Studio, Legendary will co-finance Bogdanos adaptation

Valhalla Motion Pictures and Legendary Pictures are going to Iraq, obtaining feature rights to Matthew Bogdanos’ “Thieves of Baghdad” to produce for Warner Bros.

Studio and Legendary will co-finance the adaptation of the book, which focuses on the pursuit of stolen antiquities from the Iraq National Museum. Gale Anne Hurd will produce.

Tome’s a first-person account of Bogdanos’ criminal investigation in the midst of war to recover priceless artifacts after gaining the trust and cooperation of Iraqi civilians. Bogdanos and his team recovered a large number of the pieces looted from the museum without a single casualty.

Bogdanos, a reserve Marine Corps colonel, was working as a Manhattan assistant district attorney when he was called to active duty in Afghanistan after 9/11. He subsequently earned a Bronze Star for his leadership role in counterterrorist operations and served two tours in Iraq before returning to the D.A.’s office last October.

Hurd told Daily Variety that she began pursuing rights to “Thieves of Bagdad” after hearing Bogdanos speak last year in Gotham at the Explorers Club. Valhalla prexy of production Gary Ventimiglia brought the book, which Bogdanos wrote with William Patrick — in to Warner Bros.

“This is one of the most dramatic stories of the war in Iraq,” Hurd said. “It’s a compelling adventure, with intrigue, grit and pathos.”

Hurd most recently produced “Aeon Flux,” “The Punisher” and “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” and she’s developing a “Punisher” sequel.

Legendary formed a partnership with Warner last year to co-produce and co-finance at least 25 pics during an initial five-year term. Upcoming releases from the partnership include “Superman Returns,” “Lady in the Water” and “10,000 B.C.”

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