Kennedy/Marshall will fly 'American'

Universal Pictures and the Kennedy/Marshall Co. have acquired Matthew Sand’s spec script “American by Blood,” based on the novel by Andrew Huebner. Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall will produce.

Story concerns three U.S. Army scouts who are the first to arrive at the horrifying aftermath of the battle of Little Bighorn and then take on the grueling assignment of tracking down the Sioux leader, Crazy Horse.

Gregg Taylor, exec VP of production for the Kennedy/Marshall Co., will oversee the project for the shingle.

Published in 2000, “American by Blood” was first optioned by Kennedy for Steven Spielberg to direct. After going through various drafts, the script had not quite come together and the book’s option expired. Dispirited by the process, Huebner said he wouldn’t option his book again, despite offers, and figured the novel would never make it to Hollywood.

When he was recently approached by Sand, however, the screenwriter’s passion for the project and his particular take on the material convinced Huebner there may be a way to turn the material into a film, and he agreed to let Sand option the novel himself.

Sand’s spec script generated buzz and again interested Kennedy, who snatched up the script preemptively with U.

Sand wrote “Clockwork,” the adaptation of the Philip Pullman novel, for Universal, as well as Warner Bros.’ “Beowulf.” He’s currently writing “Valiant” for Paramount.

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