Alcon Entertainment is developing the Vietnam War spy drama “Perfume River,” based on the events surrounding the 1968 Tet Offensive.
Alcon has optioned the life story rights of Vietnam veteran and former Marine first lieutenant Alexander Wells. The screenplay is being written by Stephen Peters, who began his career with the 1983 novel and HBO movie “The Park Is Mine,” starring Tommy Lee Jones.
Alcon’s co-presidents Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson are producing. Jack C. Merrick is exec producing. Plans are for the script to go out to directors shortly.
The movie will open in 1966 at the Quantico Marine Officer Basic School, when a contingent of South Vietnamese marines joins a class of 200 Americans. During five months of Allied combat training, Wells becomes friendly with two Vietnamese officers — one of whom is a master spy and secretly rejoins the North Vietnamese army upon returning to South Vietnam and becomes a colonel.
The colonel leads North Vietnamese troops during the 1968 battle for the impregnable Hue Citadel Fortress on the Perfume River. Wells and his two Quantico classmates become aware of each other’s presence — forcing the three of them to choose between duty and commitment to friendship.
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The Tet Offensive was launched on Jan. 30, 1968, by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese People’s Army of Vietnam in a campaign of surprise attacks against the South Vietnamese Army, U.S. forces and their allies. Fighting was particularly intense at Hue and resulted in the destruction of the city.
Although the offensive was ultimately a military defeat for the communists, U.S. public support for the war declined as a result of the human cost.
Since 1992, Wells and his wife have been working on the ongoing reconciliation between American Vietnam vets and the soldiers they once fought against at Hue. Retired Marine Corps Col. Myron Harrington is a consultant on the movie.
“Perfume River” will be the first military-themed film produced by Alcon. The company, which has a long-standing output deal with Warner Bros., has produced “The Blind Side,” “Dolphin Tale,” “Beautiful Creatures,” “The 33,” “Point Break,” “Prisoners” and “Transcendence.” It’s in post-production on the comedy “Bastards” and in pre-production on a “Blade Runner” sequel.
Peters’ credits include “Wild Things,” starring Denise Richards and Neve Campbell. He’s repped by The Warden Group.