Project based on true story of plot to overthrow Panama's Noriega

Samuel V. Franco and Trish Hofmann have acquired feature rights to true-life action-adventure tome “Six Minutes to Freedom” by Kurt Muse and John Gilstrap.

The Panama-set project has been set through Franco’s Sesso Entertainment Group, with Franco and Hofmann producing. They are out to directors, with Gilstrap adapting the script.

Hofmann told Variety that she aims to be in pre-production by the spring and lensing by late next year.

Hofmann recently exec produced HBO’s “Hemingway and Gellhorn” and has credits on “Notorious” and ” The New World,” while Franco recently produced “Affluenza,” directed by Kevin Ash.

“Six Minutes to Freedom,” originally published in 2006 by Citadel Press, recounts the story of Muse, an American living in Panama, who was arrested in 1989 under the direct order of Gen. Manuel Noriega in retribution for his involvement in a plot to overthrow the dictator. He was tortured during his nine months at Modelo Prison and was rescued by Delta Force operatives during the opening moments of the U.S. invasion of Panama.

Franco and Hofmann recently formed an independently funded film production company focused on projects based on historical events as well as biopics. They are developing films about the Mossad, mobster Arnold Rothstein, the Mitford Sisters and music anthropologist Alan Lomax.

The “Six Minutes to Freedom” deal was brokered by CAA and Weintraub Tobin’s Wayne Kazan.

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