CIA informant the subject of 'Frontline' docu
Vincent Newman Entertainment has acquired film rights to the story of Abdurahman Khadr, who was raised in Osama Bin Laden’s Afghanistan compound and became a CIA informant. Deal is worth mid- to high-six figures.
The 21-year-old Khadr, the subject of a PBS “Frontline” documentary last April, is living in Canada and interviewing journalists to collaborate on a book.
Khadr was groomed to become a terrorist because his father, who was recently killed in Pakistan, was a member of Bin Laden’s inner circle. As Khadr matured, he became increasingly disillusioned with Al Qaeda, resulting in rebelliousness, attempts to run away and repeated refusals when his father attempted to get him to become a suicide bomber.
“He’s like ‘You’d be the pride of the family, you’d be our pride if you do this,’ ” Khadr said in the docu. “But I don’t believe in blowing myself up, killing innocent people.”
Khadr escaped the compound after 9/11, was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and was recruited by the CIA as an informant at Guantanamo Bay, where he was placed among prisoners in an attempt to gain Al Qaeda secrets. He was later sent to Bosnia by the CIA to infiltrate Al Qaeda’s recruitment efforts and was due to be sent to Iraq before deciding to blow his cover by contacting a relative in Canada.
Newman negotiated the deal via New York lit agency Zachary Shuster Harmsworth after dealing with multiple reps and bodyguards in visits outside the U.S. The agency’s Jennifer Gates and Sandra Shagat needed several weeks to track down Khadr after seeing the documentary, making the first contact via email.
“He’s been through a lot at an early age, so I was struck by how poignant, even poetic, his descriptions are,” Gates said.
Newman, a producer on New Line’s “A Man Apart,” is looking to attach writers and directors to what he envisions as an action-thriller. Newman’s also developing “We’re the Millers” at New Line, women’s volleyball project “Dig” at Paramount and “No Man’s Land” at Screen Gems/Lakeshore.