NEW YORK — Christian Bale and Steve Zahn are set to star in Werner Herzog’s “Rescue Dawn,” an action-drama based on the German auteur’s acclaimed 1977 doc “Little Dieter Needs to Fly.”
Lensing is set to begin next month in Thailand.
Indie film tells the real-life story of U.S. fighter pilot Dieter Dengler, a German-American shot down and captured in Laos during the Vietnam War. Dengler, to be played by Bale, organized a death-defying escape for a small band of POWs, including Duane Martin (Zahn).
Producing the English-language film are Cameo FJ Entertainment and Gibraltar Entertainment in the U.S., Spice Factory in the U.K. and Werner Herzog Filmproducktion.
Producers are Herzog, Cameo’s Freddy Braidy and Francesco Juilland, Gibraltar’s Steve Marlton and Elton Brand and Spice Factory’s Michael Cohen.
“Rescue Dawn” marks the first time Herzog has directed a feature since 2001’s “Invincible.” In addition to “Rescue,” he’s also on board to helm an untitled soccer feature.
Herzog has directed several documentaries in recent years, including “Grizzly Man.” Pic, from Lions Gate Entertainment and Discovery Docs, screened in Gotham Wednesday and bows next month in a limited theatrical run. It will air later this fall on the Discovery Channel.
Bale, star of summer tentpole “Batman Begins,” stars in Terrence Malick’s upcoming “The New World.”
Zahn (“Sahara,” “Shattered Glass”) stars in Disney’s upcoming CGI-animated feature “Chicken Little” and in 20th Century Fox’s “Bandidas.”