Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson, the Oscar-nominated screenwriters behind “The Fighter” and “The Outpost,” are on board to adapt “Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II,” a best-seller from Adam Makos. The project reunites the duo with “The Outpost” producer Paul Merryman, who acquired the rights to the book.
“Spearhead” follows ace American tank gunner Clarence Smoyer and German gunner Gustav Schaefer on their harrowing parallel journeys to Cologne — Germany’s fortress city where the Third Reich hoped to stop the Allied advance. It culminated in a showdown between the two reluctant warriors that is known as “the greatest tank duel in history.” Their conflict takes an unexpected turn when a young woman in a civilian car drives through their crossfire and their lives collide. In the modern day, Smoyer is forced to grapple with a mistake he made that day, prompting him to return to Cologne.
“It’s a war story with an X-factor,” Merryman said in a statement. “Between both armies, we’re talking almost 21 million men who served, and these are two who faced each other in combat and later became best friends. It’s a story people can’t stop talking about.”
Tamasy and Johnson scored a sleeper hit with “The Outpost,” which examines a different conflict, the Afghanistan War, and has earned Academy Award buzz. The pair’s credits also include “The Finest Hours” and “Patriots Day.”
“My own father fought in World War II and he also came home with emotional scars,” said Johnson. “Like Clarence, he sought and found help late in life. ‘Spearhead’ is a riveting story full of action, heart and emotion, and an opportunity for me to honor my dad and the sacrifices he made.”
“We had to bring this unique story to the big screen,” said Tamasy. “In a time of discord and division, Adam’s book paints a vivid and compelling story of forgiveness and healing that sticks with you long after you’ve set it down.”
Makos, inspired by his grandfathers’ service, has chronicled several stories of American veterans. In the course of his research he has flown a World War II bomber, accompanied a Special Forces raid in Iraq, and journeyed into North Korea in search of an MIA American airman.
“Tamasy and Johnson are names synonymous with quality filmmaking,” said Makos. “They have their pick of stories, and I’m honored they chose this one.
Makos is also the author of the bestseller “Devotion,” which is currently in production for Sony and Black Label with J.D. Dillard directing and Glen Powell, Jonathan Majors and Christina Jackson starring.
Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson are represented by Circle of Confusion and Nelson Davis. Adam Makos is represented by ICM and Marios Rush.