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Par, Cruise enlist in Iraq drama

Pair to produce 'Warrior' pic

Paramount Pictures and C/W partners Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner have joined the brigade of producers weighing in on the Iraq war, optioning the New York Times Magazine article by foreign correspondent Dexter Filkins titled “The Fall of the Warrior King.”

Story centers on Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman, an Army commander in Baghdad who resigned following a scandal in which men under his command caused the drowning of an Iraqi civilian.

It’s unclear whether the film will take shape as a Cruise vehicle, though he’s age-appropriate to Sassaman, who’s in his early 40s.

Script will be written by playwright Stephen Belber, who wrote “The Power of Duff,” a drama being developed at Universal for Ron Howard and Russell Crowe.

There are now at least a half-dozen pics set up that are centered around the Iraq War: the Ron Howard-directed “Last Man Home” for Universal and Imagine; Irwin Winkler’s indie “Home of the Brave”; Columbia’s “Against All Enemies,” with Paul Haggis at the helm; Ridley Scott’s “The Invisible World” for Paramount; Par’s “Stop-Loss,” with Kimberly Peirce directing; and Plum Pictures’ John Cusack starrer “Grace Is Gone.”

To Belber, “Warrior King” offers an opportunity to illustrate the gulf between those making policy and soldiers who try to apply it in Iraq.

“I’d been searching for something that could capture the absurdity of this particular war,” Belber said.

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