“Fugitive” scribe Jeb Stuart has parachuted behind enemy lines to write a screen adaptation for MGM of John Katzenbach’s forthcoming World War II novel, tentatively titled “Grant’s War.”
David Ladd, a former MGM exec who now has an independent production deal with the studio, and David Foster (“The River Wild”) are producing.
The still-unfinished novel is set among American soldiers incarcerated in a German prisoner-of-war camp. Story follows the false accusation of murder against the camp’s sole African-American captive, a Tuskegee airman.
The German captors permit the Americans to stage a trial to determine the accused’s guilt, and a Harvard law student must defend the black officer against the charge.
Ladd said the story had echoes of the great WWII P.O.W. movies such as “Stalag 17,” as well as “To Kill a Mockingbird.” MGM purchased the film rights for the novel in September for a mid- against high-six figures, sources said.
Other Katzenbach novels adapted into features appeared as “The Mean Season,” which starred Kurt Russell, and “Just Cause,” which toplined Sean Connery.
Stuart also scripted “Cause.” Other writing credits include “Die Hard” and “Fire Down Below.” He wrote and directed “Switchback.”
Independent producer Foster also produced “Mean Season.” MGM’s Elizabeth Carroll is the studio’s exec on the project.
Gary Salt, of Paul Kohner Inc., is Katzenbach’s agent. Ballantine Books will publish the novel next year.
UTA reps Stuart.