Roland Emmerich Develop Lawrence of Arabia

Marc Frydman, Rod Lurie board FremantleMedia Intl. project

LONDON – Helmer-producer Roland Emmerich is to develop a miniseries based on the life of Lawrence of Arabia for FremantleMedia Intl.

Emmerich, best known for “Independence Day” and the upcoming  “White House Down,” is developing the series with Marc Frydman (“Straw Dogs,” “Murder in the First,” “Nil by Mouth”) and Rod Lurie (“The Contender,” “The Last Castle,” ABC’s “Commander In Chief”).

Lurie will pen the six-hour skein with Clive Bradley (Channel 4’s “City of Vice,” the BBC’s “Waking the Dead”).

Biographer Michael Korda, whose tomes include “Ike,” “Ulysses S. Grant” and “Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia,” will be the historical consultant on the project.

British Army officer T.E. Lawrence became known as “Lawrence of Arabia” owing to his efforts to unite Arab opposition to the Ottoman Empire during WWI. David Lean’s 1962 film “Lawrence of Arabia” won six Oscars.

FremantleMedia Intl. CEO David Ellender said, “The heritage of this story is fascinating — beyond the historical element, it’s a personal tale of emotional turmoil, identity crisis, conflicting loyalties and individual brilliance.”

The project is in line with FremantleMedia Intl.’s drama strategy — unveiled in 2009 — to focus on film-scale, epic dramas through partnerships with leading writers, producers and directors.

The company recently announced that it is partnering with Craig Pearce (“Moulin Rouge”) and Pukeko Pictures to develop “The Maid,” a story based on Joan of Arc, and with Marshall Herskovitz (“The Last Samurai”) to develop a drama series inspired by the non-fiction book “Hitlerland” by Andrew Nagorski.

FremantleMedia Intl. is also working with Headline Pictures and Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Prods. to develop “The Drivers,” a series centered on the 24-hour motor-race in Le Mans during the 1950s and 1960s, which is being written by Michael Hirst (“The Tudors,” “Elizabeth”).

The company is also working with U.K. producer Paul Abbott (“Shameless”) to adapt the French drama “Les revenants” for English-speaking audiences with the working title “They Came Back.”

FremantleMedia is part of RTL Group, Europe’s leading TV network, which is in turn 75% owned by media conglom Bertelsmann.

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