Scribe’s pitched battle ends in ‘Truce’

Second studio project on WWI ceasefire in works

Warner Independent Pictures has optioned “Truce,” a pitch for a character-based drama set around WWI’s impromptu Christmas truce of 1914. “Collateral” scribe Stuart Beattie will pen the script. Jennifer Klein’s Apartment 3B will produce.

Drama revolves around a group of British soldiers who come out of their foxholes when troops on both sides set a spontaneous truce in northern France that stops the carnage for the Christmas holiday.

WWI has been somewhat neglected by Hollywood compared to WWII, but “Truce” becomes the second studio project to be set up around the Christmas cease-fire. Another is in the works at Universal with Chris and Paul Weitz.

“It is one of the most meaningful stories I’ve heard in a long time, and though it took place 90 years ago, it is emblematic of a set of problems we are dealing with today,” Warner Independent Pictures prexy Mark Gill said.

Klein has set up several projects since she left Mutual to form Apartment 3B. She has a first-look deal at MGM; “Truce” is her first project set up elsewhere. “Felicity” star Scott Foley brought her the idea; Foley has been branching out into producing and will be exec producer on “Truce.”

Beattie’s screenwriting career has kicked into high gear since “Collateral” came together as a Mann-Cruise project. He got story credit for “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” and more recently scripted “Escape of the Pacific Clipper” for 20th Century Fox; that WWII drama is out to directors.

Beattie also scripted “Derailed,” an adaptation of the James Siegel thriller novel that’s being produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura at Miramax.

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