MGM ‘War’ pic gets name change

Want to evoke WWII, rather than Civil War

Producers David Foster and David Ladd have changed the title of their upcoming World War II drama to “Hart’s War.”

Previously named “Grant’s War” — a designation deemed too Civil War-like — the MGM film is to be based on a John Katzenbach novel inspired by the prisoner-of-war exploits of his father, Nicholas Katzenbach, who later became U.S. attorney general under President Lyndon Johnson.

In the movie, the main character’s fictionalized name is Tommy Hart, a navigator in a B-24 bomber who is shot down over Europe and thrown into a POW camp. A law student prior to enlistment, Hart is assigned to defend the camp’s lone black prisoner, who has been falsely accused of murder.

The screenplay adaptation, by Jeb Stuart, is “due in two weeks,” said Foster. Stuart’s previous writing credits include “The Fugitive,” “Die Hard” and “Another 48 Hours.”

“When I first saw the manuscript of the book, it was only seven chapters, with a memo saying where the story was going,” Foster said. “We bought it on the basis of that.”

Katzenbach’s novel is to be published by Ballantine Books in spring next year.

Foster’s “Mask of Zorro” is due for release July 17. His previous producing credits include “The River Wild,” “The Mean Season,” “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” and both the 1972 and 1994 versions of “The Getaway.”