliver

The story of British mercenary Simon Mann’s failed Wonga Coup may be made into a major film.
Film director Ridley Scott is joining forces with British actor Gerard Butler to make what Mann describes as not just a military drama but also ‘a love story’.
Butler wants to star as Mann, the Old Etonian who attempted to topple the government of Equatorial Guinea in 2004. Scott, the power behind Oscar-winning blockbusters such as Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and Alien, hopes to direct.

The film will draw heavily on Mann’s book Cry Havoc, published last month and serialised in The Mail on Sunday.

But negotiations have been under way since February 2008, when Butler’s producer Alan Siegel first made contact with Mann’s wife Amanda. At the time, Mann was serving a 34-year jail term in Equatorial Guinea’s notorious Black Beach Prison – a sentence from which he was pardoned in November 2009.
Just four months later, Butler invited Mann and Amanda to the London premiere of The Bounty Hunter in which he starred alongside Jennifer Aniston.

Mann, 59, said: ‘Gerry was fascinated by the Wonga Coup, but more so by what happened afterwards, by how you survive in an African prison. He has a lot of enthusiasm for the project and is investing a great deal of time and energy in it.’

The film would be Butler’s second foray into African politics. He is currently appearing in Machine Gun Preacher which sees him recreate the real life story of a former bike gang member fighting against the Lord’s Resistance Army in Sudan.

Butler, 42, is a fan of the work of Ridley Scott, 73, and the pair have been hunting for a screenplay that would give them the opportunity to work together.

Mann has had discussions with Siegel and executives from Scott Free (Scott’s production company). He said: ‘They were keen on the idea because it wasn’t just a military drama and prison ordeal – it came with a love story attached.’

Mann was referring to Amanda’s five-and-a-half-year wait for her husband, during which she cared for their three children and gave birth to their fourth, a son for whom his father chose the name Arthur from his prison cell.

Amanda had abandoned hope of Simon ever being released. She wrote to tell him she was divorcing him just a fortnight before he was granted a presidential pardon in return for giving evidence against others involved in the coup, which included Mark Thatcher, son of Margaret Thatcher.

She took him back the instant he was released.

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