Alcon Developing Vietnam War Drama ‘Perfume River’

Tet Offensive
Sovfoto/Universal Images Gro/REX/Shutterstock

Alcon Entertainment is developing the Vietnam War spy drama “Perfume River,” based on the events surrounding the 1968 Tet Offensive.

Alcon has optioned the life story rights of Vietnam veteran and former Marine first lieutenant Alexander Wells. The screenplay is being written by Stephen Peters, who began his career with the 1983 novel and HBO movie “The Park Is Mine,” starring Tommy Lee Jones.

Alcon’s co-presidents Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson are producing. Jack C. Merrick is exec producing. Plans are for the script to go out to directors shortly.

The movie will open in 1966 at the Quantico Marine Officer Basic School, when a contingent of South Vietnamese marines joins a class of 200 Americans. During five months of Allied combat training, Wells becomes friendly with two Vietnamese officers — one of whom is a master spy and secretly rejoins the North Vietnamese army upon returning to South Vietnam and becomes a colonel.

The colonel leads North Vietnamese troops during the 1968 battle for the impregnable Hue Citadel Fortress on the Perfume River. Wells and his two Quantico classmates become aware of each other’s presence — forcing the three of them to choose between duty and commitment to friendship.

The Tet Offensive was launched on Jan. 30, 1968, by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese People’s Army of Vietnam in a campaign of surprise attacks against the South Vietnamese Army, U.S. forces and their allies. Fighting was particularly intense at Hue and resulted in the destruction of the city.

Although the offensive was ultimately a military defeat for the communists, U.S. public support for the war declined as a result of the human cost.

Since 1992, Wells and his wife have been working on the ongoing reconciliation between American Vietnam vets and the soldiers they once fought against at Hue. Retired Marine Corps Col. Myron Harrington is a consultant on the movie.

“Perfume River” will be the first military-themed film produced by Alcon. The company, which has a long-standing output deal with Warner Bros., has produced “The Blind Side,” “Dolphin Tale,” “Beautiful Creatures,” “The 33,” “Point Break,” “Prisoners” and “Transcendence.” It’s in post-production on the comedy “Bastards” and in pre-production on a “Blade Runner” sequel.

Peters’ credits include “Wild Things,” starring Denise Richards and Neve Campbell. He’s repped by The Warden Group.

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  1. Robert a Petty says:

    File a claim in 1969august 11th for skin .TBi .and PTSD was treated in Vietnam for all these things about 8 times discharged June 23rd 1969 file lest than40days after discharged from military was put out of Vietnam and military for these conditions and 47 years later still filing. For appeals now

  2. Robert Stephens says:

    Actually, the Tet Offensive started on January 31 in Viet Nam and February 1st in the US. I know. I was there and you don’t forget something like that. It was like all hell broke loose.

  3. greg says:

    Tet was an UTTER disaster for the North BUT OUR so called USA Liberal Journalists jumped right in to help them portray it as a Victory for their Commie Puke bretrhren.Remember”Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh,NLF is gonna win!” Why ALWAYS the Libs support Commie overthrows as good .What about all those South Vietnamese fighting and dying for THEIR Country?

  4. Let’s hope the Lt doesn’t get too much angst like Nick Cage in “Windtalker” and can follow through without taking the viewer on a long mental trip.

  5. David Sheets says:

    Why relive the past events that took the lives both physically and psychologically for so many US military esp. Marines and Navy Corpsman with them as well as Army staff that later joined the overwhelming combat. As this writer was at one time stationed in Hue’ as a Corpsman with the Third
    Marines 2nd Division prior to my wound necessitating me back to the Naval Hosp. at Bethesda. For this writer Hue’ will always be remembers as having the one river in Vietnam that that ran truly blue, no children there begged, the ancient old city was there as was the medical school. In essence I remember Hue’ for all of the beauty that was there prior to the Tet offensive which actually began prior to the Feb. Tet Offensive. It is also hard to understand why a former Marine officer would choose to sign such a release that will only bring harm from the painful memories of so many of us who were there in this once beautiful City!

    • Jack C. Merrick, exec producer says:

      Dear David: Thank you so much for your comments and thank you so much for your service. I want to respond to your very compelling note and hopefully address the question, why? My long time friend and client Captain Alex Wells and his wife Mary were pioneers of what I call extreme healing, organizing the very first reconciliation trips back to the devastating battlefields where former enemies would embrace, drink rice wine and weep, finding inner peace together for the first time before the war. The general description of the project doesn’t come close to touching on the metaphysical, spiritual and completely uplifting message contained within the film. I believe, especially with the support of our friends in Vietnam, the beautiful blue Huong River will be the lasting image our audience will keep with them. Thanks once again.

      • Jcm says:

        Since before the war–typo

      • Robert Stephens says:

        I was in the Army from mid October 67 to mid October 68. I was there for both Tet offenses almost got killed in the first one. Most of us that did one tour came to believe that we weren’t there to win a war and to this day I’m not really sure why we were. So like most guys it was one tour and done.

        Sent from Robert’s iPhone


  6. arik says:

    please someone call Colnel William Mosley 9 he invented the ‘death cards” I beleive 101 but not sure a freind of mine and do a story on him, google his name
    regards arik

  7. Barry Funk says:

    Barry says
    I hope this movie represent the brown water navy. The PBR sailors of PBR Mobile BASE 1 at Tan My played a huge role in the Battle for Hue during the Tet offensive.

  8. Paul Hoang says:

    What about the South Vietnamese who fought along side the Americans ? Any attempt to reach out to those on the defeated side who were abandoned towards the end of the war ? Or only attempt to be friend with the former enemy on the winning side ?

  9. Gregory says:

    I was stationed at Con Thien with the 2nd Battlion 1st Marines, when the Tet Offensive began. After conducting Operation Pegasus, we ended up at Khe Sanh for the next 77 days.Later I would serve with 1/27 and then 1/9 the “Walking Dead.” On my 2nd tour, I served with the 1st Marine Air Wing.

    The book “Ground Pounder” in which I wrote about my Nam experiences explains the real purpose behind Tet. It’s a great read.

  10. Hoa says:

    ‘Perfume River’, geez I’m not sure where you did get the name of the river, we don’t have such a river in Việt Nam. Please do me a favor, don’t ever translate the Name, it’s the most terrible thing to do, specially from a writer like you. Thank you,

    • Long Nguyễn says:

      The name is correctly translated from Huế province’s “Sông Hương”, though you know…

      • Long Nguyễn says:

        The name was well spoken among the GI counterpart. It sad that the article did not say anything about the South Vietnamese side when we retaken Hue city..

      • Nam says:

        I agree. It’s really annoying when reading article like this. The writer has no knowledge. You don’t translate the proper name. It is “Hương River”

  11. The USS Newport News CA-148 was finally acknowledged October 2015 Ships List for operations: Song Huong Estuary February 1968. The crew of The USS Newport News was given credit for taking out Viet Cong Ammo Warehouse near Hue. Nonetheless, The DVA’s January 2010 Compensation & Pension Bulletin Policy (211) provides the crew of ships that operated on “rivers” and “deltas” presumption of exposure to herbicides (without further development). The history of The USS Newport News includes operations in the Vinh Binh Province in the Mekong ” DELTA” December 1968. The DVA’s June 2010 Compensation & Pension Bulletin Policy (211) ships list – received by The Senate Committee on Vietnam Naval Affairs- lists the USS Newport News for operations: Cua Viet “RIVER” April 1969. The USS Newport News was part of The Mobile Riverine Forces having the call sign of Thunder. All ships part of the Mobile Riverine force are to be presumed exposed to agent orange (herbicides, etc.) Yet, as late as December 2013, The Buffalo DVA denied my claims for health care and compensation because the Buffalo DVA could not find my service in Vietnam exposed to herbicides, etc. Since then, my claim / appeals has come long ways. However, the Buffalo DVA has loose ends and retro compensation to address. . And, now to of February 2016, new presumptions added, The Buffalo DVA is required to process my claims/ appeals to Congress’ Intent : Congressional Research Services / Statutory Presumptions (by law clerk Nichols Oct. 2010) which includes compensation for Incubation Periods in compensation awards per Title 38CFR 3.03(d). Also, The Buffalo DVA is required to process my claims / appeals to Congress’ Intent as defined by The Nehmer Court Order: The Nehmer Training Guide (211A) / The Nehmer Training Guide February 2011. Yet, I had to appeal the Court for Veterans: because,Buffalo DVA did not provide “Instant Appeal ” and “Expeditious Treatment” per Veteran Law Judge’s ruling July 2015. The Buffalo DVA was not suppose to be using The Traditional Process; must strictly comply to The Nehmer Court Order charts, information, etc. therein: The Nehmer Training Guide 2011 (yes, 2011); also includes compensation for Incubation Periods. Now, you know how the VA delay / denies health care and compensation ( including retro compensation). Today is April 13, 2016. I have not seen anything that is of an “Instant Appeal” and” Expeditious Treatment” as per ruling by Veteran Law Judge and The Manager / Analyst time frame of 30 to 60 days after July 15, 1015. What say you J.D. Powers (and associates); I haven’t received “Instant Appeal” and “Expeditious Treatment” from The VA. Today is April 13, 2016.

  12. su nguyen says:

    The Vietnam War was actually over; but the thorniest question relating to such a war that has been still remained unclear to many people across the world is that WHEN THE VIETNAM WAS WAS OFFICIALLY ENDED? AND WHICH SIDES DID REALLY WIN ITS FINAL VICTORY? The most ironical answer for such a question is that NEITHER THE NORTH VIETNAM NOR THE USA AND THE SOUTH DID ACTUALLY WIN THE WAR AT ALL. Whys? The Paris Treaty that were collectively signed on January 27th, 1973 by four directly involved in such a war did diplomatically put one end to the Vietnam War officially. At that specific moment onward the side of Republic of South-Vietnam Government was still standing in its effect while the US. side along with its allies started withdrawing their war-related forces from Vietnam as well. So, in term of diplomatic language, the North Vietnam was actually never over-forced the USA at all. Was it?

  13. Lester Preader says:

    How about what General Westmorland knew about the UPCOMING Tet Offensive, before it happened on January 30, and WHY the US Forces were kept in the dark and not allowed access to intelligence reports and classified information. Too bad Hillary wasn’t on board with her private server.

  14. Lynn Wood says:

    A military victory for the governments of South Vietnam and the United States that was not clearly communicated to the voting citizens of the United States. The political power that the victory produced was left behind as the allied side had no strategic vision. Our opponents however did, and so transmuted a defeat into a psychological victory and then on to total victory without ever militarily defeating the American forces.

    A lesson completely lost upon us under our perceptions that are so completely dominated by our military industrial complex.

    And now Vietnam has a stock exchange!

    Btry E 41st Arty (Quad.50) 1969-1970
    1st Aviation Bde 1971-1972

    A vast human tragedy

    • Keoki K. says:

      The thing was, we knew something was coming up. Our outpost was in the hills supporting Khe Sanh. We got hit with everything they had during that period. We were interdicting the highways, rivers and roads. Even underground, and we were seeing large troop and supply movements. I was on Hill 861 the night Tet kicked off, and we fought for our lives for what seemed an eternity. But despite what has been said about us, and our role, the Marines, sailors, airmen, and soldiers whom I proudly served with in Vietnam did so with distinction and honor. We were kids asked to do the nation’s bidding when called upon. We did not dictate the direction of the war, we just accomplished every mission asked of us. I arrived in ‘Nam as a young naive 18-year old, and left as a 19-year old going on 40. We did not deserve the disdain we received. My buddies did not die in vain. Nor did some of the Vietnamese Marines I worked with. They never resented us being there. Thanks for listening and welcome home to all my brothers. Semper Fi

      26th Marines/3rdMarDiv
      ROV ’67-’68

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