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Lawrence Osborne to Script ‘River of Time’ Adaptation for Indochina Productions

British novelist Lawrence Osborne
Courtesy of Indochina Productions

Lawrence Osborne, the Asia-based writer who has recently enjoyed a spate of film deals for his own novels, is poised to adapt Jon Swain’s Vietnam War-era memoir “River of Time.” Film rights to Swain’s book have been optioned by Indochina Productions for Osborne to script and executive produce.

Swain, an award-winning correspondent for the Sunday Times of London and AFP, went to South-East Asia, only 22 years old, having previously been in the Foreign Legion. Famously arriving in Pnomh Penh on the last flight out of Bangkok before the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia, Swain witnessed the Cambodian genocide. He covered Vietnam and Cambodia from 1970-1975, and became a key figure among the war correspondents based in the city.

The book, “River of Time” was released originally in 1997 and is Swain’s love song to a disappeared world, full of surprisingly influential culture. “The result is maybe the most moving and intimate of all the Vietnam era memoirs, one free of war of correspondent machismo but still a witness to an entire generation of young Cambodians,” said Nicholas Simon, Indochina Productions principal. “(Osborne) understands the mysterious appeal of Indo-China at that time, a period of overwhelming suffering, and great charm,” said Swain.

A film adaptation of Osborne novel “The Forgiven” is currently wrapping production in Morocco with Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain starring and John Michael McDonagh directing. Other Osborne adaptations in the works include “Beautiful Animals,” which is in development with John Lesher’s Le Grisbi at Amazon Studios. His “Hunters in the Dark” is in pre-production with Phin Glynn’s Infinity Hill producing. It is slated to shoot next year with Alex Pettyfer, Aneurin Barnard and Tzi Ma starring, and London theater director Simon Evans at the helm.

Indochina was founded by Simon in 2010 and operates as both producer and production services supplier in Asia. It recently serviced the shooting in Thailand of Netflix hit “Extraction,” for the Russo brothers, director Sam Hargrave and star Chris Hemsworth, and shot Thailand and Vietnam for Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods.” With James Schamus, Simon previously produced Jean-Stephane Sauviere’s “A Prayer Before Dawn,” which A24 premiered at the Cannes Festival in 2017.