Paul Greengrass Directing Berlin Wall Drama ‘The Tunnels’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Paul Greengrass Directing Berlin Wall Drama
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

FilmNation Entertainment has acquired film rights to Greg Mitchell’s book proposal for Berlin Wall drama “The Tunnels” and attached “Captain Phillips” director Paul Greengrass to helm.

Mark Gordon (“The Messenger,” “Saving Private Ryan”) will produce the escape drama with FilmNation, which is continuing to amplify its production and financing activity on high-profile projects.

“The Tunnels” is the true story of a great escape before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The story focuses on a group of West Germans trying to get their loved ones out of East Berlin, with the unlikely help of American news networks, who funded their expedition.

The deal was brokered by Aaron Ryder and Alison Cohen on behalf of FilmNation, and CAA.

“Finding an untold true story of this caliber is such a rarity,” Ryder said. “Greg’s proposal will make for a very human and cinematic experience. We have no doubt that Mark’s producing and Paul’s directing will make audiences around the world as excited about this film as we are.”

Greengrass’ directing credits include “United 93” and “The Bourne Ultimatum.”

Mitchell has written “The Campaign of the Century” (winner of the Goldsmith Book Prize) and “Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady.” He has also co-authored two books with Robert Jay Lifton and a baseball memoir “Joy in Mudville.” He is co-producer of the current documentary “Following the Ninth,” on the global political influence of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and is co-writing the companion book, “Journeys With Beethoven.”

“Paul and I have been looking for a project to work on together for some time,” Gordon said. “Separately, we have both been fascinated by stories around the Berlin Wall. While the wall fell in 1989,  its  consequences are still being felt today. We are thrilled to be working with FilmNation to bring this emotional story to the screen.”

The Mark Gordon Co. is in production on several television series including “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC), “Criminal Minds” (CBS), “Ray Donovan” (Showtime) and its most recent project “Benched,” a courtroom comedy for USA Network staring Eliza Coupe and Jay Harrington, set to premiere on Oct. 28. Gordon’s past film credits include “Day After Tomorrow,” “Speed,” “The Patriot” and “Wonder Boys”; he develoing “Jobs” for Sony.

Michelle Wolkoff will oversee “The Tunnels” for the shingle.

FilmNation is in pre-production on Denis Villeneuve’s “Story of Your Life” with Amy Adams starring and in development on “The Good House” with Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro and “In the Event of a Moon Disaster” with Tate Taylor directing. Its releases this year include “A Most Wanted Man,” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and “The Rover,” staring Guy Pearce. Upcoming releases include “The Imitation Game,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and J.C. Chandor’s “A Most Violent Year,” starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain.

CAA represents Mitchell, Greengrass and Gordon. Mitchell is also represented by Gary Morris at the David Black Agency.

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  1. theodore nolan says:

    Hopefully, someone will tell Mr. Greengrass about the invention called a tripod.

  2. Greg Mitchell says:

    For the record (from the author): It’s nonsense and incorrect to say that the German film was an earlier “version” of the new book and movie. For one thing, the German film barely covers one network involved and one tunnel–while the new one probes deeply two networks and two tunnels, and with a wealth of newly-declassified documents and other material. Also, a focus of the new project is how the JFK White House and State Dept. tried to suppress the two network programs–which is certainly “untold” in the German “version.” And there’s much, much more that distinguishes the new from the old–and with a largely American, not nearly-exclusive German, focus, it’s very far from a new “version.”

  3. ITTTY IT says:

    WHY is Hollywood continuing to ‘mysteriosuly overlook’
    some 5 decades of milestone anniversaries for the now
    21st century DEFINING – – – –KOREAN WAR?

  4. Tony Forster says:

    Untold story? Nonsense! “Der Tunnel”, made in 2001 initially for German TV then released theatrically in a version 20 minutes shorter, with a subtitled English version released in 2005, tells exactly this story, including the involvement of one American network, NBC (not plural as your story says). See IMDb and Wikipedia for details. Such statements only reinforce the perception of people in other countries that Americans think that if they haven’t done it, it hasn’t been done; or if it has been done but outside the borders of the USA, it’s not worth acknowledging. It’s that kind of ignorance and presumption, perceived rightly or wrongly as arrogance, that makes America sometimes unpopular in the rest of the world, both within the filmmaking community and beyond.
    Responding to Harry Georgatos: I’m no fan of wobblycam either! But it wasn’t a problem (for me) in “Captain Phillips”, so maybe Greengrass has learnt how to use it effectively and not overdo it. I’m more than happy to see that he’s directing “The Tunnel”.

  5. harry georgatos says:

    The Tunnel is a great story but I have nightmares with wobly cam Greengrass directing!!! Supremacy, Ultimatum, Green Zone and United 93 are absolutely unwatchable with that horrific hand held over the top, vomit inducing camerawork!!!! Get rid of Greengrass and think of patrons sitting close to the screen! Anyone but Greengrass!!!

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