The producers of “Fighting With My Family” and “The Night Manager” are making a movie based on the real-life exploits of British trauma surgeon David Nott, who used his medical expertise as a volunteer in various conflict and disaster zones. Nott’s memoir, “War Doctor,” is a U.K. bestseller and documents his work in Sarajevo, rebel-held Aleppo and earthquake-struck Haiti, among many others.
The project has been championed at The Ink Factory by Tom Nash (“Gwen”), who joined the company in September. “The cinematic potential of ‘War Doctor’ is there from the very first page,” he said of Nott’s memoir. “It’s a story of modern heroism. He is utterly courageous, but also very honest about his vulnerability.”
Nash said the story is fundamentally a relatable one. “On a Friday afternoon he is walking the streets of London commuting home and having a very relatable experience, and the next day he is on a plane to Aleppo,” he said. “It’s also the story of [David] finding love and having children, and having to reassess his responsibilities, but continuing his mission through training new combat surgeons. You have this incredibly accessible person doing something extraordinary and inspiring, but within a context with which we can all identify.”
The project is at an early stage, and The Ink Factory is in Cannes talking to prospective partners. It will work up the script in-house. It could fully finance or co-produce. The aim is for production to start in 2020. Nott’s wife, Eleanor, who heads the David Nott Foundation, will exec produce.
The Ink Factory is the film and TV production company run by the sons of John le Carré, Simon and Stephen Cornwell, and is well-versed in literary adaptations. Nott said he was “struck by Ink’s engagement with ‘War Doctor’ and their enthusiasm for making a thoughtful and also thrilling film, with humanity at its core.”
“It has been a very special pleasure getting to know David and Eleanor Nott,” the Cornwells said. “The work that they do, empowering medical professionals to support their communities in unimaginably challenging circumstances, is a tremendous act of peace in a world ravaged by brutal conflicts.”
The deal for the film rights was brokered by Nicky Lund at David Higham with Yogita Puri at The Ink Factory.