NEW YORK — DreamWorks has made a preemptive deal for screen rights to “Flags of Our Fathers,” the bestselling Bantam book by James Bradley and Ron Powers that chronicles one man’s attempt to piece together his father’s role in raising the American flag on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II. The sale was worth six figures.
The book has been something of a Cinderella story. Bradley decided to write it after finding out that his father had been one of the six men who raised the flag in the historic photo and that he had been awarded the Navy Cross for bravery. The co-author discovered this after his father had died as John Bradley had refused to discuss his role in the battle. Bradley, the son, teamed with Powers to research the battle of Iwo Jima and the whereabouts of the other five flag-raisers. The authors were then promptly turned down by 26 publishers before landing at Bantam. “Flags of Our Fathers” has been atop the bestseller lists for the past several weeks.
“Flags of Our Fathers” was brought into DreamWorks by Laurie MacDonald and Walter Parkes. DreamWorks’ has done well with WWII projects, and Steven Spielberg is working with Tom Hanks on the HBO WWII miniseries “Band of Brothers,” based on the Stephen E. Ambrose book.
Iwo Jima was a pivotal point in the battle in the Pacific theater. With two airstrips and a location 600 miles from Tokyo, Iwo Jima was heavily guarded by the Japanese as a refueling stop for its forces. The island was attacked by Naval and Marine forces, and after a 36-day battle, U.S. troops killed all 22,000 Japanese soldiers, while 26,000 of the 80,000 Marines sent ashore were killed or wounded.
The book deal was made by Mickey Freiberg of the Artists Agency along with Frank Weimann and Jim Hornfisher of the Literary Group.