Permut has optioned the film rights to David Kelly’s Los Angeles Times article, “The Marines Wouldn’t Take Him, So Levi Shirley Went to War on His Own” along with the life rights of Susan Shirley, mother of Levi Shirley. Permut optioned the rights to the article along with Michael A. Alfieri’s Miantri Films and Sterling Macer, Jr.’s, Clandestine Entertainment who will also produce.
As a young man in Denver, Shirley had been desperate to be a U.S. Marine, but an irreversible eye problem prevented him from enlisting. With no formal training, he joined the YPG, a Kurdish militia seeking volunteers to help them fight ISIS. He arranged to be smuggled into Syria to fight alongside the Kurds and was killed in Syria at the age of 24.
His mother, Susan Shirley, whose character will be prominent in the movie, is a consultant on the film. She was interviewed on CNN recently in the aftermath President Trump’s recent decision to pull American troops from Syria, allowing Turkey to attack American Kurdish allies, including the YPG.
“Levi had an incredible conviction to defend his country alongside the Kurds against the continuing threats of ISIS,” Permut said. “This profound, important, and timely story is as relevant as ever given the unfortunate circumstances occurring in Syria, and we hope to honor Levi’s sacrifice by telling his story and enlightening those who are unaware.”
Permut recently produced the live-streamed, staged reading of Robert Schenkkan’s latest play, “The Investigation: A Search for the Truth in Ten Acts,” which centered around the counts of obstruction outlined in the Mueller Report. Permut is also in development on the recently announced reboot of “Face/Off” at Paramount.